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What is American Board of Optometry Board Certification?

board certified optometrist American Board of Optometry (ABO) board certification is a process that allows doctors of optometry to demonstrate that they exceed entry level requirements and are maintaining the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience needed to deliver quality eyecare. The American Board of Optometry was created in 2009 to provide optometrists with a voluntary pathway to earn a meaningful board certification credential.

To download a printable handout on becoming a Diplomate, click here.

Why Should Optometrists Earn American Board of Optometry Board Certification?

The American Board of Optometry’s processes of board certification and Maintenance of Certification demonstrates that the optometrist is dedicated to providing quality patient care. By studying for and passing a rigorous examination, the doctors demonstrate that they have reviewed what they learned in school, kept up with new developments and used these bodies of knowledge to provide high quality patient care.  The ABO’s Maintenance of Certification program calls upon optometrists to demonstrate their commitment to lifelong learning.

How will American Board of Optometry Board Certification help the general public?

Optometrists are required to complete pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of professional education in a college of optometry, before earning the doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree. Some optometrists then complete an optional residency for additional concentrated experience.

Before earning licensure, optometrists must pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) examinations. The results of the NBEO examinations are used by all state licensing boards to grant licenses to qualified doctors of optometry.

Passing the NBEO examinations does not award board certification. In fact, the 1998 NBEO Board policy states that “Passing any current National Board examination, including the TMOD examination, or any combination of current National Board examinations, is not equivalent to ‘board certification’.”

Thus, the American Board of Optometry has developed the ABO Board Certification Examination. This valid, computer-based examination is designed to assess the knowledge and skills beyond entry level and to confirm ongoing competence. Passage of the initial examination confirms that the practitioner has clinical knowledge and expertise based on numerous patient care encounters, which translates into quality patient care.

Learn more about the American Board of Optometry Board Certification Exam.

To maintain ABO board certification, an optometrist participates in an extensive process that involves completing approved education, computer assessments, practice improvement exercises and periodic exams to demonstrate competence.

Learn more about Maintenance of Certification.