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Basic Certification Exams

ABO-NCLE offers all of its Examinations, including the National Opticianry Competency Examination, the Contact Lens Registry Exams, year-round, during four testing windows.  Please review the Basic Examination Handbook  for more information.  Test Administration Procedures, including security, eligibility, distribution, scheduling, and other on-site exam-related information is all handled by our Testing Facility, ProMetric, and is located HERE.  By applying for any ABO or NCLE Examinations, Candidates have agreed to the terms of the Security Requirements of ProMetric and ABO & NCLE.  Additional information regarding the scheduling, on-site security, and other exam delivery information can be obtained by utilizing the "contact us" page. 

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 by impartial Subject Matter Experts within the field of Opticianry and Contact Lens Fitting. After test specifications are created (based on the Job Analysis), the exams are written by groups of impartial Certified Opticians and Contact Lens Fitters.  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.  A Practice Examination is available for purchase HERE, and samples of the questions are also located in the Basic Examination Handbook .    

From administration to administration, the passing percentages for both the ABO and the NCLE Basic exams change. For the year 2019, the ABO Basic Examination had a 57.8% pass rate; the NCLE Basic Examination had a 59.5% pass rate. As of December 31, 2017, there are 30,151 ABO Certified Opticians and 11,001 NCLE Certified Contact Lens Technicians.

Remote Proctor testing is now available for both the NOCE and CLRE Basic exams. Please make sure to review the User Guide to make sure you know what to expect the day of your remote exam.  If for any reason you encounter any technical issues launching your exam, there is live chat available.  Or, you can also contact Prometric’s technical support line at (800) 789-9947.

Before scheduling your exam using ProProctor, PLEASE click here and read the user guide that matches the type of computer you will be using to take your exam.  Especially, if you are planning on using a MAC computer, as it will go over the required steps on how to avoid running into any issues launching your remote exam.

If a bathroom break is taken, the timer continues to run, and your exam will be reviewed by ABO-NCLE and any suspicious activity may reverse your exam results.
You may use a white board during your remotely proctored exam. You must supply your own white board, up to 3 dry erase marker(s) and eraser. The white board must be white in color and no larger than 8 ½ x 11 inches. You must erase all notes at the end of the exam. The Proctor will check to ensure all notes are erased.

If you have any further questions regarding your remote testing, please email us.

Candidate COVID-19 FAQs: Prometric has created a new, dedicated page to host COVID-19-related FAQs for candidates. This new page, linked here, can be found by clicking the "COVID-19 update" tab on Prometric’s homepage and selecting "COVID-19 FAQ."  

 


PLEASE NOTE: If a candidate fails an examination, he or she must wait ninety (90) days, from the date they completed the examination, in order to register and retake that examination. 


The examination schedule for 2021 is as follows:


2021 Testing Dates/Registration Deadlines
January 4-March 31, 2021 Testing Window:
Registration opens on December 1 and closes on March 15
There are no late registrations

OptiCon @ Vision Expo East:
Contact ABO & NCLE at exams@abo-ncle.org for more information.

April 1-June 30, 2021 Testing Window:
Registration opens on March 16 and closes on June 15
There are no late registrations

July 1-September 30, 2021 Testing Window:
Registration opens on June 1 and closes on September 15
There are no late registrations

OptiCon @ Vision Expo West:
Contact ABO & NCLE at exams@abo-ncle.org for more information.

October 1- December 22, 2021 Testing Window:  
Registration opens September 1 and closes on November 15
There are no late registrations

Basic Examinations are given in English and Spanish, via computer, and each exam is 2 hours long. There is a brief tutorial and a summary that do not affect the 2 hour time allocation for the Basic Examinations.  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. 

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.

**If you are applying for an ABO and/or NCLE Examination as part of a Licensing State requirement, please verify the appropriate steps with your state licensing board before registering for any specific examination.  Each state has its own specific requirements, and failure to abide by those requirements may result in denial of credit for the examination, or other consequences, depending upon any licensing state’s regulations and requirements.

To complete our Disability Accommodation Form, please click HERE to download our Accommodation Request information.  Once you are ready to submit your form, please click HERE.

Review Courses for the ABO and NCLE Exams

The following list of review courses/materials is provided for the exam candidates' information and is not an endorsement by ABO-NCLE as to the quality or content.

 
Material is based on the instructor/writers’ interpretation of the job analysis and the instructors/writers of these courses/material have no direct knowledge of the specific exam questions. Participation in a review course is no guarantee that you will pass the exam(s). If you are interested in taking a review course or obtaining materials, please contact the organization(s) listed below. 


National Academy of Opticianry (NAO)
Phone: 800-229-4828
Email:  info@nao.org

For ABO Basic and Advanced Exam Prep materials available from the NAO, click HERE.

For NCLE Basic Exam Prep materials available from the NAO, click HERE


Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA)
Phone: 800-296-9776
Email:  info@clsa.info

For NCLE Basic Exam Prep materials available from the CLSA, click HERE