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Ophthalmic Technicians

At a Glance

  • Have a high level of social interaction
  • Work closely with patients and healthcare workers
  • Most work full time
  • Many train through certificate and two-year programs

Career summary

Ophthalmic technicians perform a variety of tests to check eye health and vision condition.

Ophthalmic technicians conduct tests to measure the fluid pressure inside of patients' eyes. They use instruments to diagnose optical conditions such as astigmatism. They use special tests to check for:

Ophthalmic technicians keep records of patient's medical history. Sometimes they assist physicians in performing ophthalmic procedures, including surgery. Between appointments, technicians clean equipment and prepare the space for the next patient. They help administer topical and oral medications and help patients use contact lenses. 

They perform routine tests to check patients':

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to ophthalmic technicians.

Common work activities

Ophthalmic technicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, ophthalmic technicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Ophthalmic technicians frequently:

It is important for ophthalmic technicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for ophthalmic technicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Ophthalmic technicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as an ophthalmic technician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Some employers prefer applicants who have an associate’s degree. Some ophthalmic technicians learn their skills through formal training programs. Professional-technical schools and two-year colleges offer programs. Two-year programs usually grant an associate degree. One-year programs offer a certificate. Courses include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical law, and ethics. Office courses include typing, recordkeeping, accounting, and insurance processing. You also gain skills in lab techniques and first aid

On-the-job training

Most ophthalmic technicians learn their skills through on-the-job training. The length of training varies by employer.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements (external link). You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know


Certification is not required but optional certifications can be used to show knowledge in a specialized field.


Ophthalmic Medical Technicians (SOC 29-2057)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $15.77 $17.68 $20.92 $23.99 $28.32
Monthly $2,733 $3,064 $3,625 $4,157 $4,908
Yearly $32,800 $36,760 $43,510 $49,900 $58,910
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $16.25 $17.57 $19.89 $24.29 $28.57
Monthly $2,816 $3,045 $3,447 $4,209 $4,951
Yearly $33,791 $36,539 $41,377 $50,514 $59,415
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $13.11 $14.16 $16.01 $18.48 $20.58
Monthly $2,272 $2,454 $2,775 $3,203 $3,567
Yearly $27,288 $29,451 $33,307 $38,437 $42,804
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $15.06 $17.33 $21.09 $30.63 $36.77
Monthly $2,610 $3,003 $3,655 $5,308 $6,372
Yearly $31,313 $36,041 $43,874 $63,722 $76,488
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $17.31 $19.96 $22.42 $24.92 $29.31
Monthly $3,000 $3,459 $3,885 $4,319 $5,079
Yearly $35,993 $41,510 $46,645 $51,817 $60,959
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $15.52 $16.70 $18.61 $22.58 $26.90
Monthly $2,690 $2,894 $3,225 $3,913 $4,662
Yearly $32,275 $34,736 $38,714 $46,948 $55,942
    Vancouver Hourly $16.13 $18.38 $24.97 $28.19 $30.19
Monthly $2,795 $3,185 $4,327 $4,885 $5,232
Yearly $33,537 $38,231 $51,922 $58,646 $62,784
    Yakima Hourly $13.51 $15.43 $17.64 $20.71 $24.81
Monthly $2,341 $2,674 $3,057 $3,589 $4,300
Yearly $28,109 $32,104 $36,700 $43,086 $51,612
United States Hourly $11.91 $14.20 $17.56 $21.89 $26.36
Monthly $2,064 $2,461 $3,043 $3,794 $4,568
Yearly $24,770 $29,530 $36,530 $45,530 $54,830

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. The technicians' level of education, experience, and responsibility also affect wages.

Employment and outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Ophthalmic Medical Technicians (SOC 29-2057)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,794 28.1% 16.1% 258
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 37 21.6% 13.4% 5
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 112 21.4% 8.6% 14
    Benton and Franklin Counties 23 47.8% 15.0% 4
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 99 32.3% 11.9% 16
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 118 18.6% 15.2% 14
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 72 23.6% 14.1% 10
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 25 28.0% 14.6% 4
    King County 650 30.2% 19.6% 96
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 29 48.3% 13.8% 5
    Pierce County 227 29.5% 15.2% 33
    Snohomish County 113 33.6% 12.4% 17
    Spokane County 318 25.8% 13.9% 44
United States 53,800 16.5% 5.2% 5,600

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be strong due to the increase in the aging population. Most people require vision correction at some point in their lives. As the population continues to age, more people will need vision aids, therefore increased in the demand for ophthalmic technicians.

Other resources

Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology (external link)
2025 Woodlane Drive St.
St. Paul, MN 55125-2998
Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (external link)
2025 Woodlane Drive
St. Paul, MN 55125
Ophthalmic Allied Health Profession--Ophthalmic Assistant (external link)
2025 Woodlane Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55125-299


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational cluster