Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Q and A about Ophthalmic

Q: We have an ophthalmic tech program at Vol State? I never knew that!
A: Yes, we do. It was moved from Vanderbilt Eye Institute 6 years ago and has resided in Annex 400 Building ever since.

Q: What does an ophthalmic technician do?
A: There are three levels of technical personnel in ophthalmology - ophthalmic assistants, ophthalmic technicians, and ophthalmic technologists. They work under the supervision and direction of an ophthalmologist (an M.D.) to perform ophthalmic clinical duties.

They are trained to take medical histories, perform all the ophthalmologic tests necessary for preliminary and highly specific eye exams, take ophthalmic photographs, use ultrasound equipment and other diagnostic and testing technology, administer eye medications, instruct the patient in care and use of corrective lenses, assist in ophthalmic surgery, and maintain ophthalmic and surgical instruments.

Q: What type of person would enjoy or be qualified for this job?
A: Attributes of a successful ophthalmic technician are: a natural curiosity about medical science; a desire to be a hands-on health care worker and help people; critical thinking ability; computer aptitude and problem-solving skills.

Q: Which level of technical personnel does the Program at Volstate teach?
A: Our Program graduates are immediately able to sit for the technician level certification exam – in other words, they skip the assistant level by graduating from our Program. Certification examinations are given by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.

Q: I know some Allied Health Programs here are accredited. Is this Program accredited?
A: Yes. The program has been granted full accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Ophthalmic Medical Programs (CoA-OMP). This means our Program is held to higher standards that must be monitored and maintained.

Q: How long is the Program and is it a certificate or a degree program?
A: Overall, it takes two years. This is how it is broken down: After successful completion of all prerequisites, which takes approximately one year, applicants are invited to interview for the Program. The formal Program is one year, and graduates are granted an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science – Ophthalmic Medical Technician Option.

Q: Are there jobs available after graduation?
A: The demand for ophthalmic technicians has remained strong over the past decade. An aging population who will require eye care and the technological advances in this field should keep demand at this level or higher. Our employment rate for graduates is 95-100%, and physicians who wish to hire ophthalmic technicians always outnumber the graduates who are available.

Q: How much money do ophthalmic technicians make?
A: In our geographical area of greater Nashville, the average starting hourly wage for our graduates is $15.50. After they complete their certification, most ophthalmic technicians can expect a $1 - $2 an/hour increase.

Q: After graduation, where do ophthalmic technicians work?
A: The work environment for ophthalmic technicians ranges from university medical institutions to one-physician private offices. Ophthalmologists often become subspecialists in cornea, retina, glaucoma and refractive surgery, and ophthalmic technicians increase their value by having knowledge of these special areas.

Q: Is there a career path for ophthalmic technicians?
A: Yes. With additional training, an ophthalmic technician can take a higher level of certification exam to become an ophthalmic medical technologist. Technologists often supervise the technical staff. Areas of specialization include: an orthoptist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients with crossed eyes and related muscle imbalances of the eye; a certified ophthalmic photographer, a surgical technician; or a low vision technician.

Q: How do I apply?
A: Go to home page. Click on Academics at the top; click on Allied Health under Academic Divisions; click on Ophthalmic Technician Program; then click on Forms to download and complete an application.

Applications may be submitted at any time but must be in by the end of April. Students are chosen for the Program in June and classes begin the 1st week of August each year.

Posted by Kathleen. Volunteer State Community College.

1 comment:

Jane Shuman COE COT said...

Lots of ophthalmic technician positions available after your Vol State ophthalmic technician training. List of available technician positions at