About Exam

What Does the Exam Cover?
The COE examination covers a comprehensive body of knowledge that an ophthalmic administrator with approximately three years of experience in the field is expected to be familiar with and/or have mastered. This body of knowledge is based on the COE job task analysis finalized in 2016. Find a list of suggested study resources here.

What are the COE Eligibility Guidelines?
Applicants must demonstrate they have a minimum of two years of health care administration experience plus one or more years of ophthalmic practice management experience. Applicants must have demonstrated experience in each of the six exam domains general ophthalmic knowledge, financial management, operations, information technology management, human resources, and risk management & regulatory compliance. The experience does not need to be completed in three consecutive years; however, the cumulative total of three years must have occurred within the preceding five calendar years. Eligibility is not limited to ASOA members; however, ASOA members receive discounted fees.

There are two application categories.

1.      COE Administrator – An individual who spends at least 80% of the scope of his/her work in a practice management/administrator capacity within an ophthalmic setting that provides patient care. Individual must have demonstrated experience in each of the six exam domains referenced above.  Applicant must submit the COE application and a current job description.

2.      COE Non-Administrator – Individual in an ophthalmic practice management setting who does not meet the definition of “administrator” above but who has demonstrated experience in each of the six exam domains referenced above. Applicant must submit the COE application, a current job description, and a letter of recommendation from the practice administrator or physician stating why the applicant qualifies to sit for the COE exam.

All COE applications will be reviewed by the members of the National Board for the Certification of Ophthalmic Executives (NBCOE), the board overseeing the COE certification.

Special Consideration for Eligibility
The special consideration process is designed for those applicants whose employment experience does not meet the established eligibility criteria – i.e., within the preceding five calendar years, a minimum of two years of health care administration experience and one year in ophthalmic practice management. People with healthcare administration experience outside the United States may be among those qualifying for special consideration. Special consideration is not offered to applicants who have the opportunity to qualify under established criteria but have chosen not to do so. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for certification established by the National Board for the Certification of Ophthalmic Executives (NBCOE), but you believe that your education, training and/or experience are equivalent, you may request a special consideration application. Special consideration applications must include the applicant’s resume and/or CV, as well as a statement of why the applicant should be granted special consideration including any available and verifiable professional references. Requests are considered by the NBCOE on a case-by-case basis. Please contact ASOA headquarters for additional information.

How Do I Schedule My Exam?
After you have submitted your application, you will be contacted by an associate from the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO®), our testing agent, with instructions for scheduling your test date.

Where Do I Take the Exam?
Eligible applicants may take the COE examination at Pearson Vue Testing Centers in or near their hometown or at the ASOA Annual Meeting on Ophthalmic Practice Management each spring.  If choosing to take the exam through a Pearson Vue testing Center, scheduling of an appointment can be accomplished in one of two ways. After you have completed and submitted your application to ASOA with all requested information, documentation, and appropriate fees and received examination authorization from JCAHPO notifying you that you are eligible to take the examination and providing you with your Candidate ID information, you may call the Pearson VUE call center at 888-231-1929. An agent will assist you in finding the best date and test center for your examination. You may also schedule your own appointment using the online scheduling tool located on the ASOA Pearson Vue page. Please note that the account creation may take up to 24 hours. You will be notified by e-mail ONLY when your account is activated. This email will identify your user name and password to enter the scheduling system.

Do I have to be an ASOA member to take the exam?
No, the examination is an industry examination and is open to anyone who qualifies. ASOA members receive discounted fees.

Additional Questions
If you have additional questions, please call the COE Exam Hotline: 703-788-5778.