Ophthalmic Medical Personnel

Ophthalmic Medical Personnel

What is your vision for the future? Central Piedmont's Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Program can prepare you with the skills and knowledge needed to be a highly successful professional in the eye care industry.

What You Will Learn

Typical duties of an ophthalmic medical assistant include taking patient history, administering vision tests and evaluations, taking eye measurements, providing patient services, assisting in minor procedures, and assisting an ophthalmologist. Skilled and personable professionals are in high demand and have many employment opportunities in medical institutions, health clinics, physician practices, or other settings where eye healthcare is provided. The ophthalmic medical personnel program prepares you to perform ophthalmic procedures under the supervision of a licensed physician. The program covers topics including ocular anatomy and physiology, diseases of the eye, optics and refractometry, ophthalmic pharmacology, patient care, and others. 

Successful students are able to use their skills and knowledge to earn a diploma and sit for the Certified Ophthalmic Personnel exam from Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology. Students who have successfully completed their Associate in Applied Science degree and  passed the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) exam can go on to pursue further credentialing as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) and a Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT) to advance their careers.

Students in this program may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases through the provision of clinical services. It is for this reason that students are provided instruction on infectious diseases, mechanisms of disease transmission, and infection control procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission, including those published by national public health agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information, please refer to our student OSHA hazardous communication standard (PDF) and student exposure classification bloodborne pathogens (PDF) forms.

Why Choose Central Piedmont

Our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs (CoA-OMP). Our certification exam pass rates are greater than 90% and job placement rate exceeds 95%. We teach students to be leaders in their industry and set high standards for our students. Learn from field-experienced instructors, gain valuable hands-on experience before you graduate, and complete your diploma at a fraction of the cost as compared to a private school.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

The Details

  • Program Options

    Earn an Associate in Applied Science or an ophthalmic medical personnel diploma. The college catalog details the ophthalmic medical personnel program options currently available at Central Piedmont as well as program eligibility and course requirements. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer ophthalmic medical assistant course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Program Requirements and Application

    For detailed information on ophthalmic medical assistant course and program requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog. You are encouraged to complete ENG 111, COM 110, and PSY 150 prior to application to the program. An additional four courses will be considered on the admissions form.

    Please note that students in this field are at a higher risk than the general population for Hepatitis B. If admitted into the program, is to your advantage to start the vaccination process (PDF) for Hepatitis B as soon as you learn of your acceptance. Medical history and documentation forms will be distributed at the orientation following acceptance. Any applicant who is aware that they are carriers of Hepatitis B or C or are HIV positive are required to advise the State Department of Human Resources regarding ability to have patient contact. Students accepted into this program will be required to read and sign a bloodborne pathogen Form and OSHA's hazard communication form at the mandatory orientation session for new students.

    All applicants are required to undergo a criminal background check and drug screen per clinical agency and healthcare system requirements. More information on how to complete these requirements will be provided upon acceptance. If you are refused access to clinical experiences because of a positive criminal background check or drug screen, you will be unable to complete the clinical component of the course. Inability to complete the clinical requirements will result in a failure to progress in the program. Under North Carolina law some people with criminal backgrounds may be eligible for an expunction to remove charges or convictions from their record. If you would like to know whether or not you are eligible, contact Central Piedmont's Single Stop at 704.330.2722, ext. 6435 or email singlestop@cpcc.edu to schedule a legal consultation. To learn more about expunctions, explore the NC Justice Center’s guide.

    Students must also complete a medical exam, provide record of immunizations, show proof of medical insurance and carry Central Piedmont's accident insurance.  Current Provider Level CPR certification from American Heart Association or American Red Cross must be completed by the end of the first semester of the program. The student is responsible for the costs of each of these. Required forms will be distributed at the Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Orientation session for students who are accepted into the program.

    Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Essential Functions

    Review the program essential functions (PDF) before applying for the program to determine if being ophthalmic medical personnel is right for you.

    Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Program Application

    The ophthalmic medical personnel program is a limited enrollment program. Each year a maximum of 20 students are selected along with five alternates. Students are ranked according to the score on the admissions form. If you are not accepted and you wish to reapply, you must complete a new program application.

  • Locations

    Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm where courses are available using Schedule Builder.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab/Clinical
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab/Clinical and Online)

    Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm course delivery methods using Schedule Builder.

  • Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Careers

    Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for detailed ophthalmic medical assistant career requirements and opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

    Gainful Employment

    Federal education regulations (34 CFR668.6(b)(2)) require colleges to provide specific information about programs that prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

  • Costs and AId

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Program Costs

    In addition to regular tuition and fees, there are laboratory fees assigned to courses with a lab/clinical component. Additional costs include textbooks, workbooks, medical fees for a physical exam, and drug screening and immunizations.

    Ophthalmic Medical Personnel Scholarships

    In particular, students interested in the ophthalmic medical personnel program should consider the following scholarships. Please note that many scholarships are managed by organizations outside of Central Piedmont.

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