Ophthalmology Technician Training: Online Programs

An ophthalmology technician training program prepares you for a career creating prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. These programs can lead to a certificate or an associate's degree. Read on to learn more about training and education programs, and get the career outlook for this job. Schools offering Optician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Are These Degrees Available Online?

In most cases, you'll only find ophthalmology technician training programs offered through campus-based study. Very rarely, though you can find certificate programs offered mostly online. The laboratory studies that are required can be a challenge to achieve through online study, leading some schools to have some campus-based laboratory requirements.

Online programs use virtual classroom environments that allow you to complete your lecture-based studies entirely through distance learning. These programs require you to use a computer with high-speed Internet access. Beyond the technology requirements, you'll need to be comfortable working independently and with less supervision than you might find in a campus-based program. This format can allow you to maintain a full-time job while completing your work on your own schedule.

Online Availability Online programs are not typically available; certificate programs may be available mostly online
Common Courses Certificate: Eye anatomy and physiology, diffraction, lens crafting and grinding, ophthalmology tools, optical theory
Associate's: Ophthalmic procedures, medical terminology, optical surgery, emergency care, ocular pharmacology
Certification Information COA and COMT certifications are available
Median Salary (2018)$36,530 (for ophthalmic medical technicians)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)12% growth (for all ophthalmic laboratory technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take during My Ophthalmology Technician Training?

An Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician certificate program presents a history of vision care and lens development, along with courses that help you understand the anatomy and physiology of the eye. You'll also learn the concepts behind glass and plastic lenses, including a detailed study of optical theory. Your courses will cover different aspects of lenses and vision, including prism powers, diffraction, magnification and vertex power. While much of your study will be lecture-based, you'll also typically work in a laboratory. In the lab, you'll become familiar with the tools used to craft and grind lenses.

In an associate's degree program in ophthalmic technology, you study medical terminology, emergency care, ocular pharmacology and ophthalmic procedures. Courses on contact lens, optical surgery and medical records may also be included. To build your skills, you will often complete laboratory work and a clinical practicum.

What Certification Will I Need?

Though certification is not required by every state, it is recommended and may be required by your potential employer. The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology offers three tiers of certification, including the entry-level Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) and advanced Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist credentials. To earn the intermediate Certified Ophthalmic Technician designation, you'll need to be a graduate from an accredited training program, be a COA with work experience or be a certified orthoptist with work experience. Completing a certification will require you to pass an exam covering both skills and content knowledge.

What Is My Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 29,100 ophthalmic laboratory technicians employed in 2016. A job growth of 12% was predicted from 2016-2026 in this field, which exceeds the average for all occupations in the United States. Your potential for work will rise, as middle-aged and older adults require vision care.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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