What is my scope of practice as a Certified Optometric Assistant (CCOA)?;

Optometric Assistants may only perform those acts which are permitted to be delegated to them by a licensed Optometrist.

The acts that may be delegated to an Optometric Assistant, and the level of supervision that is required by the Optometrist, vary among the provinces and territories and among the clinics employing Optometric Assistants.

For additional information regarding what may or may not be delegated to an Optometric Assistant in your region, please refer to the applicable Optometry Act and/or Regulations within your province or territory. Links to each of the provincial/territorial optometric regulatory authorities are available on the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada website: https://www.forac-faroc.ca/members/provincial-regulatory-authorities/

When can I register for the CCOA full course?

Registration is open from July to September each year. See the schedule here.

What is the difference between the CCOA Full Course and the CCOA On-Demand Course?

The CCOA Full Course offers students a structured learning approach. Optometric Assistants begin their studies in September of each year and become certified by July. Each module runs for four weeks sequentially.

The CCOA On-Demand Course offers students a more independent and flexible experience. Optometric Assistants can begin the course at any time, and have up to 24 months to earn their certification. There are no module deadlines; once a module is completed, the next unlocks. Completion of all nine modules and attendance at a workshop within 24 months is required to be eligible to write the final exam.

Am I eligible for the CCOA program?

The CCOA program is offered exclusively to the staff of CAO members (Optometrists). In order to be eligible to participate in the CCOA program, you must be employed by a CAO member for the duration of the program.

As an Optometrist, how do I go about registering my staff for the program?

The student will first need to create a CCOA account. When creating the account, they will be asked to select the name of their sponsoring optometrist. Once selected, the optometrist will receive a confirmation request email. The optometrist will then need to confirm the relationship via their CAO account. Once confirmed, both the student and OD will have access to the CAO Learning Portal and will be able to enroll in courses.

How many hours of continuing education (CE) must I accumulate every three years in order to maintain my CCOA certification?

To maintain the CCOA designation, 18 hours of CE credits, including CPR, must be submitted every three years. Note: CPR must be valid on the program expiration date.

How many hours of CPR training can I claim towards my 18 hours of CE?

A CCOA may claim up to 4 hours of CPR towards their 18 hours of required CE.

Can I complete my CPR training online?

The CAO now accepts both online and in-person CPR certifications.

What happens if I fail to renew my certification before my renewal deadline?

CCOAs who are unable to meet the renewal criteria by their renewal deadline date will be granted a renewal grace period until June 1st of the following year (five months). A late renewal fee of $75 will apply.

What are my options if I do not write the renewal exam within 24 months of my credential expiring?

CCOAs who do not write a reinstatement exam within 24 months of their original renewal date will be required to successfully complete the entire CCOA program again in order to obtain the CCOA certification.