How to Become an

Optometrist Assistant

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

Why We Love It

  • $31,910
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 23.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute

An optometrist assistant assists an optometrist in carrying out efficient eye healthcare services. This role is responsible for ensuring that high quality and easily accessible vision-related care is provided to patients from all walks of life.

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What is an Optometrist Assistant?


An optometrist works on several important tasks such as those listed below:

  • Supports the maintenance of patient records for optimised organisation of examinations undergone, prescriptions, ordering dates and patient information.
  • Gathers patient charts from medical records department to speed up billing process with data such as benefits, eligibility for eye care services and insurance coverage.
  • Verifies information like prescriptions, updates the patient and dispenses eyewear or contact lenses as needed.
  • Coordinates with optical companies on errors, incorrect billing and orders overdue.
  • Keeps a check on supply inventories for frames, contact lenses and repairs in addition to stocking the frame-board regularly.

Day In The Life

Most of your day is spent completing routine tasks at the office for its smooth functioning, such as cleaning cutting edge ocular equipment, bookkeeping and scheduling patient appointments. Handle different requests such as in-house referral appointments or any complaints or issues based on policies in place. Screening patients for the purpose of seeking an appointment with the optometrist is a big part of the responsibilities. For every new patient, one has to see the records of the patient’s ocular or medical history, colour vision, blood pressure, etc. It is the optometric assistant’s job to maintain patient flow in a hassle-free and coordinated way.

You will also occasionally assist the optometrist during eye examinations for colour blindness, eye pressure and vision. Besides getting patients ready for eye-testing, you are also expected to prescribe the required eyeglasses for the patient. Customer care is paramount and you must engage with different patients in a respectful and engaging manner. For instance, patients receiving contact lenses benefit from advice on how to use them properly. Working with customers to choose the right frame and adjusting them for a proper fitting is also a part of the optometric assistant’s role.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

Work hours for this role can vary but usually most employees work full-time at forty hours per week. In rare cases, you might have to work over the weekend or late into the evenings. Work conditions include well-lit comfortable office spaces or laboratories. Some optometric assistants also work part-time.

Growth Of The Job

Job growth in this sector is projected to be at a steady 31 percent through 2020, as per the Bureau of Labour Statistics – more than twice the standard 14% average for most professions. With public and private insurance plans increasingly covering eye care services, there will be more employment opportunities for aspiring professionals in the field. Economical eye care chains are also opening up leading to greater employment potential. As the older population rises, they will be sure to require the services provided by optometric assistants. Those who complete a formal training program will have a greater chance for better-paying jobs.

Typical Employers

Typical employers include private offices, health clinics, optical instrument manufacturing companies and government agencies. Some employers in this field are Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, Premise Health, National Vision, Inc., Visionworks, Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, Vision Source, Culinary Health Center, TLCVision, Kaiser Permanente, North Suburban Eye Specialists, Sanford Health, Eastside Eye Physicians, UW Health and more. Benefits in such employment include paid holidays, vacation days and health insurance.

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How To Become an Optometrist Assistant

To find an entry-level position in this industry, you must at least possess a high school diploma. Pursuing formal training or acquiring special certification via technical schools or two-year colleges will give you a competitive edge versus other applicants. It is essential to be detail-oriented and sensitive to working with delicate tools.

Training programs offered at academic institutions will involve learning secretarial and office skills, as well as building foundations in certain medical procedures. Certification can be attained from the Paraoptometric Section of the American Optometric Association, upon successfully passing a written test. For positions in the government, you must take the required civil service examination.

As an aspiring candidate in this profession, you must be hardworking and polite in order to communicate with public in a wide range of situations that require sensitivity and empathy. Having the ability to assess data regarding a patient’s status and their age-specific requirements is beneficial. A deep understanding of the concepts and methods behind opticianry is helpful to progress in this career path, as is the knowledge of corporation policies and regulations.

Optometrist Assistant 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

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Optometrist Assistant salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Optometrist Assistant's can make an average annual salary of $31,910, or $15 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $26,080 or $13 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #669 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Optometrist Assistant. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Optometrist Assistants

  • 0.8%   Doctorate
  • 1.2%   Masters
  • 7.7%   Bachelors
  • 22.3%   Associates
  • 42.7%   College
  • 22.5%   High School
  • 2.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Optometrist Assistant job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 138,900 jobs for a total of 730,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 23.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #34 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Optometrist Assistants

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Offices of physicians 351,300 79,200 79%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 67,900 4,800 5%
Offices of chiropractors 25,200 4,600 5%

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