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Ophthalmic Medical Personnel

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

  • Avg. Salary $34,775.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.85
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook above avg
Also Known As

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

NOC & Interest Codes
The Ophthalmic Medical Personnel is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Ophthalmic Medical Assistants
NOC code: 3235.5

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 Dec 15, 2016

There are three levels of ophthalmic medical personnel in Alberta:

  • ophthalmic assistants
  • ophthalmic technicians
  • ophthalmic medical technologists.

Depending on the work setting and the level of responsibility delegated by the ophthalmologist, ophthalmic medical personnel may:

  • gather a general medical and ophthalmic history
  • operate specialized instruments to test ocular functions (for example, visual acuity, visual fields, eye pressure, colour vision)
  • record test results and case histories
  • verify eye glass prescriptions
  • maintain sterile equipment in the office
  • administer eye drops, ointments and medications as directed by ophthalmologists 
  • educate patients on ophthalmic diseases and disorders as directed by ophthalmologists.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Ophthalmic medical personnel need the following characteristics:

  • a strong interest in healthcare
  • good organizational skills
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • the ability to work independently
  • patience and a courteous, pleasant manner
  • the ability to interact confidently and instill confidence
  • the ability to maintain patient confidentiality
  • a reasonable level of manual dexterity and visual acuity.

They should enjoy compiling and recording information accurately, working with people, and operating testing and measuring instruments and equipment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In Alberta, ophthalmic medical personnel can be trained on the job or can attend training programs at colleges, universities or hospitals. Ophthalmologists generally prefer to hire applicants who have:

  • computer skills
  • a background in medical terminology
  • prior health care experience
  • a strong background in math and sciences 
  • a valid CPR Basic Rescuer certificate.

The Canadian Medical Association's conjoint accreditation process and the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs (CoA-OMP) assess ophthalmic training programs to ensure national standards are met. A list of approved Ophthalmic Assistant, OphthalmicTechnician and Ophthalmic Medical Technologist programs is published on the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) website.

The courses listed here may not be recognized by other institutions when applying for programs offering advanced levels of ophthalmic assisting. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the courses they choose to take will be accepted for credit at the institution to which they wish to transfer.

Certification is not mandatory for ophthalmic medical personnel in Alberta, but employers may prefer to hire job applicants who have been certified by JCAHPO.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Ophthalmic medical personnel are employed in:

  • hospitals
  • surgery centres 
  • clinics
  • private ophthalmologists' offices.

Advancement generally takes the form of more complex responsibilities. In larger organizations, ophthalmic assistants may advance to ophthalmic technician and ophthalmic medical technologist positions.

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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and eventsaffecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • locationin Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth(work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,600 Albertans are employed in the Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 112 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As ophthalmic medical personnel form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for ophthalmic medical personnel.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Salaries vary depending on the work setting and the level of responsibility, education and experience.

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

Ophthalmic medical personnel are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment occupational group earned on average from $20.16 to $27.51 an hour. The overall average wage was $20.85 an hour. For more information, see the Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment wage profile.


Related High School Subjects
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Canadian Ophthamological Society (COS) website:

Canadian Society of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel website:

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

Discover eye careers website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 11, 2014. 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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