Ophthalmic Assistant Certificate

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Ophthalmic Assistant Cincinnati

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Take an active role in one of the most essential fields of healthcare

As an ophthalmic assistant, you will assist the ophthalmologist in a variety of diagnostic and technical tasks. Portions of this curriculum will involve on-site practicums at participating ophthalmic practices. This program was designed to specifically prepare students for immediate employment in the field and to sit for the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) entry-level examination as administered by the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO). As an ophthalmic assistant, you will enjoy being part of a team in a career that offers both flexibility and growth.

The Ophthalmic Assistant Certificate program courses begin in the fall semester (August).

This program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission and Ohio Board of Regents.

Program Overview

The Ophthalmic Assistant Certificate prepares students to work as part of the healthcare team in the essential fields of ophthalmology and optometry. The program includes didactic, laboratory and clinical components specifically designed to prepare students for entry into practice as an ophthalmic assistant and to take the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) entry-level examination as administered by the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO). IJCAHPO maintains accreditation through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which verifies that programs meet the highest national voluntary standards for private certification. The certificate program curriculum was developed using program content defined by the International Council of Accreditation (ICA).

Sample program of study for Ophthalmic Assistant Certificate.

Curriculum effective Fall 2021. For students enrolled prior to Fall 2021, please reference the Mercy College catalog.

At the end of the certificate program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate technical competence when performing ophthalmic procedures.
  2. Demonstrate responsible, ethical, and professional patient care.
  3. Employ components of effective communication.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to solve problems and think critically.

Program Outcomes

  • Document .pdfOphthalmic Assistant Credit Certificate Program Outcomes Data

    View program-specific data, including graduation satisfaction, job placement, and pass rates for the Ophthalmic Assistant program.


Career Outlook

Employment Growth

The job outlook is favorable for graduating Certified Ophthalmic Assistants (COAs) as the job market expects an 11% increase between now and 2028. There is currently a significant shortage of qualified ophthalmic assistants, technicians, and technologists in the U.S.

The demand will continue to increase because of the growing elderly population in this country. As the baby boom generation grows older, more vision care specialists will be needed to keep up with demand. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Salary Range

The average salary is $36,690 per year with the opportunity to earn more with experience and additional training and certification [Bureau of Labor Statistics].

Assistants are eligible to take the Certified Ophthalmic Technician exam after one year of professional experience in the field and earn an increase in salary.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must be a high school graduate with a grade point average (GPA) of at least a 2.0, or a general equivalency (GED) recipient with a score of 500 (score of 50 prior to 2002). If an applicant’s GPA or GED score is below the minimum, he/she may be eligible for admission under transfer credit guidelines.

A transfer student must be a high school graduate or a GED recipient and have earned a minimum of 15 credit hours of college coursework from a regionally accredited college, with a GPA of at least 2.0. For applicants who have attended more than one regionally accredited college, GPAs from all colleges must combine to equal at least a 2.0.

Students must possess American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) Healthcare Provider certification-valid prior to the start of EYE 130 with current certification maintained through the completion of clinical rotations.

Applicants must submit to a background check, drug screen, and meet health requirements according to program policy.