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How to Become an Optometrist Assistant

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A career as an optometrist assistant can be very rewarding and can also provide a good income. If this is the career you are considering you will need a high school diploma. Previous experience as a nurse’s aide or assistant in a practitioners office will also be beneficial though not absolutely necessary.

An optometrist assistant is a medical assistant in the specialized field of optometry, this means you will be working along side an optometrist. An optometrist has a number of duties and responsibilities including:

  • Conducting conventional and specialist eye exams
  • Prescribing corrective glasses and contact lenses
  • Diagnosing and treating eye diseases
  • Conducting vision therapies
  • Referring patients to an ophthalmologist if surgery is required
  • An optometrist assistant works in the optometrist’s office. The roles and responsibilities of an optometrist assistant include;
  • Answering phone calls
  • Making appointments for clients
  • Dealing with book keeping and other administrative tasks
  • Ordering optical products
  • Cleaning and setting up equipment
  • Preparing examination rooms
  • Testing eye functions
  • Explaining the examination procedure to clients
  • Recording and measuring vision
  • Conducting diagnostic tests
  • Assisting in eye examinations
  • Helping clients choose frames and lenses
  • Instructing patients on how to care for contact lenses

In order to become an optometrist assistant you will need at least a GED then you will need to enroll at a community college and take a one or two year program in medical assistant training. This will greatly improve your chances of obtaining a job as an optometry assistant because you will learn the following skills;

  • Medical billing
  • Book keeping
  • Medical office procedures
  • Medical ethics
  • Medical office software
  • Insurance coding

You should also have the following personal skills as an optometrist assistant;

  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Patience
  • Organizational skills
  • Punctuality
  • Good telephone skills
  • Multi-tasking skills

An optometrist assistant should expect to work in a clean, well lighted and heated environment with pleasant surroundings. The work is not physically rigorous though there will be some time spent standing and bending. The usual work week is 40 hours. Sometimes there may be extra hours available on Saturdays or during the evenings.

The employment outlook for an optometrist assistant currently looks good and the field is continuing to grow. Average annual income for an optometry assistant is $25,000. Qualified optometrist assistants who are looking for employment should try applying to;

  • Optometrist practices
  • Ophthalmology clinics
  • Health organizations
  • Job services
  • Local Newspapers
  • Medical practitioners

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