Ophthalmic Assistant

Ophthalmic assistant operates ophthalmic testing and measuring instruments to aid ophthalmologists in assessing patients’ vision. They record test results, administer eye drops, ointments and medications as directed by ophthalmologists. They can also assist ophthalmologists in office surgery. They are also responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of the instruments and equipment used during examinations and office surgery. They receive patients at the clinics and take their general medical and ophthalmic history. They perform various administrative duties.

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Average Hourly


Range Hourly

$11.39 – $31.31

Average Yearly


Range Yearly

$22,201 – $61,047

Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (3237)

Ophthalmic assistant

Ophthalmic medical assistant

Ophthalmic medical technician

Ophthalmic medical technologist

Ophthalmic technician

Ophthalmic technician (except retail)

Ophthalmic technologist

Ophthalmologist assistant

Ophthalmic medical assistants require completion of a one- to two-year college program or a two-year hospital-based training program in ophthalmic medical technology or a minimum of one year of supervised practical training under an ophthalmologist and completion of an approved ophthalmic assistant home study program.

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Average hourly

Range hourly

Average yearly

Range yearly


$11.39 - $31.31


$22,201 - $61,047


Employment outlook is mostly good across provinces. More information is available here.

Different levels of Ophthalmologist assistant position can be obtained based on further training and skills acquired:

Three primary tiers:

-Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)

-Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT)

-Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT)

Other levels with specified skills acquired:

-Ophthalmic Surgical Assisting (OSA)

-Registered Ophthalmic Ultrasound Biometrist (ROUB)

-Certified Diagnostic Ophthalmic Sonographer (CDOS)

-Corporate Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (CCOA)

-Ophthalmic Scribe Certification (OSC)

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An ophthalmic assistant program can be a start.


Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting certificate at SAIT

Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Program at Centennial College

Honors Bachelor of Science in Ophthalmic Medical Technology at University of Ottawa Eye Institute (TG) (with conditions limited candidates can directly enroll into 3rd year)

Customer service, the ability to study and interpret customer issues, the ability to focus on details, patience and perseverance, organizational, interpersonal and communications skills, multitasking, analytical skills, ability to interpret scientific data, teamwork

They usually work on day shifts. But evening, night, and weekend shifts might be needed if they work in hospital settings.

Licensing is generally not mandatory, but JCAHPO certification maybe preferred

  1. Finding an opportunity through networking in an optometrist/ophthalmologist/optician’s office can be a start. This way by on-the-job training gradually getting certification for COA, COT, COMT is possible but difficult.

  2. Enrolling into an ophthalmologic assistant program and then work all the way up can be a suitable option.

  3. There is an option to get JCAHPO certification without getting further training for IMGs with ophthalmology background. They can ask for special consideration pathway for being eligible for JCAHPO certification exams. More information can be available here.