Start by learning what it takes to keep eyes healthy. Then put it into practice – working with doctors and patients.
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Ophthalmic Assistant
Program Number: 905161CERT
Your Degree:
Area of Study:
Health Sciences
Delivery Method:
100% In Person
Estimated Time to Complete:
29 Credits | Finish in 1.5 years
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  • Program Overview

    Madison College's Ophthalmic Assistant Certificate expands on the Optometric Technician Program curriculum. 

    The Ophthalmic Assistant certificate may be completed in two semesters of full-time study, plus an additional four-week clinical experience.

    The clinical experience is an important part of the certificate training. In this portion of the training, you will refine the skills you learned by working directly with doctors and patients during an four-week summer clinical session. 

    Please note that after acceptance to the program, you will be required to complete a background check, provide documentation of current required-immunizations and current Healthcare Provider CPR certification. Further information about these requirements will be shared at program orientation.

    Wisconsin law requires background checks for persons who provide care for others or have access to people who receive care. This law applies to students in many School of Health Sciences programs. Please review the Caregiver Background Check information on the School of Health Sciences Forms and Policies.

    Program Details

    Students in the Ophthalmic Assistant Certificate must attend full time. 

    Ophthalmic Assistant Certificate classes is offered at the Truax Campus.


    As of September 2023, the website indicates the annual salary range for Certified Ophthalmic Assistants (COA) in the Madison area is $45,162 - $59,083 with the median salary at $51,715.

    Earning the Ophthalmic Assistant certificate at MATC prepares you to work under the supervision of an ophthalmologist.

    MATC's Ophthalmic Assistant certificate is accredited by the International Council of Accreditation.

  • Curriculum and Experience

    Prospective program students, the information below reflects the basic requirements for students admitted for the 2024-2025 academic year. To learn more about Madison College, visit us.

    Current and newly admitted program students, go directly to your Degree Progress Report to view:

    • Progress toward your specific requirements
    • Alternative (in lieu of) courses to meet specific requirements

    If you have questions after reviewing your degree progress report (advisement report), please see Advising Services.

    First Semester
    3 credits
    3 credits
    3 credits
    2 credits
    Second Semester
    2 credits
    2 credits
    3 credits
    3 credits
    2 credits
    2 credits
    3 credits
  • Admission

    To Apply

    Earning a certificate is a great way to expand your skill set, and it adds professionalism to a resume. This certificate only admits for the spring term. To apply, proceed to the online application.

    International students who wish to apply for, maintain, or transfer their F-1 student visa status to Madison College are required to complete the International Admission Process.

    Application Dates

    Spring 2025

    • Application available on September 15, 2024
    • Application completion deadline is February 1, 2025

    Admission Requirements

    Applicants must be in the second semester of the in-person (not online) Madison College Optometric Technician program. 

    Admissions will review applications to confirm enrollment in second semester classes. If you are not currently in the program, please contact the program director.

    Additional Notes

    • Certificate programs are not eligible for financial aid
    • Class capacity is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis
    • This certificate fills on a first-come, first-served basis; once capacity has been reached, it does not maintain a waitlist
    • Students who have already completed the certificate coursework at the time of application will receive the certificate diploma at the end of the term of application

    After Acceptance

    Once you are admitted into your program, review the Start of Semester Checklist to prepare for your first day of classes at Madison College. 


    Contact the Enrollment Center at or 608.246.6210.  

    apply for admission

    Get Started!

    Apply to Madison College and take the first step towards your Ophthalmic Assistant career.

    It's Free to Apply

  • Career Outcomes

    An ophthalmic assistant works under the supervision of an ophthalmologist.

    The program at Madison College, instructors train students to work in eye care, emphasizing the unique duties required of an ophthalmic assistant to provide quality vision care services to patients.

    An important part of the curriculum is the clinical experience portion, in which you will work directly with doctors and patients.

    Technical training includes:

    • Patient pre-testing skills such as visual acuity, measuring eye pressure, muscle movement and pupillary assessment
    • Operating ophthalmic equipment such as phoropters, ophthalmic imaging instruments, ultrasonography, visual field testing, tonometers and lensometers
    • Assisting in ophthalmic surgery
    • Ocular anatomy and physiology
    • Ophthalmic terminology and pharmacology
    • Contact lens patient education
    • Visual training and practice management
    • Equipment maintenance and repair

    After completing the Ophthalmic Assistant certificate at Madison Area Technical College, you will be prepared to:

    • Perform anatomical and functional measurements of the eye such as corneal thickness (pachymetry) and length of the eye (A-scan).
    • Assist in minor surgical procedures.
    • Care for, maintain and sterilize surgical instruments.
    • Take a complex medical history.
    • Assess the effects of systemic diseases.
Ready to get started?
Your first step is to apply to Madison College. It's easy and free to apply, so get started today!
Contact the School of Health Sciences

Madison Truax Campus
Health Building, 103

1705 Hoffman Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53704


  • Monday – Thursday: 8 am - 4 pm
  • Friday: 8 am - 12 pm (Help by phone or email)