Candidates for the examinations are classified into three general categories.
Click here for ACMO requirements.
1. Student Candidates
Student candidates must receive approval of their dean (or dean's authorized representative) for admission to the examinations. The dean (or dean's authorized representative) should certify that the candidate has completed, or is expected to have completed prior to taking the examinations, all of that institution's requirements.
The earliest date for a student candidate to take the Part I examination is the March administration during the candidate's third professional year in an accredited institution.* The earliest date for a student candidate to take the Part II examination is the December administration during the candidate's academic year of graduation at an accredited institution*, thereby allowing two opportunities to sit for the examination prior to graduation.
Student candidates in the final year of graduation at an accredited institution* are eligible to take the Part III examination on or after August 1. While most student candidates will be taking this examination before they officially graduate, an individual candidate's official score report from the Part III examination will not be released until the National Board receives notification from the candidate's institution that the candidate has graduated and after the final graduation exercises of all the ACOE accredited institutions in the summer.
Student candidates should contact the college liaison administrator at their institution for clarification on any matter regarding eligibility to take the examinations. See the listing of College Liaison Administrator's for contact information.
2. Graduate Candidates
Any graduate of an accredited institution* is eligible to apply for admission to take the Part I, II, and III examinations of the National Board. Any graduate of an accredited institution* is eligible to apply for admission to take the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD) examination.
3. Sponsored Candidates
Candidates who are not students at, or graduates of, an accredited academic institution* must be "sponsored" to take Part I or Part II by either a state licensure board in optometry or an accredited academic institution.*
States: The National Board requires a letter from the state board specifying which exam(s) the candidate is being sponsored, along with the candidate's name, social security number, date and other relevant information. The National Board requires a new sponsorship letter every 12 months. It is the responsibility of the candidate to contact the state board directly to see that the letter is supplied to the National Board. Click here for State Boards.
Schools: An accredited optometry institution may only sponsor a candidate for Part I - Applied Basic Science. This applies to all graduates of non-U.S.A. and non-Canadian institutions. The purpose of schools sponsoring candidates is to judge their academic education for placement at their school. The National Board requires a letter from the dean or president specifying the exam, candidate name, social security number, date and other relevant information.
Candidates who are not students at, or graduates of, an accredited institution* must be sponsored to take Part III or the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease (TMOD) examination by a state licensure board in optometry or an accredited institution. However, in order to be eligible to take Part III, sponsored candidates must first pass Parts I & II.
* Accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) of the American Optometric Association. Accredited Academic institutions include the 16 schools and colleges of optometry in the continental United States, the School of Optometry at Inter American University of Puerto Rico, and the two schools of optometry in Canada.