Posted by: juliegriffey | July 17, 2011

What is an ophthalmic medical technologist ?

examThis weekend at my new sister-in-law’s bridal luncheon I was seated at a table with a dozen women I had never met in my life. The woman to my right (who dated the bride’s brother) and I made small talk over appetizers and bloody marys.  I asked her what she did for a living and she explained she worked as an ophthalmic medical technologist.  What? I said, you mean an optometrist? No. An optician? No. An ophthalmic medical technologist.  I had never heard of that before.

She explained that an ophthalmic medical technologist is trained to work specifically with an ophthalmologist, not an optometrist.  They work directly with patients, testing their vision and collecting medical history to make the ophthalmologist’s time with patients more efficient.  My lunch companion described her occupation as “sort of like being a nurse practitioner.”

An ophthalmic medical technologist is not an entry-level job.  Generally it is a position an employee is promoted in to after years of working in an ophthalmology practice.  There are, however, some (typically two-year) degree programs that prepare you specifically for this type of position and different types of certifications. Salaries range from $30 – $70 K.  For some  ophthalmic medical technologists, the position is a stepping stone, as they might return to school to become an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Over a course of soup, when she finished telling me about her job, I remarked – “well  you must have heard of Amcon, then.”  Ummm… no.  I guess that’s fair – I had never heard of her job and she had never heard of my company.  I”ll send her a catalog.


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