Ophthalmic Medical Assistant

The human eye is a fascinating and sensitive organ. Several subspecialists help care for the eye, and our Ophthalmic Medical Assistant program will help you move freely between them all. As an essential member of the ophthalmic health care team, you will assist in the effort to prevent, detect, diagnose, and manage conditions that can interfere with one of our most precious senses: sight. The Ophthalmic Medical Assistant program serves as a pathway to an excellent job with lifelong opportunities and continuing education.

In this program, you will be taught the skills and knowledge needed to work efficiently in a clinical setting and side by side with an ophthalmologist, or in an administrative role. You will have direct exposure to the industry with our 24-hour shadowing program, 120-hour externship, field trips, guest speakers, and a cow eye dissection led by our medical director. The Ophthalmic Medical Assistant program prepares you for certification as a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) through the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO), which is recognized internationally.

Take the first step in your career as an ophthalmic medical assistant. Start your journey today.

Students at any Maricopa Community College may need to complete courses at more than one of our colleges.

Fast Track Certificate, which can be completed in two semesters or less.

GateWay Community College is the only college to offer the Ophthalmic Medical Assisting program in Maricopa County Colleges. It is considered a clock hour certificate program, which are training programs that provide skills for quick entry into the workforce. The clock-hour programs have specific year-round start dates.

Externship Site Placement

Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the externship site. Students must be able to attend any of the clinical facilities used by the SWSC Programs. Students eligible for externship placement are assigned to various healthcare agencies and will be supervised by a site preceptor. 

The Ophthalmic Department will decide on student placement at each clinical facility. Students will be placed within the valley based on availability and once placed, the externship location cannot be switched.

Program Cost Estimate*

Certificate of Competency in Ophthalmic Medical Assisting:  $2,052  |  360 hours/4 months

*Months based on 24 hours a week/4 weeks a month. Actual completion times may vary. Costs include tuition, lab and estimated book fees. Amount based on current estimates and will vary. A separate $15 Registration Fee will be charged per academic year.