Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

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: 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) 
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
METHODICAL

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

SOCIAL

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

OBJECTIVE

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

Abilities

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

Duties
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
  • 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.

Traits & Skills
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.

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 34 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 24, 2021 and Dec 06, 2022.

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: Carry out treatment programs, under the direction of physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists, to rehabilitate patients with various injuries or disabilities
Tasks: Clean and maintain equipment
Tasks: Schedule and confirm appointments
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Organized
Tasks: Perform various administrative functions
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Clean and maintain equipment
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

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)


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 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 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, 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.

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 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.

Note
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: 2019-2023 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, 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.

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
$27.61
Per Hour
Average Salary
$46,713.00
Per Year
Average Hours
33.2
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.7
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
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
Starting
Overall
Top

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

Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
36%
36%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
13%
13%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
7%
7%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Canadian Ophthamological Society (COS) website: www.cos-sco.ca

Canadian Society of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel website: www.cos-sco.ca/scomp

Discover Eye Careers website: www.discovereyecareers.org

International Council of Accreditation (ICA) website: icaccreditation.org

Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) website: www.jcahpo.org

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.

Was this page useful?
Top