Exam Eligibility



Candidates taking entry-level examinations are classified into three general categories which are student candidates, graduate candidates, and sponsored candidates. These entry-level examinations consist of Part I ABS, Part II PAM, Part III CSE, TMOD, and ISE.

STUDENT CANDIDATES

The earliest date for a student candidate to take the Part I ABS exam is the March administration during the candidate’s third professional year in an accredited or pre-accredited institution. *

The earliest date for a student candidate to take the Part II PAM exam is the December administration during the candidate’s academic year of graduation at an accredited or pre-accredited institution. *

Student candidates eligible to take the Part III CSE exam on or after August 1st during their academic year of graduation at an accredited or pre-accredited institution. *

Student candidates should contact their authorized liaison at their institution for clarification on any matter regarding eligibility to take NBEO examinations. NBEO receives eligibility confirmations regarding Parts I ABS and Part II PAM from the student candidate’s institutions.


GRADUATE CANDIDATES

Any graduate of an accredited or pre-accredited institution* is eligible to take NBEO examinations.

SPONSORED CANDIDATES

Candidates who are not students at, or graduates of, an accredited or pre-accredited institution* must be sponsored to take the Part I ABS , Part II PAM, Part III CSE, TMOD and ISE either by a state licensure board of optometry or an accredited or pre-accredited institution* directly to ensure that their approved letter is supplied to NBEO.


* The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) is the only accrediting body for professional optometric degree (O.D.) programs, optometric residency programs and optometric technician programs in the United States and Canada.
(https://www.aoa.org/education/accreditation-council-on-optometric-education?sso=y)

Both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognize the ACOE as a reliable authority concerning the quality of education of the programs the Council accredits. ACOE accreditation means the programs that have attained accredited status:

  • Meet the Council's standards of educational effectiveness; and

  • Show a demonstrated commitment to quality assessment and improvement.