Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where can I begin the application process?
The Initial Application Registration is posted on the American Board of Optometry website.
2. Is Board Certification just a test?
No, ABO Board Certification is a process:
1. Complete initial application and submit $300 application fee.
2. ABO verifies qualifying requirements.
3. Upon confirmation of all Qualifying Requirements, you will be granted Active Candidate status by the American Board of Optometry for a period of one year. You may renew your Active Candidate status for up to three years total by submitting proof of completion of 50 points toward the Post-Graduate Requirements for each year of eligibility.
4. Meet post-graduate requirements. To become eligible to take the examination, Active Candidates must attain 150 points within the three years prior to exam application. Submit evidence of three years of active licensure in clinical practice OR completion of an ACOE-Approved Residency.
5. Submit the online Examination Application, pay the examination fee of $1,500, and schedule Board Certification Examination through the ABO website at a Prometric Testing Center.
6. Take the exam. Active Candidates should pass the Examination within 12 months of submitting the Examination Application. [Any optometrist who does not pass within 12 months may re-apply for the examination but is subject to the Post-Graduate Requirements. In addition, “Active Candidate” status applies for a maximum of 4 years.]
7. Attain ABO Board Certification.
8. Maintain Certification. Board Certification must be kept current through enrollment in the American Board of Optometry 10-year Maintenance of Certification process. For 2012, the annual maintenance fee is $150, which includes a Self-Assessment Module.
3. Where and when will the test be offered?
1. July 1 - 31, 2013 (Registration is open now)
2. January 2014
The examination is available at over 400 Prometric Test Centers in the United States and throughout the world. (See March 2, 2011 journal entry)
4. How much will the test cost?
The application fee is $300. The ABO has set the Examination Registration Fee at $1,500. (See February 28, 2011 journal entry)
5. Who is developing the Board Certification Exam?
The American Board of Optometry announced that "Prometric, a leading global provider of technology-enabled testing and assessment services, will be the ABO’s partner in developing the new optometry board certification examination. The computer based examination will be offered across the United States and around the world through the Prometric global test center network."
“The selection of Prometric re-emphasizes our intent to deliver a credible, psychometrically valid examination,” states David A. Cockrell, OD, ABO Chairman of the Board. “Prometric’s experience with the American Boards of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and other respected organizations will be invaluable as we develop our examination. In addition, their testing delivery centers are state of the art.” (See July 20, 2010 journal entry)
The ABO Board Certification examination is a multiple-choice computer-based examination containing items that emphasize patient assessment and management. The examination focuses on clinical knowledge and skills, not didactic details. The examination will be administered at Prometric Test Centers worldwide.
6. What information is available regarding the exam?
The 240-item examination is broken into three separate sections. The General Practice section consists of 160 items (multiple choice questions), and you will be allotted 4 hours to complete this section. The optional break of up to one hour occurs upon completion of the General Practice Section. After the break you will be prompted to select two Areas of Emphasis of 40 items – each will be allotted one hour. You may review items at any time within each section, but once you complete or “time out” on a section, you will not be permitted to go back to review or change answers on any items.
7. General Practice (160 items)
The core of the examination is based in the following ten areas of general practice.
1. Ametropia/Ophthalmic Optics (16%)
2. Pediatrics/Binocular Vision/Vision Therapy (8%)
3. Contact Lenses (13%)
4. Anterior Segment (15%)
5. Pre- and Post-operative care (7%)
6. Posterior Segment (12%)
7. Optic Nerve/Glaucoma (12%)
8. Neuro-Ophthalmic Disorders (5%)
9. Vision Rehabilitation (5%)
10. Systemic Health (7%)
8. Areas of Emphasis (80 items)
In addition to the core examination, each candidate will select two of the following areas of emphasis, each of which will consist of an additional 40 items.
1. Additional General Practice
2. Contact Lenses
3. Pediatrics/Binocular Vision/Vision Therapy
4. Ocular Disease Anterior
5. Ocular Disease Posterior
6. Vision Rehabilitation/Low Vision/Neuro-Ophthalmic Rehabilitation
Please note that all 240 items are weighted equally. In addition, regardless of your selection of Areas of Emphasis, your certificate will not denote your selections. (See February 28, 2011 journal entry)
9. Is the exam outline available?
The ABO has released the detailed outline for the Board Certification Exam.(See December 22, 2010 journal entry)