Those who are just starting out to gain an education in optometry and ophthalmology must possess a high school diploma or GED as a pre-admission requirement, preferably with courses in health and sciences. At the vocational level, training in the field will provide certificate and undergraduate degree options. Optometry and ophthalmic certificate programs take several months to complete; Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Sciences (AS) degree programs take approximately two years. Either credential would be a good first step towards advancing your education to a four-year optometry and ophthalmic technician college.
Vocational programs will include comprehensive courses in physiology and pathology of the eye, examination, diagnostics, CPR, medical office administration, communication skills, and computer skills. Prospective ophthalmic technicians are prepared for the responsibilities of obtaining patient histories, maintaining patient charts, customer service, adjusting and repairing frames and eyeglasses, and prescription verification. Other coursework may include learning to schedule eye exams, prepare correspondence, and maintain and order supplies.
What kind of training would you need to take to learn to be an optician, or an optometrist, or an ophthalmologist? While these health care professionals are all qualified provide eye care services, each title requires a specific amount of optometry and ophthalmic training. The differences between the titles are that opticians make, verify and deliver lenses, frames and other specially fabricated optical devices and/or contact lenses upon prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Doctors of Optometry (optometric physicians or optometrists) are independent primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and disorders of the eye, but do not perform surgery. An Ophthalmologist has the degree Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and is a medical/surgical eye care provider. Aspiring ophthalmologists must commit to four years of college, four years of medical school and four years of residency and internships relating to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the eye, including surgery.
Graduation and certification can quickly qualify you to work under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist, performing a variety of necessary duties. Employment for optometry assistants may be in private offices, clinics, and optical stores. Entry-level salaries begin at about $20,000.