How to Become an

Ophthalmic Technician

The complete career guide to be an Ophthalmic Technician: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $45,730
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 23.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

An ophthalmic technician assists and supports Ophthalmologists through various administrative and clinical functions like recording medical history of patients, maintaining ophthalmic equipment and supplies, administering treatment as required.

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What is an Ophthalmic Technician?


The following duties are carried out by an ophthalmic technician:

  • Completing initial paperwork involving patients like checking insurance plans and eligibility, pulling up their past ocular and systemic history, family and social history, etc.
  • Assessing a patient’s visual acuity and take their external exam as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Engaging in continuous learning and use equipment such as OCT, Lensometer, HVF and IOL Master.
  • Communicating and coordinating with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

Day In The Life

In your daily life as an ophthalmic technician, you will be working in close proximity with qualified ophthalmologist as they help patients tackle eye problems via vision measurements to create accurate glasses, a range of eye muscle exercises, etc. You are also integral to executing valuable back-end work such as locating and obtaining a patient’s medical history, carry out diagnostics to assess the condition of patients and maintain optical tools.

Further, you would be responsible for making certain that all healthcare professionals wear surgical scrub and change gloves and gown during minor and major eye surgery as per professional guidelines. Other tasks you might have to engage in on a routine basis includes administrative aspects like organizing clinic schedules, keeping track of ophthalmic supplies and tools, while ensuring that the physician’s requests are complied with.

Work Schedule

You can expect to be working in a standard office environment as an ophthalmic technician, having an estimated 30 hours work week. There are usually no weekend hours expected unless it is an emergency situation. You might have to travel to and work at partner clinics as the role requires, while maintaining the privacy of every patient. As is the case with most healthcare workers, you must be aware that there is always a risk of working in situations where exposure to infectious diseases is a possibility.

Growth Of The Job

An ophthalmic technician is fortunate to have several avenues to explore regarding career growth. In such an industry, factors like an ever-increasing population of older patients, the frequency of chronic health issues and more are heightening the popularity of medical professionals such as the ophthalmic technician.

In the case of ophthalmic technicians with sufficient experience, many eventually take on positions as medical personnel while others go a more supervisory route like an office manager or ophthalmic medical technologist. A related career choice is working as an orthoptist, which brings great pay and high demand as well. Finally, there are a few experts in the field who sign up for senior level management roles at research facilities, schools as well as the private sector.

Typical Employers

Ophthalmic technicians hold positions with employers at hospitals, medical clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, physician groups, university ophthalmology centers and academic institutions.

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How To Become an Ophthalmic Technician

There are two major ways via which you can jumpstart your career as an ophthalmic technician. One is by entering the professional field via a junior level role such as an assistant at a clinic or by gaining qualifications through academic programs, to be hired directly. It is best complete at least a high school diploma and get some hands-on training in diverse vision care settings to succeed in the field.


While there are varying licensing and certification requirements in states and medical institutions, you will require a background in relevant subjects like eye muscle evaluation, infection control procedures, physics, ophthalmic equipment and instrumentation, lensometry, physiology, optics and ocular pharmacology. Most academic programs equip you through lab stud, classwork and clinical training. A blend of core technical coursework and theoretical support courses are necessary to build a strong foundation, especially by utilising simulated and actual clinical equipment. You can eventually get certified by meeting the requirements stated by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.

In addition, there are certain skills that will give you the advantage in this field. For instance, you should have a caring and approachable attitude that will put patients at ease around you. Having great verbal and written communication skills is also a big plus. Since the role requires you to work in a team setting, you should be comfortable finishing your part of the workload in a professional manner.

Ophthalmic Technician Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Ophthalmic Technician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Ophthalmic Technician's can make an average annual salary of $45,730, or $22 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $32,030 or $15 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #443 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Ophthalmic Technicians

  • 4.8%   Doctorate
  • 7.5%   Masters
  • 21.3%   Bachelors
  • 14.4%   Associates
  • 31%   College
  • 19.3%   High School
  • 1.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Ophthalmic Technician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 23,700 jobs for a total of 125,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 23.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #36 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Ophthalmic Technicians

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 39,200 2,800 3%
Offices of physicians 9,500 2,100 2%
General medical and surgical hospitals; local 4,500 -100 0%

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