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The delivery of quality healthcare is the responsibility of a team of professionals working in concert with patients and their families. In response to this dynamic, the Southern California Eye Institute has established the Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP) with the mission to prepare highly skilled allied health professionals committed to serving the eye care needs of individuals of all ages. Ophthalmic Technicians conduct various tests and procedures that inform ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision conditions.

Ophthalmic technicians work closely with patients and their families to help them understand their vision conditions and assure compliance with treatment protocols. OTEP students have the unique opportunity to pair their coursework with clinical experience. If you are interested in healthcare, enjoy working as a member of a professional team, and want to have a positive impact on quality of life issues, you should consider becoming an ophthalmic technician. For any questions regarding the OTEP program, please contact OTEP Coordinator, Dr. Carlos Lastra Gonzalez, at

Description of the Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP)

The Ophthalmic Technician Training Program at the Southern California Eye Institute is a 12-month educational and workforce training program that prepares ophthalmic medical personnel to assist ophthalmologists in the prevention, detection, and treatment of vision impairments. The comprehensive curriculum integrates core academic knowledge with supervised clinical training to provide graduates with a pathway to a career as certified ophthalmic technicians. As part of OTEPs commitment to fostering well-rounded professionals, students participate in outreach activities whereby the broader public is informed about eye health issues and OTEP students gain further practice in technical, interpersonal and communication skills.

OTEP is a non-degree program that awards graduates a Certificate of Completion by the Southern California Eye Institute. As part of our dedication to maintaining the highest standards of training, OTEP is in the process of accreditation by the International Council of Accreditation* (ICA). Graduates interested in becoming certified ophthalmic technicians (COT) must pass examinations offered by the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO). For more information about ICA and IJCAHPO please visit the respective websites: and

*International Council of Accreditation 2025 Woodward Dr., St. Paul, MN 55125 Tel (651) 731-0410

OTEP Course Information

OTEP didactic courses are offered online on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 PM to 8PM. Lectures are augmented with simulations and activities that allow students to become familiar with and learn how to perform ophthalmic procedures and tests expected of ophthalmic technicians. This practice builds confidence so that students are more comfortable working in a clinical setting.

Lectures will be recorded and made available to students one day after their online presentation.

OTEP Curriculum

Course Course Title
Module 1 Ocular Anatomy and Physiology
Module 2 Visual Assessment
Module 3 Lensometry
Module 4 Keratometry and Contact Lenses
Module 5 Refraction and Optics
Module 6 Ocular Motility
Module 7 Pupillary Assessment
Module 8 Visual Fields
Module 9 Glaucoma and Tonometry
Module 10 Microbiology
Module 11 Pharmacology
Module 12 General Medical Knowledge
Module 13 Ocular Pathologies
Module 14 Ophthalmic Imaging
Module 15 History Taking
Module 16 Supplemental Skills
Module 17 Surgical Assisting
Module 18 Medical Ethics, Legal, and Regulatory Issues

Clinical Training

Students will be required to complete a total of 750 clinical training hours under the supervision of a preceptor to graduate from the program. This works out to be approximately 15 hours of clinic training per week for the one-year course. The scheduling of clinic training hours is flexible.

Ophthalmic Technician Occupational Employment and Wages in California and select metropolitan areas, May 2022 (from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Area Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
California $22.31 $46,400
Bakersfield $18.00 $37,440
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division $22.88 $47,580
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA $22.33 $46,450
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Metropolitan Division $28.26 $58,770
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $22.98 $47,800
Fresno, CA $19.07 $39,660

Program Cost

Please contact OTEP at for information on tuition costs. Upon acceptance into the program, a $350.00 non-refundable deposit must be made to secure your position. This fee will be applied towards tuition.

Graduation Requirements

OTEP is an educational and workforce training program that prepares highly skilled and compassionate ophthalmic technicians to become key members of the eyecare team. To successfully complete the program and graduate from OTEP, students must:

  1. Achieve a minimum of 70 % in all OTEP didactic courses
  2. Attend a minimum of 80% of each online course sessions
  3. Achieve a passing grade in all clinical rotations
  4. Complete 750 hours of supervised clinical training
  5. Participate in 5 hours of community outreach activities
  6. Abide by OTEP’s Code of Professional Conduct

Students who meet the above requirements will be awarded a Certificate of Completion by the Southern California Eye Institute.

Important Dates

Program dates: July 8, 2024 - June 27, 2025
Winter break: December 20, 2024 - January 10, 2025
Application deadline: May 31, 2024

To Apply to OTEP

Print out an application from the link below, read instructions carefully, complete all sections, sign and date. Application materials must be sent electronically to

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Upon receipt and review of all application materials, an admissions committee will invite qualified candidates for virtual interviews.

IJCAHPO Certification

OTEP is a non-degree program that awards Certificates of Completion by the Southern California Eye Institute upon successful completion of the 12-month program. Successful completion of all required IJCAHPO examinations is required to achieve certification at the ophthalmic technician level.

For more information about the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology Certification (JCAHPO), please visit

For any questions regarding the OTEP program, please contact OTEP Coordinator, Dr. Carlos Lastra Gonzalez, at

The Ophthalmic Technician Education Program at the Southern California Eye Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disabilities in its admission policies.