Salus University and Community College of Philadelphia have partnered to bring an innovative Ophthalmic Technician Proficiency Certificate Program
to Philadelphia. The program launched Jan. 17 at the Community College’s Northwest Regional Center—adjacent to The Eye Institute—and is expected to provide family-sustaining jobs for individuals in the neighborhood.
"The Salus-CCP collaboration has been exciting and productive in multiple arenas,” said Dr. Linda Casser, coordinator of the University’s Interprofessional Education. “CCP's launch of its new Ophthalmic Technician program represents a very positive outcome for the community and a great example of what can be accomplished from a successful joint effort."
The program’s first cohort will be comprised of eight students. Ultimately, up to 16 students will be accepted into the two-semester, full-time program that includes two clinical internships.
“Our first class is comprised of local people and we anticipate that they will obtain jobs in eye care in the Philadelphia area,” said Dr. Scott Goldberg, the program’s new director.
The latest U.S. Census data show Pennsylvania’s population is aging faster than the rest of the country. Already, 16 percent of Pennsylvanians are seniors, the fourth-highest percentage nationally. And with age comes the potential for debilitating eye diseases.
Ophthalmic technicians work under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist, and perform a variety of eye and vision-related clinical functions. They record patient histories, perform the pre-testing of comprehensive and follow-up eye and vision examinations, conduct various diagnostic eye and vision care procedures, provide patient education, and perform various clinical practice administrative duties.
The median annual ophthalmic technician salary in Philadelphia is $44,820 as of Dec. 28, 2016, with salaries usually ranging between $37,916 and $49,589 according to salary.com. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that job growth for medical assistants, including eye care support professionals such as ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants, will rise 29% from 2012 through 2022.
Upon graduation, ophthalmic technicians may work in optometry practices, ophthalmology practices or healthcare clinical facilities; optical dispensaries; optical laboratories; healthcare and optical equipment businesses; lens, frame or contact lens companies; and pharmaceutical companies.
“It’s a one-year course, so our students are going to be job-ready as soon as they complete the program,” Dr. Goldberg said. “They should immediately be able to enter into the eye care field, whether it’s optometry, ophthalmology, a lab, or a clinic.”
Learn More about the Ophthalmic Technician Proficiency Certificate Program