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Ophthalmic Medical Personnel

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

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

  • 3235.5: Ophthalmic Medical Assistants

2006 NOC-S

  • D235: Other Technical Occupations in Therapy and Assessment

2011 NOC

  • 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2016 NOC

  • 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2021 NOC

  • 33109: Other assisting occupations in support of health services

2023 OaSIS

  • 33109.04: Ophthalmic assistants
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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, and colour vision
  • Perform other diagnostic tests such as photos and OCT (at advanced levels, they may perform ultrasound angiograms and 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 diseases and disorders as directed by ophthalmologists
  • Help the ophthalmologist by documenting information on an electronic health-records system
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

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

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Ophthalmic Medical Assistants

2006 NOC: 3235.5

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Ophthalmic medical personnel need:

  • A strong interest in health care
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills (speaking and writing)
  • The ability to work independently
  • Patience
  • The ability to be courteous, confident, and pleasant with patients
  • Discretion (to keep patient information confidential)
  • Fine-motor skills
  • Good vision

They should enjoy:

  • Compiling and recording information accurately
  • Working with people
  • Using technical instruments and equipment

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2016 NOC: 3237

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 134 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Mar 28, 2023 and Jul 19, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Clean and maintain equipment
Tasks: Carry out treatment programs, under the direction of physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists, to rehabilitate patients with various injuries or disabilities
Attention to detail
Tasks: Document patient rehabilitation progress
Construction Specialization: Organized
Experience: 1 year to less than 2 years
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Tasks: Schedule and confirm appointments
Tasks: Assist during assessment of patients and carry out treatment programs and develop materials for use with patients
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

Opthalmic medical personnel may learn in one of 2 ways. They may learn on the job or by attending training programs at colleges, universities, or hospitals in Alberta and throughout Canada. The International Council of Accreditation (ICA) assesses and accredits ophthalmic training programs to ensure national standards are met. The ICA website includes a list of approved programs for ophthalmic assistants, ophthalmic technicians, and ophthalmic medical technologists.

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)

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

When applying for ophthalmic programs, courses in math and science may be beneficial. Each institution has its own requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure prerequisites are met.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Not Regulated

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, 2024

Ophthalmic medical personnel work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Surgical centres
  • Clinics
  • Private ophthalmology practices
  • 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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group, 82.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.9% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 22 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 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.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Earnings for ophthalmic medical personnel generally range from $22 to $47 per hour (2018 estimate). Exact earnings depend on the individual’s level of education and work experience.

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment

2016 NOC: 3237
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3237 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $43.71 $24.13 $19.92
Overall $17.00 $47.94 $27.61 $23.36
Top $17.00 $49.35 $29.26 $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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

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, 2024

Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) website:

Canadian Society of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel (CSOMP) 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, 2024. 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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