Why Be Certified?

There are several ways that certification will benefit you and your career. Most of them fall under four main topics: public recognition; employment opportunities and increased earning power; job mobility; and the potential role of certification under managed care.

Public recognition

ABO and NCLE certification demonstrates to the public, your co-workers, and the industry that you are qualified and competent. It proves you take pride in your profession and in maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge. In particular, it identifies you to the public as a dispenser who will handle their eye wear needs with competence – someone who can be trusted to provide the quality care they want and deserve.

Employment opportunities and increased earning power

Certification is recognized by employers as a standard of competence, and it can offer tangible rewards such as increased earning power and job opportunities. According to the responding employers in a recent survey:
28% required certification of their employees
75% gave preference in hiring to certified applicants
75% paid higher beginning salaries to certified personnel
40% gave preference for promotions to ABO or NCLE certified employees
After 10 years in dispensing, certified employees earn approximately $6,000 more per year than noncertified employees

Job mobility

ABO and NCLE certification is a national standard, not a state license and is recognized in every state and many foreign countries. In non-licensing states, certification is especially important; it is your only credential – your professional distinction. It's also interesting to note that:

90% of state licensing boards use the ABO and NCLE exams as the basis for state licensing
23% of licensing states require current ABO/NCLE certification for move-ins who apply for licensing

Potential role of certification in future health care systems

No one ever knows for sure what the future will bring, but the experts are betting that managed care is the future of health care. Credentials, such as ABO and NCLE certification, will play a key role in determining who will be accepted by managed care as a provider of services. Without certification, you could be locked out of the health care system.

ABO & NCLE Exams

ABO-NCLE offers all of its Examinations, including the National Opticianry Competency Examination, the Contact Lens Registry Examination, the Advanced ABO Examination, the Advanced NCLE Examination and the ABO Practical Exam and the NCLE Practical Exam, year-round, during four testing windows.  Please review the Examination Handbooks for more information on each exam.  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. 

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.

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."  

In some states, executive orders prohibit government agencies and institutions of higher education, respectively, and their officials from mandating face coverings or restricting activities in response to the COVID-19 disaster. The mandates apply to those state’s universities, but not to private companies. Prometric’s position is to keep the mask requirement, where allowed, to maintain standardization and safety measures across our network as much as possible. As a private company, Prometric will continue to require everyone who comes to one of our global testing centers (that are not connected with state government agencies) to wear an approved face covering for the duration of their time at the location.  Individuals not in compliance with this policy will not be allowed to sit for their scheduled appointment. We will also continue to maintain social distancing protocols in common areas, where barriers are not provided.


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.

Current ABO Certified Individuals

ABO Basic

Current NCLE Certified Individuals

NCLE Basic