ophthalmic instructor with eye model

Guide to Accredited Ophthalmic Technician Education Programs

If you’re thinking about becoming a certified ophthalmic technician, you may be asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are ophthalmic technician education requirements?
  • Where can I find ophthalmic technician training?
  • Are there ophthalmic technician schools near me?

There are essentially two paths you can take: start your career in ophthalmology as an assistant and earn your JCAHPO Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) credential after you have at least one year of experience under your belt, or complete an ophthalmic technician education program accredited by the International Council of Accreditation (ICA) for Allied Ophthalmic Education Programs.


ophthalmic technician holding messbrille in ophthalmology clinic


While on-the-job ophthalmic technician training is highly valuable, earning a degree or completing a certificate program is also an attractive option because you’ll be learning in the classroom as well as in labs and clinics during your rotations. And with the ability to complete some programs in just one year, you’ll be quickly on your way to launching a rewarding career as an ophthalmic technician.

Here are 10 accredited ophthalmic technician education programs and ophthalmic technician schools to consider.

Note: estimated tuition for each program may not represent the total cost of attendance, and tuition may also vary based on district/resident status.


1. Pima Medical Institute, Denver, CO

Program Offered: Associate of Occupational Science, Ophthalmic Medical Technician

Course Highlights: Ocular Disease, Surgical Assisting, Ophthalmic Photography and Imaging, Echography and Light-Based Imaging

Program Length: 73.5 credits

Estimated Tuition: $30,125

According to the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), 100% of Pima Medical Institute’s ophthalmic medical technician degree program students got jobs following graduation.


2. Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Program Offered: Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Training Program

Course Highlights: Ocular Anatomy and Physiology, Ophthalmic Pharmacology, Ocular Motility, Visual Fields, Tonometry, Contact Lenses, Surgical Assisting, Ophthalmic Photography and Imaging, Medical Terminology, Ophthalmic Microbiology, Low Vision, Electrophysiology and Special Testing

Program Length: 21 months

Estimated Tuition: $7,745

Georgetown University’s two-year program for ophthalmic technicians is sponsored by the Georgetown University School of Medicine and combines classroom instruction with clinical rotations at ophthalmology clinics throughout the Washington, DC area.


3. Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL

Program Offered: Associate in Science, Ophthalmic Technician

Course Highlights: Medical Terminology, Physical and Geometric Optics, Ophthalmic Lenses, Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye, Ocular Pathology and Pharmacology, Advanced Clinical Procedures, Refractometry

Program Length: 72 credits

Estimated Tuition: $8,041

100% of 2016 graduates from Florida State College at Jacksonville’s ophthalmic technician program achieved employment.


ophthalmic technician using a refractometer


4. Triton College, River Grove, IL

Program Offered: Associate in Applied Science, Ophthalmic Technician

Course Highlights: Ocular Anatomy and Physiology, Ophthalmic Optics, Spectacle Skills, Ocular Pharmacology, Ophthalmic Procedures, Refractometry, Contact Lenses, Ocular Disease

Program Length: 63 credits

Estimated Tuition: $7,434

Triton College’s ophthalmic technician program is the only accredited program in IL and all students are eligible for an in-district tuition rate.


5. Henry Ford College, Dearborn, MI

Program Offered: Associate in Applied Science, Ophthalmic Technician

Course Highlights: Ocular Anatomy and Physiology, Applied Ophthalmic Optics, Ocular Measurements, Computers in Health Care, Clinical Optical Procedures, Ophthalmic Photography, Ophthalmic Surgical Assisting, Current Issues in Vision Care

Program Length: 68 credits

Estimated Tuition: $8,000

Henry Ford College has a tuition freeze guarantee that assures any tuition increase levied after a student’s initial semester of enrollment will be refunded when they graduate.


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6. Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ

Program Offered: Ophthalmic Medical Technician Certificate

Course Highlights: Ophthalmic Optics, Clinical Procedures, Anatomy of the Eye, Ocular Pharmacology, Introduction to Contact Lenses

Program Length: 32 minimum credits

Estimated Tuition: $4,600

A maximum of 18 students are admitted to Camden County College’s ophthalmic medical technician program each year.


ophthalmologist and ophthalmic technician performing surgery


7. Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC

Program Offered: Ophthalmic Technician Certification Program

Course Highlights: Visual Field and Visual Acuity Testing, Contact Lens Fitting, Refractometry, Lensometry, Ocular Pharmacology, Keratometry, Color Vision Testing, Ophthalmic Photography, Ophthalmic Surgical Assisting, Optics, Imaging Devices and Diagnostic Instrumentation

Program Length: 54.75 credits

Estimated Tuition: $8,000

Sponsored by Duke University Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology, this accelerated one-year program includes rotations through numerous subspecialty areas.


8. Portland Community College, Portland, OR

Program Offered: Associate of Applied Science, Ophthalmic Medical Technology

Course Highlights: Ocular Disease, Ocular Pharmacology, Ophthalmic Office Procedures, Clinical Optics, Ocular Anatomy and Physiology, Diagnostic Procedures, Surgical Assisting Procedures, Ocular Motility, Ophthalmic Imaging

Program Length: Minimum of 100 credits

Estimated Tuition: ~$12,500

Since 2010, 100% of students in Portland Community College’s Ophthalmic Medical Technology program at the Cascade Campus have passed the written portion of the COT certification exam.


9. Volunteer State Community College, Gallatin, TN

Program Offered: Associate of Applied Science, Ophthalmic Technician

Course Highlights: Medical Terminology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Ocular Anatomy and Physiology, Clinical Applications, Ophthalmic Optics, Ophthalmic Pharmacology, Ophthalmic Disease, Ocular Motility, Refractometry/Retinoscopy, Ophthalmic Procedures

Program Length: 65 credits

Estimated Tuition: ~$7,600

Ophthalmic students have the opportunity to participate in Volunteer State Community College’s annual medical mission trip to Guatemala.


10. San Jacinto College, Pasadena, TX

Program Offered: Associate of Applied Science, Eye Care Technology

Course Highlights: Ophthalmic Techniques, Anatomy and Physiology for Eye Care Technology, Ophthalmic Dispensing, Ophthalmic Surgical Techniques, Medical Insurance, Advanced Ophthalmic Techniques

Program Length: 60 credits

Estimated Tuition: Starting at ~3,570 for in-district residents

San Jacinto College offers the only accredited ophthalmic technician program in Texas.

by: Natalie Winzer, iHire
June 05, 2018

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