Most students at the technologist level complete 2-year associate's programs to prepare for this career. They also are prepared to sit for the national Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT) examination administered by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO). Graduates are trained in specific optical office tasks, such as taking patient histories, conducting tests, assessing vision and preparing medical instruments.
Ophthalmologist Technology Degree
Applicants to associate's degree programs must meet the criteria established by the educational institution, such as a high school diploma or its equivalent. Programs are often limited-entry, and the best candidates are those who have some prior work experience in the field and a solid background in science. General requirements for completion of the degree include general education topics like English, biology and mathematics, as well as professional courses, such as:
- Ocular medical terminology
- Optic anatomy and physiology
- Ophthalmic laboratory
- Ophthalmic dispensing
- Ocular disease
- Office procedures
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), substantial growth was expected for all types of medical assistant positions between 2014 and 2024, at an expected rate of 23%. Ophthalmic medical technicians made a median salary of $35,350 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Options
Many graduates of ophthalmologist technology degree programs obtain certification through the JCAHPO. There are three levels of certification available - ophthalmic assistant, technician and technologist. At least 36 continuing education credits must be earned each year in order to be eligible for recertification.
Students interested in a career as an ophthalmologist technologist can earn a two-year certificate but must also pass the required certification before working. Those with a keen interest and a background in science may enjoy this line of work.