Ophthalmology Assistants

Start a new career in eye care as a certified ophthalmology assistant.

Certified ophthalmology assistants (COA) aid ophthalmologists, retinal specialists and other related eye care professionals in an office or clinical setting. Certified ophthalmology assistants document patients’ medical history, perform pupil assessments and visual acuity measurements, administer some medications and provide patient education. 

This is a high-demand, entry-level occupation with national certification increasing job opportunities and salary. COAs may continue training to become ophthalmology technicians or ophthalmology technologists. 

National certification exams are also available for higher level eye care professions.

Length and Cost of Training

This 256-hour program can typically be completed in two to three semesters by attending day or evening courses. Tuition is approximately $2,304. Textbooks, scrubs, criminal background check and drug screen, as well as liability insurance co-pay of approximately $11.70, are also required.

Accreditation and Certification

The Richland College Certified Ophthalmology Assistant Program is accredited by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO). Students who complete this program are eligible to sit for the Certified Ophthalmology Assistant (COA) national certification exam.

Requirements for Enrollment

  • Proof of high school graduation or GED
  • Proof of age (driver’s license, state issued identification or passport)
  • Prospective non-native English speaking students must possess 12th-grade-level English language skills
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States
  • Must provide documentation or pass assessment demonstrating computer skills (e.g., Windows, Word or transcripted computer class)

HB 1508 Notice

This program may lead to an occupational license for which a prior criminal history may make a student ineligible. For more information please visit dcccd.edu/hb1508.

View Class ScheduleEnroll Now


Looking to earn more? A career as an ophthalmology assistant can start you on the path to a great career in health care.