Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Exam - COA Study Guide
Becoming a certified ophthalmic assistant is certainly a worthwhile goal. If you are not currently working for an ophthalmologist 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.
For those already working as an ophthalmic assistant, here are the basic requirements:
1. You must have worked at least 1,000 hours under the supervision of an ophthalmologist within 12 months prior to submitting application.
2. You must pass one of the JCAHPO approved Independent Study quizzes. Here is more information on your options regarding independent study quizzes and courses.
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. Here is more information on the eyetec.net COA Exam Prep Course.
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 resource is available for the COA exam.
Since I have to take the "independent study course quiz" that JCAHPO requires for exam eligibility, will it be enough to pass the exam if I read one of the independent study course text books?
Maybe, maybe not. Again, if I am paying $300 to take an exam, I want to make sure that I pass. Experience has shown that studying one of the independent study course text books is often not enought to be able to pass the exam. The independent study course exam is sold separately from the text, so you can use the eyetec.net COA Exam Prep Course as your study material and take the JCAHPO required quiz for you exam application.
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.
Can I pass if I study the "independent study course" text and then run through a deck of study flash cards?
See the discussion directly above. The eyetec.net COA Exam Prep Course is updated on a regular basis (textbooks are not) and it has a track record of 25 years as successful tool for passing the JCAHPO certification exams.
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?