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Now is a great time for a career as an Ophthalmic Medical Technician!

Do you have
A passion for helping people?
An interest in health, science, math and technology?

Ophthalmic Medical Technicians are health care professionals in the distinct field of allied health. Ophthalmic medical assisting is one of the fastest growing health care careers. To enter the field, you will need a minimum of a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. There are two pathways to start your ophthalmic assisting career:

1. Attend an accredited academic educational program.

Contact your local program and ask questions about the length of the program, how to apply and when you can get started. It is always a good idea to take a tour to understand how the program will fit your needs.

> View the list of accredited training programs


2. Gain the necessary skills through on-the-job training work experience.

Earn while you learn! Find a local employer who will provide supervised entry-level work experience.

> View available job opportunities

To discover if this is the right career path, you can volunteer at a local hospital or ophthalmic clinic to gain ophthalmic health care experience. You can also contact your local Ophthalmologist’s office and ask to shadow an Ophthalmic Medical Technician for a day.


Enhance Your Career with Certification

Whether you are just starting your career or well on the path to becoming a successful Ophthalmic Medical Technician, the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology’s (IJCAHPO) certifications are your guide to career enhancement and increased salary. IJCAHPO offers three levels of core certification:

  • Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
  • Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)
  • Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT)

IJCAHPO certification exemplifies personal confidence, enhanced job capability and a commitment to the profession. By achieving certification, you will join an exceptional group of certified professionals demonstrating your specialized knowledge and competence. You can take this international certification with you, wherever you go!  Ophthalmic Medical Technicians (also called Allied Ophthalmic Personnel or AOP) are individuals qualified through academic and clinical experience to provide patient care and assistance to Ophthalmologists.


The Three Educational Pathways to Certification

The options below will prepare you for certification through IJCAHPO. Choose the path that best fits your needs and learning style.


Option 1: Clinical Education

Attend an accredited ophthalmic training program, which includes clinical training. These programs involve course work and clinical experience for IJCAHPO’s three levels of core certification (COA, COT, COMT).

> View the list of accredited training programs

Certification Eligibility: Take the appropriate certification examination immediately upon completing the program.

Option 2: Non-Clinical Education

Attend a shorter accredited ophthalmic training program that gives the ability to start earning sooner. These programs provide course work only and give the ability to begin your ophthalmic career with a greater knowledge of ophthalmology. Non-clinical programs prepare you for the COA pathway.

> View the list of accredited training programs

Certification Eligibility: 500 hours of supervised work experience is required before taking the appropriate certification examination.

Option 3: On-The-Job Training

Find one of many local employers who will provide supervised entry-level work experience to prepare you for the COA pathway. This affordable option lets you earn the entire time you are learning!

> View available job opportunities

Certification Eligibility: 1,000 hours of supervised work experience and a completed independent self-study is required before taking the appropriate certification examination.

> View the available independent self-studies

I started as an entry-level assistant and am now working full-time in a job I love that pays very well!

~ Carlos, COA

Read Carlos' Story


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