Step 1: Determine your eligibility.

1. You must be employed at least 2,000 hours (one-year full-time equivalent) as a COA®, under ophthalmologic supervision within 24 months (two-years) prior to submitting your application.

2. You must earn 12 JCAHPO Group A credits within the 12 months (one-year) prior to submitting your exam application.

The Ophthalmic Technician Exam Prep Course from includes 12 CE credits (a $120 value). If you need the credits, then the course prep course only costs you $30 when you subtract the $120 from the course fee of $150.

3. You must maintain certification as a COA while pursuing COT certification.

Step 2: Begin exam preparation and plan the timing of your application.

Before you begin Step 2, be sure you have time to commit to exam preparation, and that you have funds for the application process and for the exam prep course.

Using the Ophthalmic Technician Exam Preparation Course from, you should allow for up to 6 months of studying at least one hour per day. The fee for the prep course is $150 for 6 months of access. Ask for more access time if you need it. Are the prep courses effective?

You must complete an application process for the exam. The exam is administered by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (800-284-3937). Call them for the application.

An ophthalmologist must sign your application verifying that you meet the requirements.

The written examination is multiple choice. You must also pass a skill evaluation after you pass the written exam.

The cost is $325 for the initial written exam and initial skill evaluation, $275 for the first written exam retake if you fail, and $150 for the third retake. It costs $85 to retake the skill evaluation, and it costs $85 for a practice skill evaluation (Is the skill evaluation "practice test" worth the money?).

The application is processed within 2-4 weeks. You will receive a response by mail. If your application is accepted, you will have a 90 day window to schedule your exam.

When using the prep course, it is a good strategy to complete at least 3 months of study before you submit your application. This way you will have an idea if 6 months will be enough study time for you. If you submit your application after three months, you will most likely receive your confirmation letter after the fourth month of study time. This will allow you to schedule your exam close the end of your prep course access time.

Step 3: Complete your exam prep and pass the written exam!

You will receive instructions from the Joint Commission regarding the skill evaluation after you pass the written exam. The prep course has content to help you study for the skill evaluation. Click here for more info on the skill evaluation.