New Ophthalmic Technician Degree at COD One of Two in Illinois

News at College of DuPage

By Jordyn HollidayCollege of DuPage’s new Ophthalmic Technician Associate in Applied Science degree
is  one of only two programs of its kind in Illinois, preparing students for careers
in one of the fastest-growing areas in the health care industry.The 64-credit hour degree, which will be offered for the first time during the spring
2019 semester, is designed to provide the medical eye care community with skilled
ophthalmology and optometric assistants who render support services and aid in the
treatment of eye conditions and diseases. It will also prepare students for the Certified
Ophthalmic Technician (COT) certification, which is the national certifying exam administered
by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.Graduates of the existing Eye Care Assistant program and current certified ophthalmic
assistants (COAs) in Illinois who wish to continue their education can progress to
the Ophthalmic Technician A.A.S., opening the door for opportunities to advance their
careers by becoming a COT.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the eye care industry is expected to
experience substantial growth during the next decade due to the increase in the 65
and older population. As a result, local eye care providers are in need of skilled
professionals to fill much-needed roles.“The need for the program at COD originally came when Wheaton Eye Clinic approached
the Board and expressed that they were not finding qualified individuals,” said Program
Coordinator Mitzi Thomas. “There is only one other program such as this in Illinois,
which is at Triton College. There are typically around 20 to 25 graduates from that
program per year and this alone is not enough to fulfill the necessity in Illinois.”What sets the Ophthalmic Technician A.A.S. apart is a hybrid format consisting of
both classroom and online courses.“Something we focus on is making it convenient for adult learners and students with
other obligations,” …

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