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Program Overview

The Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant (CCOA) program is an online distant education program that gives optometric assistants (optometric staff assisting the optometrist in the delivery of eye health care services) the skills and knowledge they need to contribute to a thriving optometric practice.  Available exclusively to employees of CAO members, the CCOA program helps improve the efficiency and professionalism of your staff.

Over the course of 36 weeks beginning each September, candidates continue to work while completing nine course modules, a practicum, one workshop and a final examination. The modules cover the full range of relevant skills and knowledge: from anatomy and physiology, to patient management, sales, customer service, frame and lens dispensing, and contact lenses.  Participants must achieve a minimum overall grade of 75% to be certified CCOA.

Read our CCOA Program Guide for complete information and answers to common questions about the CCOA Program. 

What is the Optometrist's Role?

Active mentorship by optometrists helps ensure that participants properly integrate the academic and practical aspects of the CCOA program. Sponsoring optometrists explain concepts and techniques, and monitor the development of clinical skills, while participants improve their practical abilities by working in a professional office environment.

CCOA Program Benefits

For Employer:

  • Increased productivity, professionalism, and retention of staff
  • Improved patient service and satisfaction
  • Greater flexibility in practice models

For Employees:

  • Comprehensive training in all aspects of practice
  • Increased self-confidence, engagement and satisfaction
  • Improved problem-solving and client-relations skills
  • Enhanced client relations

If your practice qualifies, please contact Danielle Paquette and provide the following;

  • The name and address of the clinic
  • The name of the Optometrist
  • The names of all staff members (OAs)

Upon verification, an attractive certificate suitable for display will be sent to you.  Please note that the certificate will be valid for a three-year period, after which a CCOA must reapply to receive a new one.