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How to Become a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant

Updated on January 30, 2012

Ophthalmic assistants help ophthalmologists (eye doctors) in hospitals and medical clinics. Certification is an excellent step for getting a job in ophthalmology assisting. Students need to take a formal or home-study course and pass an exam. The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology provides certification for this assisting job.

This is an exciting job for those who would like to work with patients but, for whatever personal reasons, do not wish to get licensed as a nurse or medical doctor. Certified ophthalmology assistants get to actually perform tests on patients under the supervision of a licensed ophthalmologist.

Aspiring ophthalmic assistants have two main options to get training that will qualify applicants for certification. There are courses approved for self-study and accredited ophthalmology assistant courses.

Both routes to certification should provide sufficient resources to prepare for the ophthalmology assistant certification exam. Just keep the books from your self-study course or accredited certificate or degree program and study them thoroughly once you apply for the exam.

The first course for home study is the JCAHPO Ophthalmic Assistant Career Advancement Tool. A package of text materials and a sample certification exam is available for $123, as of September 2011. You may use the order form linked to below to purchase this ophthalmic assistant home study course.

The other self-study options for certification are provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. Use the links in the Resources at the end of this article to find more information on these study courses.

Schools are accredited for teaching ophthalmology assisting by the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs. These training programs can be found by using the map on the CoA-OMP website (see link below). There are programs for clinical assistants and non-clinical assistants. Either could qualify you to become a certified ophthalmic assistant. However, you will need some work experience if you choose a non-clinical program. Clinical programs automatically qualify you to take the certification test.

After completing your training (and work experience if necessary), then you can apply to take the exam using the application form. See the link below. As of September 2011, the fee is $300 to apply for and take the ophthalmology assistant certification exam.


JCAHPO: Ophthalmic Assistant Career Advancement Tool (Certification Study Course) Order Form

CoA-OMP: Map to Find Accredited Ophthalmology Assisting Schools

JCAHPO Certification Exam Application Form

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Canadian Ophthalmological Society


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    • Amber Vyn profile image

      Amber Vyn 5 years ago

      Nice overview of how to get into the field.