Optometric Assistants: CCOA Program

The Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant (CCOA) Program,

(formerly the Optometric Assistant Course), is available to employees of CAO Member Optometrists.


Optometric Assistant

The remote training program is delivered by qualified instructors in conjunction with the employing optometrist. The majority of the practical skills development will occur in the clinic setting, with continued development at a regional workshop (held during winter months). The components consist of four modules with practicum, a workshop, and CCOA examination.

To participate, and to be eligible for CCOA certification, the registrant must remain employed by the CAO member optometrist for the duration of the program.  The CCOA Program is a CAO member benefit, in that it provides training to individuals directly employed, supervised, and mentored by a CAO member optometrist, and is not open to the general public.

Click Here to Register

There are two registration options:    

Option 1. Full Course Registration, ($1,000) provides comprehensive training for the Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant (CCOA) designation.

Full Course schedule begins late September and concludes with the CCOA Examination the following June. Late registrants are required to join the course module schedule currently in session, and complete the outstanding modules when they are offered during the next Full Course Registration cycle. Register now – become certified by June!

Registrants of the Full Course program are required to;

  • complete 4 Modules with assignments, submitted by the indicated due dates
  • demonstrate and master practical skills, by completing the Practical Skills Checklist
  • attend a regional CCOA Program Workshop for review of critical concepts from each module
  • write the CCOA Examination in June

 Winter Workshops (subject to minimum registration of 40 per location)*

Halifax, NS

Toronto, ON

Saskatoon, SK

Calgary, AB

Richmond, BC

*Dates and venues to be announced in November

Option 2.     Individual Module Registration, ($250 per module: workshop, CCOA exam at additional cost) is geared toward registrants who wish to register for one module of the course at any time of the year.  Modules may be taken in any sequence.

The overall cost of CCOA certification by Individual Module registration is approximately $600 higher than Full Course registration. However, this option is recommended for those wishing to work at a slower pace than the Full Course Registration cycle, or for those only seeking to develop training in a specific area of the clinic.  Once all 4 modules have been submitted on time, the Individual Module registrant is eligible to attend the Workshop and write the CCOA Examination. (both at additional cost). Individual Module registrants will complete;

  • One module of their choice with assignment by the indicated due date
  • demonstrate and master practical skills, by completing the Practical Skills Checklist

Need to Know:

Registrants should anticipate spending approximately 10-15 hours study time per week. Practical skills will be learned in the clinic setting and at further developed at the workshop.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations within 7 days of registration are subject to a $100 cancellation fee per registrant. No refund, credit, or transfer of registration will be issued for;

  • Partial or non-completion of the CCOA Program
  • Course Materials
  • Workshop Registration
  • Incidentals
  • Failure to graduate the CCOA Program


Module 1 :  Anatomy, Physiology, Pretesting, Patient Management

Module 2:  Ophthalmic Frame Dispensing

Module 3:  Ophthalmic Lens Dispensing

Module 4: Contact Lenses

Visit Module Synopsis and What is a CCOA for additional information.