Board Certification Update...
Be in the KNOW
by Jill Liechty, IU Trustee
After many months of grueling debates and discussion, on June 26, 2009, the AOA House of Delegates approved AOA’s participation in the formation of the American Board of Optometry who will oversee Board Certification of the profession. Although still a work in progress, much effort is going into the structure and organization of the exam and its process. NBEO or another testing agency may play a large role in creating the exam, which will be modeled after PAM (patient assessment and management). The exam may consist of five core categories, with an emphasis of three categories of choice. More guidelines and assistance regarding the test will eventually be available online and through state associations. Costs have not been determined, but the exam is expected to be comparable to that of other medical board certification exams.
Due to the rapid developments in technology and evolving nature of health care, the current manner of practicing optometry will undoubtedly change in the next decade. We, as health care providers, need to ensure we are keeping up with these changes! Currently, optometry is the only doctoral-level health care profession with prescribing authority that does not undergo a board certification process. Although the exam is for credentialing purposes only and not required, the primary purpose of ABO and implementing Board Certification is to continually demonstrate our high standard of competence and quality patient care to insurance companies, the medical community and most importantly, to our patients.
Initial Application Requirements
Supply basic demographic information submit application fee, identify initial Qualifying Requirements (graduation from accredited School or College of Optometry and active License to practice therapeutic optometry in a State, District of Columbia, U.S. Commonwealth or Territory), state adherence to principles of the Optometric Oath, affirm that all supplied information is true and correct, grant permission to the American Board of Optometry to verify all credentials and authorize search of National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and Health Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB).
Upon confirmation of the application requirement, the American Board of Optometry (ABO) will confer Active Candidate status for a period of one year, renewable for up to three years.
Post Graduate Educational Requirements
(During 2010-2012 Phase-In Period)
To become eligible to take the examination, Active Candidates must attain 150 points within the three years prior to the exam application.
1.Residency (ACOE Accredited) 150 points
2.Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry 50 points
3.Fellowship in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development 50 points
4.Experience in Clinical Practice Up to 150 points
Accrued equal to 5 points per year of active practice)
Category 1 Education (Up to 150 points)
Continuing Education conferences, meetings or workshops carrying ABO-authorized credit.
(Minimum of 50% of Education Points must be Category 1)
- Continuing Education - 1 point per hour
- Continuing Education with examination (CEE) - 2 points per hour
Category 2 Education (Up to 75 points)
Other educational activities or scholarly activities. Variable credit.
(A Maximum of 20% of the total Education Points can be from any sub-category)
Examination Application Requirements
a. Complete 150 points within the prior three years
b. Submit evidence of three years of active licensure and clinical practice OR completion of an ACOE-Approved Residency
c. Submit the online Examination Application and schedule Board Certification Examination.
Active Candidates should pass the Examination within 12 months of submitting the Examination Application. Upon successful completion of the Board Certification Examination, the American Board of Optometry will confer Board Certified status to the optometrist for a period of 10 years. Board Certification must be kept current through enrollment in the American Board of Optometry 10-year Maintenance of Certification process.