Registration for the May 2014 administration of the ABO and NCLE Basic Exams is now available.  Please click on the link below.

Basic Certification Exams

To earn your basic certification, you need to achieve a passing score on an examination. Each exam consists of questions on the skills and knowledge required for competency in ophthalmic dispensing. The National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) is spectacle related and the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) is for certification in contact lens dispensing.

Both the NOCE and the CLRE exams are psychometrically developed. After test specifications are created (based on the Job Analysis), the exams are written by groups of certified opticians and contact lens fitters appointed by ABO-NCLE. The questions are then reviewed by the testing service specialists for proper testing principles and rules of grammar and style. Questions are created to test a candidate's ability to recall knowledge and to apply that knowledge to specific dispensing functions.

Both exams will now be given at over 250 exam sites nationwide twice a year.  The next offering of both the exams will be during the week of May 10 - 24, 2014. There are 125 items for both the ABO and NCLE basic exams, a small number of questions are included for developmental purposes.  Answers to these developmental questions will not count toward your score. You will have two and a half hours to complete the test on the computer.

Exams are given only in English, via computer and each exam is 2 ½ hours long. You must be at least 18 years old, and a high school graduate or have earned a GED or the equivalent in order to take the exams. ABO/NCLE reserves the right to require that you produce proof of eligibility at any time.

The cost to sit for the exams is $225 for each that you plan to take. You will find everything you need to register for the exams on this site: the handbook, test specifications and the list of known review course providers, as well as links to where you can find study materials. Please note that ABO-NCLE does not sell or endorse any study materials.  Once you have registered for the exam, please complete the demographic survey. Late Registrations will be accepted from April 5 - 11 for a fee of $75 in addition to the exam fee.

Eligibility: Everyone who is at least 18 years of age and has a high school diploma or GED is eligible to sit for the exams. (In states with conflicting regulations, the state licensing board regulations are followed.) While no experience is required, candidates with two to three years hands-on experience or completion of an optical school program are more successful in passing the exams.

Candidates always have questions on what they will be asked on the exam. For the spectacle-related exam the content areas are: analyzing and interpreting prescriptions; fitting and dispensing spectacles and other ophthalmic devices; and the use of standard ophthalmic equipment.

For the contact lens dispensing exam, the content areas consist of: prefit, preparation and evaluation; diagnostic fit and evaluation; lens dispensing, patient education and delivery procedures; follow-up visits with patient/customer; and administrative issues.

After you pass your exam, you will receive an attractive, professionally lettered certificate to display to the public as a symbol of your competence. Your certification must be renewed every three years through completion of continuing education requirements and payment of a modest renewal fee. Along with your certificate, you will receive information on these requirements and on ways to help you fulfill them. Carefully choosing this continued education to fit your particular needs is the way to continued competence.

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Downloadable Documents

Click HERE to download the Basic Exam Handbook.

To download the basic certification exam registration form, please click HERE.

To download a copy of our Disability Accomodation Form, please click HERE.

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