Home » Specialties » Ophthalmic Technician

Ophthalmic Technician Careers: Job Duties, Education & Certification

Research ophthalmic training and careers so you’ll know how you can become an ophthalmic technician or technologist.

woman pointing at row on eye chart
Home » Specialties » Ophthalmic Technician

Ophthalmic Technician Facts and Figures

  • What you’ll do: Once you become an ophthalmic technician, you’ll work right along side an ophthalmologist as they help patients with eye disorders, vision measurements for glasses, eye muscle exercises and the prevention of blindness. You’ll also obtain medical histories from patients, administer diagnostic tests, provide contact lens instruction, administer eye medicine, and maintain optical instruments.
  • Where you’ll work: Ophthalmic technicians and ophthalmic technologists work in ophthalmologists’ offices.
  • Degree you’ll need: Associate’s degree plus 1-year certificate or diploma
  • Median annual salary: $37,180

Ophthalmic Technologist Job Description

As an ophthalmic technologist, you perform all duties performed by opticians and technicians, but you have more training and expanded responsibilities. Your additional responsibilities may include the following:

  • Assisting the ophthalmologist in surgery
  • Performing ophthalmic clinical photography and fluorescence angiography, as well as electrophysiological and microbiological procedures
  • Supervising other ophthalmic staff

Ophthalmic Technician and Technologist Education

In addition to having your GED or high school diploma, you need to complete a CAAHEP-accredited OT program, usually a 1-year certificate or diploma for assistants and technicians or a 2-year associate degree for technologists.

Coursework for Ophthalmic Techs


  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Ophthalmic optics
  • Medical terminology
  • Microbiology
  • Medical laws and ethics
  • Ophthalmic pharmacology and toxicology
  • Psychology
  • Ocular motility
  • Ocular anatomy and physiology
  • Diseases of the eye

You’ll also gain plenty of hands-on clinical experience.

Ophthalmic Technician and Technologist Certification

Certification regulations vary from state-to-state, however many employers consider it a requirement for employment. The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) offers national certification and testing for OTs on three different levels, plus subspecialty certification:

  • Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) – entry level
  • Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) – intermediate level
  • Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT) – advanced level

The subspecialty of ophthalmic surgical assisting requires certification in one of the three core levels.

Ophthalmic Tech Salaries

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median annual salaries for ophthalmic medical techs and ophthalmic lab techs. Take a look at the median annual wage for these two fields, as of 2021 data:

Ophthalmic Medical Technicians

National data

Median Salary: $37,180

Projected job growth: 14.3%

10th Percentile: $28,910

25th Percentile: $30,950

75th Percentile: $46,700

90th Percentile: $58,500

Projected job growth: 14.3%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $59,390 $46,700 $75,350
Alabama $30,080 $27,110 $46,020
Arkansas $34,720 $27,140 $46,420
Arizona $36,590 $29,000 $46,740
California $46,050 $30,720 $95,100
Colorado $38,420 $29,340 $58,680
Connecticut $46,280 $29,380 $58,500
District of Columbia $31,300 $31,300 $59,110
Delaware $37,390 $29,780 $58,540
Florida $37,510 $29,000 $58,160
Georgia $36,880 $28,140 $47,390
Hawaii $37,150 $29,210 $59,530
Iowa $38,460 $29,650 $60,810
Idaho $36,010 $28,130 $53,150
Illinois $46,210 $29,280 $59,170
Indiana $37,180 $28,650 $47,440
Kansas $36,690 $28,720 $47,440
Kentucky $29,340 $25,970 $38,660
Louisiana $31,360 $28,120 $45,910
Massachusetts $46,470 $29,340 $69,180
Maryland $40,090 $30,650 $59,390
Maine $37,180 $28,890 $58,630
Michigan $38,170 $29,340 $58,640
Minnesota $58,160 $36,770 $73,730
Missouri $29,460 $24,910 $46,190
Mississippi $29,650 $23,470 $47,090
Montana $36,630 $28,790 $46,420
North Carolina $36,740 $28,230 $47,510
North Dakota $37,220 $29,370 $47,170
Nebraska $37,640 $28,850 $45,850
New Hampshire $37,920 $30,000 $58,540
New Jersey $58,180 $36,810 $58,640
New Mexico $34,740 $27,850 $46,420
Nevada $37,540 $29,270 $60,320
New York $46,220 $29,140 $58,500
Ohio $36,640 $28,820 $47,360
Oklahoma $36,360 $28,790 $46,840
Oregon $46,300 $36,360 $61,770
Pennsylvania $36,750 $23,520 $49,340
Rhode Island $46,370 $36,780 $60,810
South Carolina $36,640 $28,570 $47,440
South Dakota $36,640 $28,680 $47,110
Tennessee $37,070 $27,820 $58,160
Texas $33,700 $26,870 $45,550
Utah $36,590 $29,130 $46,210
Virginia $36,240 $28,540 $46,470
Vermont $45,720 $36,360 $58,180
Washington $46,190 $36,590 $60,320
Wisconsin $46,170 $29,650 $58,500
West Virginia $35,000 $22,350 $45,020
Wyoming $29,190 $23,310 $46,190

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians

National data

Median Salary: $37,270

Projected job growth: 11.2%

10th Percentile: $28,080

25th Percentile: $30,010

75th Percentile: $46,210

90th Percentile: $56,190

Projected job growth: 11.2%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $24,080 $16,850 $38,370
Arkansas $30,110 $24,420 $36,550
Arizona $38,370 $31,300 $61,920
California $43,910 $30,010 $63,000
Colorado $38,760 $30,160 $59,110
Connecticut $48,050 $36,660 $76,970
Florida $36,200 $23,980 $47,400
Georgia $37,750 $24,080 $48,310
Iowa $30,160 $28,710 $46,580
Idaho $36,590 $30,500 $73,700
Illinois $37,750 $27,150 $47,640
Indiana $31,420 $22,140 $47,330
Kansas $29,820 $26,380 $38,640
Kentucky $28,820 $23,530 $37,750
Louisiana $30,860 $23,940 $47,330
Massachusetts $37,240 $34,690 $59,110
Maryland $37,800 $30,120 $58,640
Michigan $36,890 $28,990 $47,440
Minnesota $37,800 $29,660 $47,740
Missouri $37,460 $27,750 $59,700
Mississippi $29,880 $23,930 $47,070
North Carolina $31,100 $28,070 $43,870
Nebraska $37,270 $27,820 $47,330
New Hampshire $59,970 $30,690 $77,730
New Jersey $45,600 $37,800 $47,440
New Mexico $36,710 $28,130 $47,330
Nevada $28,570 $26,590 $44,310
New York $36,720 $29,930 $56,760
Ohio $34,620 $22,910 $48,620
Oklahoma $30,710 $23,090 $47,160
Oregon $37,750 $25,130 $52,860
Pennsylvania $37,300 $26,570 $47,640
South Carolina $37,310 $24,580 $48,060
South Dakota $28,830 $28,820 $50,090
Tennessee $29,370 $23,580 $39,450
Texas $30,010 $27,340 $45,740
Virginia $36,470 $24,790 $47,440
Vermont $45,830 $30,070 $59,340
Washington $47,750 $38,070 $48,980
Wisconsin $38,370 $30,280 $47,760
West Virginia $33,740 $23,420 $38,160

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.