woman giving glaucoma exam

Ophthalmic Technician Program

Students earning the Ophthalmic Technician Associate in Applied Science degree will continue on their career path after completing the Eye Care Assistant prerequisite courses and gain skills for intermediate-level positions as ophthalmology and optometric assistants under the supervision of licensed eye care professionals.

Students expand on their eye care assistant knowledge through a variety of ophthalmic technician courses and learn about clinical optics, biometry and systemic diseases. 

The Ophthalmic Technician degree program is a two-year program. After earning the Eye Care Assistant certificate, students may continue their education to earn an Associate in Applied Science degree in Ophthalmic Technician. The program maintain strong clinical affiliations with healthcare settings across the Chicago metropolitan area.

The Ophthalmic Technician Program is currently seeking initial accreditation with International Council of Accreditation (ICA). Upon graduation, students may sit for the Certified Ophthalmic technician (COT) exam with permission from the ICA while seeking accreditation.

First Step to Register - Attend an Advising Session

Determine Your Path

Students graduate feeling prepared to work as intermediate level technicians and under the direction of an ophthalmologist or optometrist in various clinical settings including private, group and hospital ophthalmology departments. 

As an ophthalmic technician student at COD, you'll find:

  • Small class sizes that ensure students receive personalized attention.
  • Dedicated instructors with years of professional experience.
  • Hands-on laboratory and clinical instruction.
  • Program accreditation from the International Council of Accreditation (ICA) for Allied Ophthalmic Education Programs.

Ophthalmic Technician, Associate in Applied Science

The Ophthalmic Technician degree program prepares the student to be an integral member of the eye care team.

The Ophthalmic Technician program is a clinical ophthalmic assistant program accredited by the International Council of Accreditation (ICA) for Allied Ophthalmic Education Programs. Students are eligible to sit for the COT (certified ophthalmic technician ) exam upon completion of program.

More information about ICA can be found on: www.icaccreditation.org

Address: 2025 Woodlane Drive St. Paul, MN 55125-2998
Phone: (651) 731-7243
Fax: (651) 731-0410
Email: ica@icaccreditation.org

Medical Mission Trip

Along with Global Health Outreach (GHO) and other health care professionals, COD health sciences students have the opportunity to participate in a  field study medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic from Aug. 3, to Sunday, Aug. 11. Physical requirements include being able to stand and walk for many hours on uneven surfaces. 

Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in the Ophthalmic Technician program is to read the Ophthalmic Technician Registration Packet. The packet contains an admission checklist that you will need to follow in order to be eligible for admission.

Program Costs

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

The Mission of the Ophthalmic Technician Program is to:

  • To demonstrate reliability, self-discipline, cooperativeness, and professional deportment and demeanor in all activities related to Eye Care
  • To help students in developing life skills of critical thinking, effective communication, professional behaviors, as well as demonstrate safe & ethical practices
  • Provide curriculum that is built around the accreditation standards as well as enriching learning experiences for the students
  • Helping create professionals who are trained to preserve eye health by being a vital team member of the growing and in demand eye care field
  • To provide a hybrid learning structure for students to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree, which will prepare graduates to take the certification exam and to meet the needs of the community, as determined by the needs assessment which provided the basis for this program's establishment
  • To collaborate with student support services to market the profession of Eye Care and Ophthalmology, and advise potential program applicants, orient ECA Program and Ophthalmic Technician students to College services and provide special academic assistance where necessary

Upon completion of the Ophthalmic Tech Program, the graduate should be able to:

  • To demonstrate and be skilled in diagnostic testing as required by the standards and guidelines of JCAHPO and CoA-OMP
  • To assist the ophthalmologist & optometrist by performing delegable tasks
  • Collecting data, administering treatment, assisting in ophthalmic surgical procedures, and supervising patients in a safe and effective manner deemed appropriate according to the training level and may be delegated by a supervising ophthalmologist as applicable by law
  • Become skilled professionals, qualified by didactic and clinical ophthalmic training, who perform ophthalmic procedures under the direction or supervision of a licensed ophthalmologist who is responsible for the performance of the ophthalmic medical technician
  • Render supportive services to the ophthalmologist, optometrist and management
  • Assist the physician by collecting data necessary to reach those decisions and by transmitting and executing the ophthalmologist's instructions
  • Have knowledge, problem-solving skills, psychomotor, behavioral, and clinical competencies as well as demonstrate clinical thinking
  • Skillfully and accurately perform the clinical diagnostic tests and patient services in conformation with the didactic curriculum
  • Relate tactfully and sympathetically to patients as adapt to patient's needs
  • Demonstrate proficiency in both written and spoken communication skills with patients, families and staff
  • Demonstrate the ability to contribute to the profession and community

The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) credentials set the profession's standards for ensuring the knowledge and competence of practicing Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) and are recognized as the most respected global credential for AOP.

The Eye Care Assistant program at College of DuPage will focus on JCAHPO credentials of the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA).

As part of the allied health profession, Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) are one of the members of the professional team of eye care providers. Certified AOP perform assigned procedures under the direction or supervision of a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery and qualified in ophthalmology. AOP are not independent practitioners and may not diagnose, teat eye disorders or prescribe medications. They can supply vital information to the physician, who is treating patients, and may assist in areas such as surgery, patient education and compliance.

Some of the most common tasks performed by AOP at all levels of certification include:

  • Taking patient histories
  • Maintaining instruments
  • Providing patient services
  • Taking eye measurements
  • Administering tests and evaluations
  • Performing a variety of clinical tasks

JCAHPO certifications and examinations include knowledge and performance of techniques in the administration of eye drops, ointments, and irrigating solutions to the eye, and knowledge about oral medications and non-invasive techniques. It is not within the scope of JCAHPO certification and examination to evaluate the performance of any injection technique or similar invasive procedure when needles, trocars, cannulas, or instillation devices are placed within and beneath tissue surfaces.

While certification is an important indication of your knowledge and skill, remember that JCAHPO does not guarantee the job performance or express an opinion of the competence of individuals who have achieved certification.

The Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) is the entry level core designation designed to start eye care professionals on the path to success. The COA designation confirms an assistant's knowledge in 19 specific content areas.

College of DuPage has several ophthalmic technician transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.

Eye Care Assistant and Ophthalmic Technician

Modal Image Opens to lightbox video

Students earning the Eye Care Assistant Certificate program at COD will gain the skills for entry-level positions as ophthalmic and optometric assistants.