The Ophthalmic Career Progression Program consists of four study volumes and end of volume tests followed by a cumulative final examination. Also included in the updated program is an optional fifth book that covers the material for the NCLE licensing exam. The chapters are a comprehensive study of the background material and knowledge necessary for an individual to perform competently as an ophthalmic dispenser and to help prepare the ophthalmic dispenser for the National Opticianry Competency Examination administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and examinations for state licensure.

This home study program allows the participant the flexibility to progress at his/her own rate and eliminates the time and costs associated with traditional learning institutions


Why should you participate in the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program? What can it do for you?

The Ophthalmic Career Progression Program (OCPP) was the first contemporary, home study program designed to provide a thorough theoretical education in opticianry for those already working in the optical field.

While on-the-job training provides the practical knowledge to be an optician, it does not always supply the theoretical knowledge needed to become a fully qualified professional in the field. That is where the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program comes in.

The value of the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program has been recognized nationwide:

* as preparation for national certification and state licensure examinations;
* as a substantive reference by The National Apprenticeship and Training Standards Committee for Ophthalmic Dispensing Opticians;
* as the core for several state opticianry apprenticeship programs; and
* as a primary training tool for opticians in many parts of the world, including Canada, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

In short, the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program, in close interaction with your practical experience, allows you to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to have a successful career as a professional optician.


The Ophthalmic Career Progression Program has two (2) primary objectives:

* to increase the competency level of ophthalmic dispensers by providing educational opportunities for dispensers who are not attending formal academic programs; and
* to improve eyecare through increased knowledge, skill, and competency procedures.

Entrance Requirements

All applicants MUST (no exceptions will be made):
1. Be a high school graduate, or in possession of a GED or foreign equivalent.
2. Be currently employed in an optical position.
3. Have a qualified sponsor.

Sponsor Qualifications
Each OCPP student must be monitored by a sponsor. The sponsor will help answer questions regarding program material that the student may not understand, administer the end of volume examinations, and assess his/her students’ clinical competency. A potential sponsor must have the following qualifications:

1. He/She must be a licensed and practicing optician/optometrist/ophthalmologist in the state from which the student is applying for entrance into the program.
2. The sponsor must work or have daily interaction with his/her student in order to assess the student’s clinical competency.

Enrollment Procedure
Return the Enrollment Agreement (with Disclosure Agreement if applicable) and your Sponsor’s Registration Agreement with the required information and signatures to the Academy along with your check, money order or credit card information in the amount of selected tuition plan.

Incomplete enrollments will be returned. Any misrepresentation of facts within this Enrollment Agreement by the student is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

The Enrollment Agreement must be returned to the Academy along with the enrollment fee (full tuition only requires the Enrollment Agreement, any other payment option chosen requires both forms.)

The Disclosure Agreement is a legally binding document and signing the Disclosure Agreement means that you agree to pay the total cost of the CPP tuition, regardless of whether you remain in the program. The Enrollment Agreement is to be returned to the Academy along with the enrollment fee.

Manuals are shipped via UPS within 10 working days following receipt of the Enrollment Agreement and fee.

We are looking forward to working with you and to your completion of the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program (OCPP).

Note: If there are name, address, sponsor or telephone changes, please notify the Academy immediately. This will help keep our files up-to-date and assure accurate and timely correspondence.

By completing the Enrollment Agreement, the student consents to all of the terms and conditions of the OCPP outlined in this document.

Instructions for Completion of the Enrollment Agreement
1. Complete all on the Application for Enrollment. Please do not leave any questions unanswered.

2. Sign your name and enter the date signed in the space provided.

3. Obtain your sponsor’s signature. Have your sponsor indicate whether or not he/she is a member of the National Academy of Opticianry in the appropriate space.

4. Have your sponsor complete the Sponsor Registration Agreement.

5. Write a check, obtain a money order or provide credit card information in the amount of selected tuition plan. If the payment will be made by someone other than you (the applicant), please be sure that your name and the program name (OCPP) appear on the check or money order.

