ABO & NCLE Basic Certification

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. 

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 2022, the ABO Basic Examination had a 62.0% pass rate; the NCLE Basic Examination had a 56.0% pass rate.


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 make sure to read the section of 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."  

Update: Prometric will no longer require candidates or test center personnel to wear masks unless required to do so by building management or local government mandates.  In light of recent trends and mask mandate changes around the world, along with updated guidance from leading world health organizations, Prometric will not require masks to be worn in test centers, however they will continue to allow and encourage the wearing of masks regardless of mandate or vaccination status. Thus, any candidate or staff member that prefers to wear a mask will feel comfortable doing so. 

Effective May 1st ,2023, Prometric will allow candidates to bring water into the test room during their exam. Water must be in a clear or transparent container with a lid or cap. All labels must be removed, and the container will be inspected for notes or other test aids.  The candidate will need to remove the lid/cap for visual inspection by the Test Center staff. Should the container not meet the requirements outlined, the candidate will be required to put it in their locker and will not be allowed to take it into the test room. 

PLEASE NOTE: If a candidate fails an examination, he or she must wait at least 14 days to register/pay and retake the exam.  They will have three (3) attempts.  After their third attempt, they will be required to wait ninety (90) days, to be eligible to register and retake the examination.  They must pay for each new exam attempt by completing a new exam registration.

Current ABO Certified Individuals

ABO Basic
25985

Current NCLE Certified Individuals

NCLE Basic
10946

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.

2024 Testing Dates/Registration Deadlines

 

January 2- March 31, 2024 Testing Window:  

Registration opens December 1 and closes on March 15. There are no late registrations.

April 1 - June 30, 2024 Testing Window:  

Registration opens March 16 and closes on June 15. There are no late registrations.

July 1- September 30, 2024 Testing Window:  

Registration opens June 16 and closes on September 15. There are no late registrations.

October 1- December 21, 2024 Testing Window:  

Registration opens September 16 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. 

Certification Registration

Please click one of the buttons below to begin your registration.