Careers in Health Care: Ophthalmic Technicians
Eye care is a growing and fascinating area in the field of health care. Ophthalmic technicians work closely with patients and have many opportunities for learning in a constantly changing field. As an ophthalmic technician, you will enjoy being part of a team in a career that offers both flexibility and growth.
What is an ophthalmic technician?
An ophthalmic technician is an allied health professional who assists ophthalmologists — medical doctors who diagnose and treat eye disease — in providing eye care. The ophthalmic technician works directly with patients performing duties such as:
- Taking patient histories
- Taking eye measurements
- Administering diagnostic tests and eye evaluations
- Explaining treatment procedures to patients
- Assisting with eye surgery
- Providing contact lens education
- Administering eye medications
Career opportunities for ophthalmic technicians also exist in clinic management, research, technical writing, training, sales, and consulting.
Where do ophthalmic technicians work?
In hospitals, academic medical centers, clinics, and for private ophthalmic practices.
What are the benefits of becoming an ophthalmic technician?
- Job opportunities and a growing demand for qualified individuals
- Professional work environment
- Excellent advancement opportunities
- Great salary potential
- Educational opportunities
- Family-friendly work schedules, generally during regular business hours.
- Opportunities for full and part-time positions.
How do I become an ophthalmic technician?
You must have a high school diploma or the equivalent and should have completed at least two years of college with an emphasis on science. At this point, you can pursue either of two career path options:
- A one to two-year program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
- On-the-job training in an ophthalmology office in conjunction with an independent study course
Ophthalmic technicians do not need a state license or registration to work in Michigan. However, most employers prefer to hire certified ophthalmic technicians (COTs), those who have met a combination of educational and work experience requirements. Details on certification and specific training programs are available from the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) at http://www.jcahpo.org/. Addition information about a career in Allied Health and as an Ophthalmic Technician is available from the Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology at www.atpo.org .
To be considered for employment at the University of Michigan applicants should first visit http://www.umich.edu/~jobs/instructions.html.