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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 Education Program (OTEP) at the Southern California Eye Institute has been awarded Initial Approval by the International Council of Accreditation, is one of only 13 programs nationally, and the only one in California that prepares individuals to become Ophthalmic Technicians. The one-year 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 students practice professional and technical skills through a series of clinical rotations. Students are required to spend approximately 15 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 didactic courses are offered online. 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 2015 (from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Area Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
California 4,120 $19.60 $40,760
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 930 $21.13 $43,940
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 550 $17.43 $35,810
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Metropolitan Division 190 $27.73 $57,680
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 40 $21.96 $45,680
Fresno, CA 360 $17.67 $36,760

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.

Important Dates

Program dates: July 5, 2023 - June 28, 2024
Winter break: December 22, 2023 - January 8, 2024
Application deadline: May 19, 2023

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

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

OTEP is supported by funding from the Fox Family Foundation.