The NOCE and the CLRE exams, given by the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact lens Examiners were once only offered twice a year: in May and November.

Starting this year, however, these important tests will be offered FOUR times each year: August, November, February, and May. This means you have MORE opportunities to register for your Optical Boards to earn your certification and advance your career!

But does this actually mean that you can TAKE your Boards four times a year? Not really.

Those candidates who take the NOCE or CLRE and do not pass cannot immediately take the next available exam. They must wait and skip a testing period before retaking the exam that they failed. Optical candidates can still only take their Boards TWO times a year if they are not successful.

Considering how many candidates fail these exams this may actually be a kindness. In states with stringent licensing rules there are hundreds of optical trainees or apprentices who are actually bound to continually take each available test, if allowed, until they pass, as a condition of employment. If they had to sit for (and PAY for) four exams per year, it might constitute a hardship.

What the new test schedule does do, though, is give all the candidates a chance to pick the BEST time for them to take their Boards. For instance, you don’t have to rush into taking the May exam if you don’t feel ready. You can study a few months longer and take the August exam. That three months more of study could make all the difference!

For information concerning the NOCE and CLRE exams and registration, check out this link:

To help prepare, you might want to take advantage of our practice tests at Unlike the practice questions often found at the end of text book chapters, our tests are practically unlimited. Every time you take one it will be a different set of practice questions, and if you wish you can even view the answers to the ones you got wrong– complete with explanations and the math done out for you. There may even be neat little tips and secrets that your particular text book does not have. Practicing ahead of time can give you that added edge before you sit for your Boards. After all, they do say practice makes perfect!