Information about the Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT®) Skill Evaluation

Source: The exam is administered by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (800-284-3937).

1. The skill evaluation is the second part of the certification process. You must first take and pass the written certification exam before you can take the skill evaluation.

2. The skill evaluation must be taken within 24 months of the date of acceptance of your written exam application.

3. There are seven tasks and you are given 120 minutes (2 hours) to complete all seven tasks, There is no individual time limit for each task. For lensometry, retinoscopy, and refinement (refractometry), you can either use plus or minus cylinder and you will not be tested on both.

4. Each skill is scored independently. There is an accuracy and a technique component to each score, except for the visual fields skill, which is only scored for technique. Each step in the technique has a weighted score, depending upon the importance of the step. Each skill has a minimum score needed for passing. Each skill must be passed in order to pass the skill evaluation.

5. If you fail one or more of the individual skill evaluations, you will receive a conditional "pass", meaning that you must retest on only the skills not passed. You will have 24 months from the time of your application in which to pass. You can re-test up to 5 times within the 24 month period.

6. The cost of the first skill evaluation is included in the written test fee ($325). Each subsequent retest of the skill evaluation costs $85. The cost of a skill evaluation "practice" is $84 (Is this worth the fee?)

7. The individual skills that are tested are as follows:

  • Lensometry - Demonstrate the ability to perform non-automated lensometry to determine the strength of the distance correction and the bifocal or trifocal add.
  • Visual Fields - Demonstrate the ability to perform an automated visual field on a specified automated visual field test as determined by JCAHPO.
  • Ocular Motility - Demonstrate the ability to detect a phoria or tropia, and identify the direction of the deviation using appropriate cover tests.
  • Keratometry - Demonstrate the ability to perform keratometry.
  • Retinoscopy - Demonstrate the ability to perform retinoscopy.
  • Refinement - Demonstrate the ability to perform refinement.
  • Tonometry - Demonstrate the ability to perform applanation tonometry.

Preparation for the skill evaluation is included in the Ophthalmic Technician Certification Exam Prep Course provided by

8. The JCAHPO technician skills exam is now tested via a computer program. For each skill your must work your way through some interactive computer simulations. This actually makes the tasks more difficult because you must "learn" the software simulations as well as the skills. now has a skills prep course that helps you learn the software steps before you take the exam. This course is not included in their written exam prep course.