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Ophthalmic Medical Assistant

The Ophthalmic Medical Assistant program will serve as the initial education program for learning and understanding the core level of care for entry into the fascinating world of eye care in a clinical/office setting. The program will focus on learning how to assist and work with ophthalmologists. Included will be an overview of patient services and even assisting with minor surgical procedures, instrument care and maintenance. Special attention will be given to complete comprehensive eye examinations, including chief complaints and history taking, anatomy and physiology of the visual system, eye terminology, general medical knowledge as well as hands-on skill instruction.


Details iconImportant information you’ll need when applying for admission:
Field of Interest
Health Sciences
Academic Plan
Ophthalmic Medical Assistant (CER)
Academic Plan Code
Total Clock Hours Required
Catalog Year

Students will be required to take a randomized urine drug screen and submit a negative result prior to being eligible to participate in the clinical externship. The expense of the urine drug screen is the student`s responsibility.

Externship hours are site specific and may require attendance any day of the week, including during unscheduled days and times.

The Ophthalmic Medical Assistant program serves as a pathway to excellent job opportunities and a lifelong and challenging career with the future opportunity of becoming a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA).

What You'll Learn

This pathway map will help you gain the expertise needed to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency of various ophthalmic medical equipment and procedures in a clinical setting, including assessment, measurement, and testing.
  2. Demonstrate leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, and interpersonal communication skills.
  3. Exercise HIPAA standards and regulations, interacting in a professional manner with diverse patients and the health care team in a clinical setting.
  4. Perform various scribing duties in a clinical setting at an exceptional level of expertise.
  5. Demonstrate effective patient transferring techniques utilizing various types of specialized equipment in the classroom.
Career Opportunities

Successful completion of this certificate may lead to employment in a variety of different occupations and industries. Below are examples of related occupations with associated Arizona-based annual median wages* for this program. Education requirements vary for the occupations listed below, so you may need further education or degrees in order to qualify for some of these jobs and earn the related salaries. Please visit with an academic advisor and/or program director for additional information.

* Wage information sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program. Updated May 2019.
Admission Criteria

1. 18 years of age to enroll

2. High school diploma or GED

3. Arizona Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card (DPS)

4. Proof of immunizations

5. Healthcare Level CPR Card

6. Healthcare signature form completed

7. MCCCD Supplemental Background Check

8. Accuplacer reading score of 74 or greater or Accuplacer next generation score of 249 or greater, or ACT reading score of 22 or greater, or high school GPA of 3.0 or higher (within the last 10 years), or GED reading score of 175 or higher, or successful completion of RDG100 or CRE101 with a grade of C or better.

9. Current and valid government-issued photo identification.

Course Sequence by Block

The following is the suggested course sequence by block. Please keep in mind:

  • Students should meet with a navigator to discuss their academic and career goals.
  • The course sequence is laid out by block and may be affected when students enter the program at different times of the year.
  • This is a cohort program in which students progress through their course of study together in the required course sequence.

Courses Sequence

Block 1

A sequence of suggested courses that should be taken during Block 1
Course Name Requisites Notes Clock Hours
ISP108B Keyboarding II 36
ISP116 Computer Foundations 24
OPH101 Introduction to Eye Care 54
OPH110 Ocular Medical Terminology Abbreviations & Disease Processes for Ophthalmic Medical Assistant 42
OPH112 Clinical Theory and Skills 171

Block 2

A sequence of suggested courses that should be taken during Block 2
Course Name Requisites Notes Clock Hours
OPH114 Basic Skills & Ocular Assessment Critical course 181
OPH190 Opthalmic Assisting Externship 120
Course Area Key

Critical Course = A course that is highly predictive of future success in a pathway.


Students must earn a grade of ‘P’ or ‘C’ or better (depending on the course grading scale) for all courses required within the program.

Weekly hour requirements vary by program. Students should meet with a navigator to discuss these requirements further. Actual completion times may vary. A separate $15 Registration Fee will be charged per academic year.

View MCCCD’s curriculum website for the Certificate of Competency in Ophthalmic Medical Assistant (

At Maricopa, we strive to provide you with accurate and current information about our degree and certificate offerings. Due to the dynamic nature of the curriculum process, course and program information is subject to change. As a result, the course list associated with this degree or certificate on this site does not represent a contract, nor does it guarantee course availability. If you are interested in pursuing this degree or certificate, we encourage you to meet with an advisor to discuss the requirements at your college for the appropriate catalog year.