Optometric Assistant Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an optometric assistant. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an optometric assistant.
Who is an Optometric Assistant?
An optometric assistant is a medical professional who assists an optometrist or optician in providing eye treatment to their patients.
They guarantee that patients from all socioeconomic groups receive excellent, and easily accessible vision care.
Optometric assistants execute several administrative tasks, including taking inventory and putting patient data into databases, in addition to helping optometrists assess patients’ vision.
As an Optometric assistant, you must be well organized, pay close attention to detail all the time, be able to multitask, as well as have good interpersonal skills.
Optometric Assistant Job Description
Below are the optometric assistant job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. The employer can use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The following are some examples of an optometric assistant’s duties and responsibilities:
- Preparing patients for exams, explaining test methods, and encouraging cooperation throughout testing.
- Aiding customers with appointment scheduling or cancellation.
- Changing and fixing glasses, as well as customizing contact lenses.
- Verifying patient insurance benefits and submitting insurance claims.
- Organizing insurance claim payments or other financial transactions related to patient visits.
- Collaborating with optical companies on errors, incorrect billing, and overdue orders.
- Supervising, instructing, and evaluating additional newly hired optometric assistants.
- Implementing a patient’s treatment plan as directed by their optometrist.
- Ordering prescription eyewear, contact lenses, and other eyecare supplies for patients.
- Taking stock of the tools and equipment used in eye care.
- Maintaining a clean atmosphere for all patients in the examination rooms.
- Setting up equipment for examination such as calibration of instruments, sterilizing equipment, and arranging equipment for each patient.
- Helping optometrists record and input patient diagnoses or vision data.
- Administering the eye drops or creams that the patient’s doctor has advised.
- Ensuring the instruction of patients on how to transition from glasses to contact lenses.
- Assessing the general health of patients, which may involve taking their blood pressure and heart rate.
- Measuring changes in patients’ vision by testing their visual acuity.
- Ensuring the transcription of test results into printed reports or computerized medical data.
- Providing and maintaining the supply of eyewear, contacts, and accessories.
- Contacting patients by phone or email to check on how they’re adjusting to contact lenses or new prescriptions for glasses.
- Gathering patients’ medical histories, and keeping them in the appropriate places.
- Assembling a collection of eyewear and guiding clients in determining which brands their insurance would cover.
- Measuring the patient’s head to fit caps or helmets.
- Scheduling follow-up visits with patients who need extra attention or observation.
- Fulfilling any other responsibilities the optometrist may give you.
The qualifications of an optometric assistant include the following:
- A high school diploma or its equivalent.
- An associate’s degree in medical assistance.
- Evidence of accreditation as an optical assistant.
- Good knowledge of visual science and optics.
- Ability to utilize delicate tools and materials.
- The ability to carry out diagnostic procedures.
- Understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the eye.
- Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication abilities.
- Exceptional customer service.
- High attention to detail.
- The ability to multitask.
- Working proficiency with optical apps and tools.
Optometrist assistants must have the following skills to perform their duties and responsibilities efficiently:
- Communication Skill:
Being a good communicator is essential for an optometrist assistant because it will enable you to convey directions and data from your employer. Moreso, you need communication skills when talking with patients to convey appropriate information when doing eye exams. For instance, if a patient has astigmatism, you might explain what it is and how the doctor can treat it.
- Customer service Skil:
Optometry assistants should have outstanding customer service skills to make each patient feel valued, and at ease. Optometry assistants support the clinic’s success by retaining and attracting new clients with top-notch client care.
Optometrist assistants should be able to understand and feel another person’s feelings. As an optometric assistant, you may have to deal with clients who are frightened or nervous about having their eyes tested. The ability to understand their feelings and put them at ease is essential to the job.
- Refraction Skill:
Optometric assistants should be familiar with the process used to figure out a patient’s contact lens or eyeglass prescription. This involves evaluating the condition of the eyes and identifying any visual issues that might require corrective lenses. You must learn refractions during your training because optometrists regularly assign this work to their assistants.
- Interpersonal Skills:
An optometrist assistant who is able to communicate with and comprehends other people’s feelings remains relevant in this industry. Interpersonal skill is a crucial ability for optometrist assistants since they interact frequently with patients, some of whom could be frightened or enthusiastic about their eye exams.
- Lensometry Skill:
The science of measuring and determining the appropriate prescription for eyeglasses is known as Lensometry. This skill involves accuracy, as well as knowledge of the lens production process and the dimensions needed to guarantee a perfect fit. Understanding the ideal frame designs for various prescriptions is a requirement for practicing lensometry.
- Organization Skill:
The optometry assistant arranges patient files, bills, and other significant paperwork at an optometry clinic in either a physical or digital filing system. The clinic’s ability to keep things well organized affects both the efficiency of the entire operation and the speed at which patient data may be retrieved.
- Scheduling Expertise:
One of the most important aspects of an optometric assistant’s job is keeping an eye on and changing appointment schedules to accommodate patient demands. When optometrist assistants are proficient in using scheduling software and maintaining up-to-date data, mishaps like double-booking appointments and other problems can be avoided.
