Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Exam - COA Study Guide
Becoming a certified ophthalmic assistant is certainly a worthwhile goal. If you unfamiliar with the profession and you need some introductory information, go here. If you are currently working as an uncertified ophthalmic assistant, you are likely already eligible to take the certification exam, but you can check on your eligibility by clicking here.
Once you are ready to sign up for the exam, you will have some questions about what and how to study. That is what this COA study guide is about:
What do I need to study for the COA certification exam?
JCAHPO publishes a PDF guide called the "Criteria for Certification and Recertification". This guide lists the "content areas" and "sub-content areas", or subject matter, that will be included on the exam. You can get your own copy by going to the JCAHPO website, www.jcahpo.org. Here is an example of a content area and the sub-content areas:
Content area: SUPPLEMENTAL SKILLS
IOL power calculation
Calibrate biometry instruments
♦ Rose Bengal
Color vision testing
Laser interferometry (IOL Master)
There are 19 of these content areas, and about 90 sub-content areas on the COA exam. Now all you have to do is figure out where you can get study material that will cover all of this content. Something elso to think about, since the field is constantly changing, JCAHPO makes fairly frequent changes to the content areas, so make sure those resources are all up-to-date. Fortunately, there is help available.
I have been working as an uncertified ophthalmic assistant for many years. Don't I have enough knowledge to pass the exam without having to study?
I have heard of people who have claimed that they passed the COA certification exam without studying. However, I don't know any of the people and I have no verification that this is true. This exam costs $300 to take. I don't think I would take that chance, especially since a quality study resourse is available.
Since I have to take the "home study course" that JCAHPO requires for exam eligibility, will this be enough studying to pass the exam?
Maybe, maybe not. Again, if I am paying $300 to take an exam, I want to make sure that I pass. Also, if you use a tool like the eyetec.net COA exam prep course, any "extra" studying you will do will not be wasted. The eyetec.net COA, COT, and COMT exam prep courses are coordinated, so that when you are studying for the lower level exams, you will also be studying for the higher level exams. For more information on the "home study course", click here.
Can I pass if I study the "home study course" text and then run through a deck of study flash cards?
See the discussion directly above. Be aware that you can take the COT certification exam only one year after you pass the COA certification exam. This can be a hugh boost to your career and I highly recommend that you do this. Why not study for both exams at the same time?