Ophthalmic Technician Jobs

Ophthalmic Technician Job Description

Generally speaking, ophthalmic technicians are tasked with ensuring that ophthalmologists have what they need in order to successfully complete a day of work. Some of the specific tasks that an ophthalmic tech is responsible for include:

  • Taking medical histories from patients
  • Providing eye medication
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Measuring patients’ vision
  • Testing patients’ eyes prior to the patient seeing the ophthalmologist
  • Working under an ophthalmologist’s supervision
  • Supervising other ophthalmic workers or staff
  • Assisting the ophthalmologist during surgery or other procedures
  • Applying dressings
  • Teaching patients about contact lens care
  • Administering eye drops or other medication when necessary
  • Measuring ocular pressure and acuity
  • Caring for equipment and other equipment
  • Testing and comparing a patient’s pupils
  • Instructing patients about various surgical procedures and post-operative care

Read on to learn about the training and education requirements for becoming an ophthalmic technician.

What Do I Need to Know to Become an Ophthalmic Tech?

While training is required for you to become an ophthalmic technician, it is not extremely extensive—most training programs last about a year. During training, you will most likely take courses having to do with medical terminology, anatomy, medical ethics and law, ocular physiology, microbiology, ophthalmic optics, ocular motility, diseases of the eye, contact lenses, CPR, clinical procedures, diagnostic procedures, and psychology. Some training programs will have you participate in hands-on training as well as classroom training.

Another option, outside of formal training, is self-directed training. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) offer self-study materials for those looking to become ophthalmic technicians.

However, keep in mind that the more education and training you get, the more you can realistically expect to earn as an ophthalmic technician. For example, certified ophthalmic technicians earn more than non-certified techs. Certification is offered by the JCAHPO and involves 500 to 1,000 hours of work experience in order to be eligible for the examination. Once you have passed the exam, you’re officially certified. There are three levels of certification: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (entry level), Certified Ophthalmic Technician (intermediate), and Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (advanced).

How Much Can I Earn as an Ophthalmic Tech?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for medical assistants is $30,000. PayScale.com goes on to report that an ophthalmic technician can earn anywhere between $21,000 and $40,000. A certified ophthalmic assistant can earn between $25,000 and $45,000, making certification that much more attractive. Job openings for ophthalmic technicians are expected to grow 34% between 2008 and 2018, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that there will be plenty of openings available for you as you begin your career as an ophthalmic tech.

If you’re interested in entering the field of eye care, consider training to become an ophthalmic technician now!

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