Optometry Office Assistant: Salary, Training & Courses
An optometry office assistant provides administrative and basic clinical support in an eye care office. Read more about the training, courses, and salary to decide whether this career is the right one for you.
Career Information at a Glance
An optometry office assistant provides a wide range of administrative and basic clinical tasks to support an optometrist's office. The assistant works closely with the doctors and other staff in the office.
|Required Degree||Minimum of a high school diploma; postsecondary certificate recommended|
|Key Skills||Communication, customer service, organizational, multi-tasking, previous optometry knowledge may be preferred|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||23% (medical assistants)*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$27,512 (optometrist assistant)**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale
What Does an Optometry Office Assistant Do?
An optometry office assistant has an essential role in the running of an eye care office. The assistant performs a variety of administrative tasks, such as answering phones, scheduling exams, keeping detailed records, and updating medical billing. The optometry office assistant may also provide basic clinical support to the optician. This can include assisting with vision exams, repairing eyeglasses, assisting with vision therapy, and helping patients with eyeglass frame selection. The number and types of duties expected of an optometry office assistant generally depends on the size of the office. In smaller offices, the assistant many be expected to take on a wider range of tasks. Larger offices may have several optometry office assistants who are assigned to specific areas, such as medical billing. The jobs can be either part-time or full-time and are generally during standard daytime work hours.
What Are the Education Requirements?
Most assistant jobs at optometry offices only require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Courses that cover general computing, such as spreadsheets and computing software, are useful.
Although there are no certificate requirements for optometry office assistants, employers may prefer those who have a postsecondary certificate. Students can obtain a medical assistant certificate through programs at community colleges, vocational schools, and universities. These typically take one year to complete. Some schools offer two-year programs that led to a medical assistant associate's degree.
What Courses and Training Are Required?
Although no specific courses or college degrees are required, many optometry offices may expect assistants to have prior knowledge in general medical office procedures. This can be obtained through coursework, either completed separately or as part of a certificate or degree program. Typical courses include medical billing, medical terminology, anatomy, and insurance coding. Those interested in optometry should also look for courses that relate specifically to eye care.
Many optometry office assistants gain the skills they need through on-the-job training. Some may choose to receive training through a formal internship or certificate program.
What Is the Salary and Job Outlook?
As of 2019, the median salary of an optometrist assistant is $27,512, with a range of $20,000-$35,000, states PayScale. The job outlook for medical assistants is expected to grow by about 23% over the next decade, which is must faster than the average, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As the population continues to age, the demand for eye care services will increase as people generally have more eye problems as they get older. Office assistants with experience in optometry will see an increase in demand as eye care offices look for employees with their skill set.
What Are Some Alternative Careers?
There are many options for those interested in a healthcare career. Medical assistants can work with physicians in hospitals, clinics, and private offices. Dental assistants support dentists during a patient's exam, take X-rays, and schedule appointments. Other options include surgical assistants, physical therapy assistants, and pharmacy technicians.