6. Mail the Enrollment and the Sponsor Registration Agreement along with the check, money order or credit card information in the amount made payable to the National Academy of Opticianry to:

The National Academy of Opticianry

8401 Corporate Drive #605

Landover, MD 20785

Office Hours, Contact Information, or for Questions:

If you have any further questions, the OCPP Director or the Director of Marketing will be more than happy to assist you. Our mailing address is: 8401 Corporate Dr #605, Landover, MD 20785, or call (301) 577-4828 or (800) 229-4828, Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) or fax (301) 577-3880, or send an e-mail to

New York State Requirements

Click below for more information in regards to your Ophthalmic Dispensing Training Permit


It is highly recommended to make sure you complete all necessary steps with your New York Trainee Permit

Phone: (518) 474-3817 x 591


By completing the Career Progression Program in the state of Florida, the State Optical Board will credit you with 2,080 hours towards your apprenticeship training.

If you have any other questions in regards to your apprenticeship, please contact the Florida State Optical Board

Time Frame

Although no minimum time limit is set, the general minimum time to successfully complete the course is 9-12 months. Some states have their own time requirements so please contact them directly to find out what your state requires.

Completion of the Academy’s OCPP Home Study Program requires:

1. Successful completion of monitored, multiple-choice examinations for each volume and a final examination. Students must score 70% or higher on each examination.

2. Demonstrated clinical competency as attested by his/her sponsor.


Program Costs – 

Virtual Books:

Full Tuition Payment – $900

Payment Plan – $1,000 ($300 down payment, $50 / month) *

Physical Books and Virtual Books:

Full Tuition Payment – $1,100

Payment Plan – $1,200 ($300 down payment, $50 / month) *

* – If paying monthly with an automatic credit card deduction, a $300 down payment is required, and a monthly payment of $50 will be deducted from the credit card until the balance is paid in full.

Tuition Assistance:

The Academy does not offer any scholarships and is not approved for government grants or loans. However, a payment plan is available.

Virtual or Physical Books

When you sign up for the Career Progression Program you will be given several options to choose from.

Virtual Books:

Your first choice will be for virtual books, with virtual books you will receive all the same content of the OCPP but will be able to access it on your computer, tablet, phone etc.  This choice is more cost effective but you will not receive the physical textbooks unless you choose to upgrade.

Full Tuition Payment – $900

Payment Plan – $1,000 ($300 down payment, $50 / month)

Physical Books and Virtual Books:

Your second choice is for both virtual books and physical copies of the books.  By selecting this option you will receive the five books of OCPP and full access to the virtual textbooks.

Full Tuition Payment – $1,100

Payment Plan – $1,200 ($300 down payment, $50 / month)


The Career Progression Program offers testing in both test booklet format and online.

Online Testing:

When you fill out a test request and select to take your test online you will be emailed a link to take the exam (please add to your contacts to ensure delivery).  You are given 150 minutes to complete the exam and the link is active for 7 days after being sent.  If you do not get a chance to take the exam within the 7 days you are not penalized you would just need to request a new exam link.

Booklet Testing:

When you fill out a test request and select to take your test in booklet format a test book will be shipped to your sponsor.  Once you complete the test you will need to mail the test booklet back to the NAO to be graded.  With the test booklets you are only given 30 days to complete the exam and get it back to the NAO, otherwise there is a $50 late fee and you will need to retake the exam.

Beginning on June 1st, 2017 the NAO will charge $17 to take the test in booklet format.  We do this to be able to ship the books via UPS or USPS with tracking information to avoid any lost tests.  In addition to that the time frame for returning the exams with be cut from 30 days to 15 days.

Volume 1

  • Introduction
    • History
    • Terminology
    • Optical Professions, Organizations and Regulatory Agencies
    • Basic Math Review
  • Ocular Anatomy and Physiology
    • Structures and Functions
    • Pharmacology
    • Refractive Errors, Anomalies, Diseases of the Eye, and Refractive Surgeries
    • Theory of Refraction

Volume 2

  • Optical Theory 1
    • Principles of Light
    • Laws of Reflection and Refraction
    • Basic Prism and Characteristics of Ophthalmic Lenses
    • Lens Powers
  • Optical Dispensing Theory 1
    • Lens Materials and Designs
    • Ophthalmic Frame Materials and Designs
    • Multifocals and Progressive Addition Lenses

Volume 3

  • Optical Lab Theory
    • Transposition
    • Boxing System
    • Finishing Room Calculations
    • Optical Waste Management
    • Lensometry and Verification
    • Tinting and Tempering
    • Optical Tools, Standard Alignment and Basic Adjustments
  • Optical Theory 2
    • Prentice’s Rule and Total Power in any Meridian
    • Vertex Distance, Effective Power and Compensated Power, Tilt/Wrap
    • Spectacle Magnification and Unequal Refractive Errors
    • Mirrors
    • Telescopes and Binoculars
    • Prism II, Prism Notation, Splitting Prism, Compounding Prism, Resulting and Resolving Prism
    • Lens Aberrations

