Optometric assistant training prepares individuals to work with optometrists to providE eye care to patients. Duties of an optometric assistant may include compiling patient records pre- and post-exam, assisting an optometrist during an exam, and helping patients learn how to use and take care of contact lenses and other corrective eyewear. They may also perform preliminary tests.
There are no formal educational requirements for this position; some employers may accept applicants straight out of high school and provide optometric assistant training on-the-job. Many entry-level optometric assistants, however, have already completed an associate’s degree or other specialized training and may also seek certification to increase chances of employment.
Optometric assistants should have a high school diploma or its equivalent at a minimum, but an associate’s degree in medical assisting can be helpful as it can introduce students to subjects such as anatomy and physiology; medical terminology, record-keeping, and transcription; patient relations and ethics; and accounting and insurance procedures.
Medical assistant degrees through accredited programs can include internships through which candidates gain valuable experience in health care facilities. Medical assistants may also choose to pursue certification, which can make them more attractive job candidates to potential employers.
Earnings of medical assistants vary depending on experience and location, but median annual wages, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, were $28,300.
Those earning the highest salaries worked in general medical and surgical hospitals ($29,720) and colleges, universities, and professional schools ($28,820). Medical assistants also found employment in physicians’ offices ($28,710), outpatient care centers ($28,570), and other health care offices ($25,240).
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment opportunities for medical assistants will “grow much faster than average” especially for those who are certified, formally trained, and have experience. This growth is expected because of the increase in health care facilities and clinics to meet the demands of an aging population.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics