Admissions & Certification

Orthoptic Fellowship Programs: Admission and Tuition

A current listing of programs is posted here. We anticipate three new programs in the near future so contact the American Orthoptic Council for updated information. 

National regulations require completion of a baccalaureate degree prior to sitting the American Orthoptic Council Orthoptist certifying exams. Admission criteria vary from school to school and most programs will require the baccalaureate degree prior to entering the program.

A personal interview is customarily part of the admissions process, although some programs start the application review process with a skype interview. Deadlines for completed applications are dictated by the individual school and although most programs start students in July some stagger their starting dates. Space is limited as many programs only accept one student per year.

Tuition for the two year post graduate programs usually do not exceed $5000 per year but are not regulated by the American Orthoptic Council and each program sets its own tuition. Some programs include books and other teaching materials in the tuition fee. Financial aid and stipends are available at some programs. Inquiries should be made individually to the programs of interest.

Orthoptic students do not usually qualify for conventional student loans, as the programs are not University degree granting programs. Partial scholarships based on need and merit are available from the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology Education and Research Foundation JCAHPO and the Foundation for Orthoptic Research and Education in the Americas FOREA.
For more information on scholarships, contact:
FOREA: Foundation for Orthoptic Research and Education in the Americas
8 Tanager Trail - The Woodlands, TX 77381

Phone: (281) 362-5554

JCAHPO: Education and Research Foundation
2025 Woodlane Drive  St. Paul, MN 55125-2995
email: [email protected]

Phone: (800) 284-3937


Orthoptic Fellowship Programs: Certification

After satisfactorily completing 2 years of post graduate study and practical, clinical work in an AOC accredited program, and upon the recommendation of the supervising orthoptists with whom they have studied, students are eligible to sit for the American Orthoptic Council certifying examinations. National certification by the American Orthoptic Council is obtained through successful completion of a written and oral/practical examination. The written exam is now administered electronically at Pearson Vue Testing Centers worldwide during the month of June. A candidate earning a passing score is eligible for the oral/practical section of the examination. During the oral/practical exam, which is given every fall at one central location, the candidate is required to examine and discuss a patient and answer questions covering the entire scope of practice for orthoptists.

Upon successful completion of both sections of the exam, a candidates is  awarded a Certificate and granted the use of the designation “C.O.” [Certified Orthoptist] after his/her  names.
To maintain certification an orthoptist must remain in good standing as outlined in the Code of Ethics determined by the American Orthoptic Council and accrue the required number of approved continuing education credits. Recertification is every three years. 

For questions regarding certification click here to send an e-mail.