Volume 4

  • Optical Dispensing Theory 2
    • Dispensing Eyewear
    • Understanding Today’s Anti-reflective lenses
    • The Evolution of AR
    • Glare and Photochromics
    • Polarized lenses – Mirror Coatings
    • Sports and Safety Vision
    • Low Vision
    • Dispensing to Seniors
    • Pediatric Dispensing
  • Optical Business Management
    • Inventory and Product Life Cycle
    • Other Regulatory Agencies
    • Marketing and Merchandising

Volume 5

Contact Lenses – (not required to complete the program)

  • Introduction
    • Introduction to Contact Lenses
    • Lifestyle Factors and Their Effects on Contact Lens Wear
  • Anatomy & Physiology
    • A & P Relative to CL Wear
    • Ocular Pathology Relative to CL Wear
    • Refractive Errors – Relative to CL Wear
  • Contact Lenses Theory
    • Instrumentation and Testing Procedures
    • Analyze and Interpret Information – Make Recommendations
    • Lens Characteristics
    • Gas Permeable (GP) Lens Modification
  • Contact Len Practice
    • Presenting Contact Lens Options and CL Solutions
    • Patient Education
    • Lens Inventory
  • Appendixes
    • Contact Lens Glossary
    • Prefixes & Suffixes


Upon successfully completing the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program, the National Academy of Opticianry will offer a continuing education course voucher worth 12 credits ($180 value) to graduates who become members of the Academy.  The voucher can be used towards your American Board of Opticianry continuing education requirements.

The OCPP curriculum contains much of the same subject matter offered by ophthalmic dispensing school programs, therefore students may be able to receive college credits from some ophthalmic dispensing programs. (Any such credit must be by independent arrangement between the student and the college.)  Some state licensing boards also grant credit for the OCPP. Students should contact their respective state licensing boards to determine if this type of credit is granted.

Withdrawals and Drops

Withdrawals and Drops

A student may withdraw from the OCPP at any time. A signed letter approved by the sponsor outlining the reason for withdrawal must be received by the Academy before processing of the withdrawal can occur. A student may be withdrawn from the program by the Academy if he/she fails to make tuition payments on time. Tuition payments are due by the 15th of the month, and failure of a student to miss one payment cycle can result in immediate withdrawal from the OCPP and notification sent to the student’s respective state board, if applicable. The student will receive a letter stating that they have missed a payment and have been withdrawn. If the student fails to render payment at the time that he/she withdraws from the program, then the account will be turned over to a COLLECTIONS AGENCY.

Inactive students are defined as students who have not returned a completed lesson or contacted the Academy requesting a time extension for a period of over nine months. Students inactive for nine consecutive months who have exhausted their 36-month enrollment and who have not contacted the Academy or responded to inquiries may be dropped at any time from the program for lack of progress. Any such action will be preceded by a letter of warning from the Academy.

Leave of Absence

Extensions of the 36-month program completion period may be granted at the written request of the student. In order to grant this extension, the Academy must be informed of the reason for the request, the amount of time required, and the estimated rate of progress. This request should be approved by the student’s sponsor.

The Academy’s policy states that as long as a student maintains reasonable contact with the Academy and shows a steady rate of progress, he/she will be considered an “active” student in good standing.

Withdrawn students may reinstate their enrollment. A $75 reinstatement fee will be charged before the student’s OCPP enrollment will be reactivated.

Refund Policy

If a student cancels enrollment or is disenrolled for any reason within five (5) calendar days after signing the enrollment agreement, all monies paid by the applicant will be refunded. No refunds will be made after that time.

All requests for cancellation must be in writing.

Correspondence regarding cancellation and settlement between the student and the Academy, banks, collection agencies, lawyers, or any other third persons representing the Academy, must clearly acknowledge the existence of the cancellation policy of the Academy.

Printable Application

If you are sending a check click here to print the application and fax it to (301) 577-3880 or mail it to:

National Academy of Opticianry

8401 Corporate Drive, Suite #605

Landover, MD 20785

Contact the OCPP