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Ophthalmic Medical Personnel

Ophthalmic medical personnel assist eye surgeons (ophthalmologists) with patient care.

  • Avg. Salary $42,149.00
  • Avg. Wage $25.61
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 1,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Eyecare Assistant / Technician, Health Care Assistant, Medical Assistant, Ophthalmic Assistant / Technician, Ophthalmic Medical Technologist, Ophthalmic Scriber

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Ophthalmic Medical Assistants (3235.5) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (D235) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (3237) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (3237) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Ophthalmic Medical Personnel is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Ophthalmic Medical Assistants

Interest in compiling information to make preliminary assessments of patients' vision, and to record patients' test results, treatments and case histories


Interest in assisting ophthalmologists with examinations, treatments and office surgery; and in instructing patients in insertion, removal, cleaning and storage of contact lenses


Interest in operating ophthalmic testing and measuring instruments and equipment to administer eye drops, ointments and medications as directed by ophthalmologists

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2018

There are 3 levels of ophthalmic medical personnel in Alberta:

  • ophthalmic assistants
  • ophthalmic technicians
  • ophthalmic medical technologists.

Duties vary depending on the work setting and the level of responsibility the ophthalmologist assigns. In general, ophthalmic medical personnel may:

  • gather a general medical and eye health history
  • operate specialized instruments to test eye functions (such as visual acuity, visual fields, eye pressure, colour vision)
  • perform other diagnostic tests such as photos and OCT (advanced levels may perform ultrasound angiograms, electro-diagnostics)
  • record test results and case histories
  • take anatomical and functional ocular measurements
  • verify eyeglass prescriptions
  • operate, maintain, and troubleshoot a variety of monitoring and recording equipment
  • maintain sterile equipment in the office
  • administer advanced ocular motility and binocular function tests
  • administer topical medications (such as eye drops and ointments) as directed by ophthalmologists
  • prepare patients for laser surgery and other minor procedures
  • assist with minor procedures
  • organize and study ophthalmological data
  • educate patients on eye disease and disorders (as directed by ophthalmologists)
  • assist ophthalmologist with documentation on electronic health records system.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Ophthalmic medical personnel work in office or clinical settings. They often work regular weekday hours. They may also work evenings and weekends.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Ophthalmic medical personnel need to possess:

  • a strong interest in health care
  • the skills to be organized
  • speaking and writing skills
  • the ability to work on their own
  • patience and a courteous, pleasant manner
  • the ability to interact confidently and instil confidence in patients
  • the ability to keep patient information confidential
  • fine-motor skills and good vision.

They should enjoy:

  • compiling and recording information accurately
  • working with people
  • using technical instruments and equipment.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

In Alberta, ophthalmic medical personnel can learn on the job or attend training programs at colleges, universities or hospitals.

In general, ophthalmic technicians require a diploma in ophthalmic technology.

The International Council of Accreditation (ICA) assesses and accredits ophthalmic training programs to ensure national standards are met. A list of approved ophthalmic assistant, ophthalmic technician and ophthalmic medical technologist programs is published on the ICA website.

Ophthalmologists generally prefer to hire applicants who have:

  • strong computer skills
  • some knowledge of medical language
  • prior health care experience
  • a strong background in math and sciences
  • a valid CPR Basic Rescuer certificate
  • completion of an accredited ophthalmic program
  • JCAHPO certification (Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthamology)

When applying for programs offering advanced levels of ophthalmic assisting, it’s possible other institutions will not recognize the courses listed here. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the courses they take will be accepted for credit at the institution to which they wish to transfer.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation. However, employers may prefer to hire applicants who are certified by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO).

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Ophthalmic medical personnel work in:

  • hospitals
  • surgery centres
  • clinics
  • private practices (ophthalmologists’ offices)
  • research.

In general, advancement takes the form of more complex duties. Additional education may be required. In larger organizations and clinics, ophthalmic assistants may advance to technician and technologist roles.

Ophthalmic medical personnel are part of the 2011 National Occupational Classification 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment. In Alberta, 87% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 75 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 75 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Earnings for ophthalmic medical personnel (depending on the level of education and work experience) generally range from $22 to $47 per hour (2018 estimate).

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $34.00 $20.85 $19.06
Overall $17.00 $41.70 $25.61 $23.01
Top $19.10 $47.30 $29.23 $24.95

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Canadian Ophthamological Society (COS) website:

Canadian Society of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel website:

Discover Eye Careers website:

International Council of Accreditation (ICA) website:

Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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