SCEI LogoHollywood Presbyterian Hospital Logo (CHA)


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 or (833)270-3937.

Description of the Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP)

The Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP) at the Southern California Eye Institute is one of only 14 programs nationally, and the only one in California that prepares individuals to become Certified Ophthalmic Technicians (For more information on certification through the Joint Commission of Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO), please click here. The 21-month OTEP program integrates academic coursework, technical skills, and clinical training in preparation for a career as an ophthalmic technician. Through a series of courses, students learn the structure and function of the visual system, master a broad range of diagnostic tests and procedures, administer to and educate patients, and become essential members of eye care teams. Clinical rotations at the Southern California Eye Institute and its affiliated health centers offer students supervised real-world experience in the testing, diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions.

OTEP Program COVID-19 Updates

Southern California Eye Institute would like to acknowledge that we are in the middle of an unprecedented time that has been a challenge for many of us. The health and safety of our staff and students is of the utmost importance. As such, we have made modifications to ensure everyone's safety, while also accommodating changes to schedules and home life.

Key updates include:

  • The application fee has been waived.
  • All tuition and fees have been waived for the first semester of classes, with a reduced tuition amount of $2,300/semester for subsequent semesters.
  • All classes will be offered online on Monday evenings from 6pm - 8:45pm and Wednesday evenings from 6pm - 9pm.

OTEP students practice professional and technical skills through a series of clinical rotations. Students are required to spend 12 hours a week in clinical rotations, but the scheduling of clinic time is flexible, offering students the flexibility to work part-time while enrolled in OTEP if they desire. Small class sizes assure personal attention and the opportunity to practice developing skills under close supervision. This training prepares graduates for positions in a variety of settings including private practice offices, hospitals, and community based clinics.

OTEP Course Information

OTEP courses will be offered using Canvas, the Learning Management System and BigBlueButton for web conferencing. Students are highly encouraged to attend and participate in all online courses. Lectures will be recorded and made available to students one day after their online presentation.

The following courses will be offered during the 1st semester:

  • OTEP 101 History Taking (HT)
  • OTEP 102 Medical Ethics, Legal, and Regulatory Issues (MELRI)
  • OTEP 103 Ocular and General Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology (APP)
  • OTEP 104 Visual Assessment (VA)
 1st Semester Course Schedule
OTEP 101 HTMonday6:00 to 7:30pm
OTEP 103 EthicsMonday7:45 to 8:45pm
OTEP 104 APPWednesday6:00 to 7:30pm
OTEP 102 VAWednesday7:45 to 9:00pm

Homework, quizzes, and tests are mandatory for each course and must be completed and submitted by set deadlines.

To remain in good academic standing, a student must maintain a minimum grade of C (70%) in every class and receive a passing grade in all clinical rotations. A student who has not achieved the minimum academic standards will be placed on academic probation. While on academic probation, the student should take appropriate steps to ensure academic success. Good academic standing may be restored if, after a predetermined length of time, the student’s grades and/or clinical training attain an acceptable level.

OTEP Curriculum

CourseCourse Title
OTEP 101History Taking
OTEP 102Visual Assessment
OTEP 103Medical Ethics, Legal, and Regulatory Issues
OTEP 104Ocular and General Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology
OTEP 105Visual Fields
OTEP 106Supplemental Skills A
OTEP 107Lensometry and Optical Dispensing
OTEP 108Optics
OTEP 109Pharmacology
OTEP 110Supplemental Skills B
OTEP 111Refractometry
OTEP 112Ophthalmic Imaging
OTEP 113Tonometry
OTEP 114Microbiology
OTEP 115Contact Lenses/Keratometry
OTEP 116Pupillary Assessment
OTEP 117Ocular Motility
OTEP 118Surgical Assisting

Clinical rotations begin during the second semester. There will be 10 clinical rotations in total, eight weeks each.

Ophthalmic Technician Occupational Employment and Wages in California and select metropolitan areas, May 2015 (from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

AreaEmploymentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division930$21.13$43,940
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA550$17.43$35,810
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Metropolitan Division190$27.73$57,680
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA40$21.96$45,680
Fresno, CA360$17.67$36,760

Program Cost

Tuition is free for the first semester and $2,300/semester for semesters 2 through 5, for a total program cost of $9,200. Students may apply for scholarships toward the end of their first semester.

To Apply to OTEP

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

The Southern California Eye Institute
Attention: OTEP Director
1300 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Upon receipt and review of all application materials, an admissions committee with invite qualified candidates for in-person interviews at the Southern California Eye Institute.

IJCAHPO Certification

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 or (833)270-3937.

OTEP is supported by funding from the Fox Family Foundation and Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Academic scholarships available to eligible students who maintain good standing.