Renewal Requirements

CCOA graduates who work under the direct supervision of an Optometrist and who remain in good standing with all required CE and fees, have the right to use the title Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant and its initials, C.C.O.A. The CCOA designation is good for three years. If you choose not to re-certify, you must change your title to CAO Trained Optometric Assistant and remove the professional initials C.C.O.A..

Maintaining the certification requires:

  • 18 hours of approved continuing education (CE), beginning August 1 following completion of the June final exam
  • CPR certification at any level, containing practical, hands on training

If more than 18 hours of approved CE are completed in any three-year period, a maximum of six hours may be carried over to the next certification period. Credit is only given once for a course taken twice in a certification period.

Submitting CE

CCOAs must submit proof of CE using CAO’s online CE Tracker, available by logging into your dashboard. Credits may be uploaded to the CE Tracker any time before the deadline of your three-year renewal period. Submissions by fax, Canada Post, and email are not accepted.

A copy of a CPR wallet card or certificate is acceptable.

Once you have uploaded your CE documents, allow one-two weeks for CAO review and approval. You will be contacted by CAO if CE credits are rejected. Always keep a copy of all CE submitted.


Renewal dates are available in your personal account. A renewal notice is emailed in early September of your renewal year to the email address indicated in your contact information.

All CCOA email addresses must be personal and unique – a general email address used by the practice is unacceptable.

CCOAs must notify CAO of any change of name, address, email address, and phone number. CAO must receive all renewal documentation and payment by December 31 of your renewal year. Renewals received after this date are subject to a late fee.

Renewal Schedule

Certificate Renewed/Obtained Earn CEs Expiry Date
2015 1-Jan-16 to 31-Dec-18 31-Dec-18
2016 1-Jan-17 to 31-Dec-19 31-Dec-19
2017 1-Jan-18 to 31-Dec-20     31-Dec-20
2018 1Jan-19 to 31-Dec-21 31-Dec-21


*New grads may earn CEs as of August 1 of their year of graduation. For example, if a CCOA completed the course in July 2017, CE hours may begin to be earned as of August 1, 2017.  CE credits earned before August 1 of the graduation year do not qualify.

Late Renewal process

If documentation is not received by December 31 of the year following the deadline, applicants must re-write and pass the final exam (fee applies) to reinstate certification.

If the required CE credits and CPR documentation are not received by December 31 of the following year, certification is automatically suspended.

If CE credits and/or CPR documentation are submitted within the year following the expiry date, the new renewal period still begins as of January 1 of that year. For example, if you were due to renew by December 31, 2016, and you didn’t submit all documentation until November 2017, your new renewal period still begins on January 1, 2017 and ends on December 31, 2019.

If your certification is suspended, you may reinstate it any time within 3 years of your renewal date by re-writing and passing the final exam and submitting a late renewal fee (contact CAO for the current rate).

If more than three years have elapsed since your renewal date, you will be required to complete the entire program to obtain certification.

**Important Note: As of January 1, 2020, the renewal grace period will be lowered to 6 months (May 30th following the renewal deadline). This change in policy will effect those who are due to renew as of December 31, 2019 and forth. 2018 renewals will not be effected by this change in policy and can renew their credential until December 31, 2019.