American Orthoptic Council®  

[1986 ruling; revised 2014]


 An international orthoptist applying for certification by the AOC: 

  1. Must be an active, certified orthoptist in his/her country             
  2. Must study under a chief orthoptist in an AOC accredited program for a minimum of 6 months or until judged ready for stipulation III. 
  3. Must be recommended by the chief orthoptist to be eligible to sit for the AOC certifying exams; written and oral/practical 
  4. If English is not the primary language, the applicant must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  Waivers are considered on an individual basis.

 Minimum scores:

  • Paper-based exam = 500
  • Internet-based exam (iBT) = 75
  • Computer-based exam = 173


EXCEPTIONS to guidelines 1 - 4 above:

  1. Orthoptists with Canadian certification have reciprocity without further examination
  2. Orthoptists with British or Australian certification may sit for the exams without requirements II and III; however, it is strongly recommended that time be spent in an orthoptic teaching program so as to familiarize oneself with terminology and current examination techniques.
  3. Orthoptists certified in countries other than Canada, England or Australia may request individual consideration based on training and work experience. 


Variations will be evaluated on an individual, case-by-case, basis.


Examples of appeal might include requests to:

  • Waive the TOEFL exam
  • Reduce the required training period and obtain “advanced standing” status
  • Allow time with an individual orthoptist outside of an approved program in a geographic location where no program exists or for other unusual circumstances 


QUESTIONS and APPEALS should be directed to the Council Home Office [email protected]

 Appeals will be sent to the appropriate committees or persons for review and action. 



Guidelines for International Orthoptists
Certification Exam Guidelines
Syllabus and Core Competency
Orthoptic Programs