Ophthalmic Medical Technologists


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A good foundation for a career as an ophthalmic medical technologist includes classes in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, humanities, and social studies. Psychology and English courses will help hone communication skills that are needed for interaction with patients and writing reports. Strong technology skills are needed for this job so be sure to also take computer science classes.

Postsecondary Training

An associate's degree from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is usually required for ophthalmic medical technology jobs. Courses cover topics such as anatomy, physiology, eye diseases, microbiology, ocular anatomy and physiology, ophthalmic pharmacology and toxicology, medical terminology and laws and ethics, and psychology.  

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Many employers require ophthalmic medical technologists hold the Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist designation. The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology offers various levels of certification, including: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA), Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT), Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT), and Ophthalmic Surgical Assisting (OSA). Other certifications include Corporate Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (CCOA) and Ophthalmic Scribe Certification (OSC). Eligibility for the COMT designation requires achieving the COA and COT levels, or training program graduation. Technologists must meet education and experience requirements and pass a two-part examination. Find certification information at https://www.jcahpo.org/certification-recertification.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Ophthalmic medical technologist is not an entry-level job. Most employers prefer to hire technologists with an associate's degree, certification, and three or more years of professional experience. The job requires strong knowledge of ophthalmic equipment and procedures, attention to detail, the ability to see details up close, and clear communication skills, particularly for interacting with patients and recording and sharing information with ophthalmologists and other medical professionals. Technologists must have strong knowledge of medical practices and ethics, and be service oriented and understanding. Some patients may be anxious or fearful, so technologists must be calm and reassuring when answering their questions and explaining procedures and next-steps.