- Attention to detail:
You can perform your job responsibilities more accurately if you pay attention to detail. As an optometric assistant, you can be in charge of entering patient information into a computer system, insurance information into a scheduling application, and other clerical duties. Having attention to detail can help you perform these tasks accurately and efficiently.
As an optometric assistant, you need patience when working with patients who have vision problems. A patient can take their time answering your inquiries or they might be worried about the prognosis. You can show patience by paying close attention while reassuring them that everything will be fine.
If you want to work as an optometric assistant, you may need to be flexible with your schedule and working hours. You could also need to alter your plan of action if a doctor is ill or requires a day off. Rapid change might assist you in keeping a good mindset and the workplace running smoothly.
- Inventory Management:
Inventory management, which ensures that the workplaces’ stock levels of items like eyeglass holders, contact lens cases, sanitary paper, saline solution, and other things are maintained, is a crucial part of an optometric assistant’s job.
- Medical knowledge:
Medical expertise is another trait that may be helpful in this position. You can assist the optometrist in their job by using your medical knowledge to explain medical issues to patients or assist with the completion of medical forms.
- Frame Selection:
When aiding patients in selecting the best frames for their prescription needs, optometrist assistants apply the skill of frame selection. Knowing the various frame options available, their respective pricing, and which frames would fit the patient’s facial shape the most comfortably are required for this. If a patient has an oval-shaped face, for example, they might choose rectangular frames over round ones since they can help them look more proportional.
- Visual Acuity Checkup
Visual acuity is the ability to distinguish little details. Working as an optometric assistant may need you to read every word in small print or distinguish objects from a distance. You can work securely and effectively if you have good vision. As you read, you can exercise this ability.
- Technical skills:
Optometric assistants employ their technical skills to do duties like setting up and sterilizing equipment, adjusting and aligning lenses, and putting on contact lenses. They also discover and handle safety concerns and troubleshoot hardware and software issues using their technical expertise.
Optometric assistants commonly work with optometrists and other medical professionals to provide patients with the best treatment possible. The ability to communicate and work well in a team are prerequisites for collaboration.
How to Become an Optometric Assistant
An excellent place to start if you want to pursue a career in optometry is as an optometric assistant. To become an assistant in optometry, follow these instructions:
- Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma
The minimal education requirement to work as an optometric assistant is a high school diploma.
To enroll in an optometric assistant training program, you must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Biology, nutrition, anatomy, and physiology are useful high school electives.
You’ll probably need to finish on-the-job training if you have a high school diploma.
- Step 2: Consider Earning an Associate’s Degree
A two-year associate’s degree program in medical assisting could help you advance your career as an optometric assistant. This program’s potential course topics include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, patient care, and medical coding.
- Step 3: Complete an Optometric Assistant Training Program
The next step in becoming an optometric assistant is to complete a training course. The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and the American Association of Colleges of Ophthalmic Nurses (AACN) collaborated to develop the Standardized Educational Program for those pursuing this career path, which provides students with the knowledge and abilities required to work as an optometric assistant.
This two-year training program includes courses in patient care, laboratory procedures, optics, visual function and perception, medical terminology, office management, and interpersonal communication. These subjects are covered in both classroom and hands-on training at an optometry office or clinic.
- Step 4: Become Certified through the American Optometric Association (AOA)
The AOA will certify an optometric assistant if they successfully complete a training course approved by the association and pass an exam. Enrolling in an AOA-approved course of study is the first step toward certification. These courses are typically offered at colleges, universities, or technical schools and last between 18 and 36 months.
After completing the course, you will take the test. Another requirement for taking this exam is that you be 18 years old or older. If you pass, the AOA will issue you a certificate of qualification.
- Step 5: Gain Experience Working in an Optometry Office
Working in an optometry office after you finish your training will provide you with valuable experience. Many optometric assistant programs allow students to complete coursework while working in an optometry office. Because of this practical experience, you can apply what you’ve learned in the real world and expand your network of industry professionals.
- Step 6: Stay up to date on Changes in the Optometry Industry
Because the optometry industry is constantly changing, you should make it a point to stay up to date on the latest developments. There is no doubt that new legislation will require all optometric assistants to complete additional training before working in an optometry office.
If you stay informed about these changes, your skills and credentials will always be up to date. Furthermore, it ensures that you are providing the best possible care to your patients.
- Step 7: Maintain your Certification by Completing Continuing Education Requirements
According to the AOA, all optometric assistants must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education each year. You can ensure that you are always up to date on the most recent advancements in your field, are familiar with new tools and technology, and are knowledgeable about emerging trends and academic research in the field of optometry by doing so.
Where to Work as an Optometric Assistant
Optometric assistants can work for the government, as well as clinics, hospitals, and laboratories. An optometric assistant may be hired by a private manufacturer of optical instruments. Working in technical, collegiate, and community settings allows them to educate the next generation. They spend a significant amount of time in the eye doctor’s office and examination rooms.
Optometric assistants may be required to work a full 40-hour week. They may be required to work weekends or shifts that end late on occasion.
The optical assistant may be required to travel to other offices or optical conferences.
Optometric Assistant Salary Scale
According to Indeed.com, the average annual salary for an optometric assistant is $33,848. However, the average pay for this position may vary depending on your location, employment situation, level of education, and years of experience.