What Does a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Do? An In-depth Career Guide

What Does a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Do?
What Does a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Do?

Certified ophthalmic assistants are entry-level professionals working closely with ophthalmologists to provide patient care. This job requires only a high school diploma or GED and you can get certification through a professional organization. Certification isn’t required for this job but it often develops job opportunities and improves salary potential for ophthalmic assistants. Today, we give a complete guide about the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant including job description, duty, and salary.

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Job Description

Ophthalmic assistants support ophthalmologists in some working tasks like taking medical records, examining preliminary eye function, and telling patients about medication or procedures. Thanks to patients’ information from ophthalmic assistants, ophthalmologists will complete a diagnosis. 

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Job Description
Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Job Description

When it comes to certification for ophthalmic assistants, though it’s optional, it still assists in acquiring an entry-level position. To earn a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant designation, you must graduate from an academic degree program and complete the training required by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology. 

After gaining additional training and experience, certified ophthalmic assistants can continue their career or get a higher-level credential as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician or Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist.

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Duties

Certified ophthalmic assistants have the responsibility to perform lots of supportive tasks in an ophthalmologist’s office including 

  • Collect medical records and patient information
  • Take ocular measurements to prepare for anatomical and functional
  • Administer or deliver medications
  • Provide eye care and contact lens information for patients
  • Maintain and clean ophthalmic instruments
  • Aid the ophthalmologist in basic procedures

Certified Ophthalmic Assistants Salary

Certified Ophthalmic Assistants Salary
Certified Ophthalmic Assistants Salary

In 2021, PayScale.com reported that certified ophthalmic assistants (less than 5 years of experience) earned a median salary of $37,000/year, while ophthalmic assistants without certification only got a median annual of $30,000. The job outlook for Ophthalmic Assistants is much faster than the average with 14 percent.

Generally, Ophthalmic Assistants don’t require any special education requirements other than a high school diploma. To pursue this career, you need to experience on-the-job training to complete and achieve certification.

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Skills and Qualifications

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Skills and Qualifications

Certified ophthalmic assistants must be organized and focused. They need to have the ability to use precision tools and equipment as well as possess great interpersonal skills. Typically, as a certified ophthalmic assistant, you should have the following abilities including 

  • Communication skills: You usually work as a part of a healthcare team, so it’s significant to have great communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Organizational skills: You need to be organized to manage your time effectively as well as carry out a variety of duties and update patient information accurately.
  • Computer literacy: You need to have good computer literate skills to update patients’ records and databases. This skill also helps you to manage computerized equipment for ocular measurements
  • Listening skills: It’s very important for you to follow instructions clearly and accurately. So you need to improve this skill through daily tasks.
  • Dexterity: You will work with specific tools and equipment, so you need the dexterity to utilize these items safely.

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant Important Information

To give you a clear look at certified ophthalmic assistants, we have covered all outstanding points in the following table

Required EducationNone mandatory
Formal training programs available, but rare
Other RequirementsOn-the-job training
CertificationNot required, available for those with formal training or requisite experience
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)14%
Median Salary (2021)$37,000 for Certified Ophthalmic Assistants with 1-4 years’ experience

Ready to start as a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant? 

To be certified, you need to pass the ophthalmic assistant certification exam offered by the Joint Commission on Ophthalmic Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology. However, certification is not required but it’s the next advance in your career path!