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Program Trains for Ophthalmic Assistant Careers

Submitted by on December 17, 2012 – 3:01 pm
NECC will launch a new ophthalmic assistant program in Fall 2013

NECC will launch a new ophthalmic assistant program in Fall 2013

After conferring with the offices of area ophthalmologists, surgeons who specialize in eye care, Northern Essex Community College saw a need and created an ophthalmic assistant certificate program through its iHealth@NECC program on the Lawrence campus.


This nine-month program will be offered beginning in the fall of 2013.

“We are very excited about the start of this new iHealth certificate program for fall 2013,” says Nancy Garcia, assistant dean, Health Professions, director, iHealth@NECC . “This program will provide our NECC students with the choice of another healthcare career that will provide them with job opportunities within various ophthalmic settings. Our local area ophthalmic groups are very supportive of this program and are excited about its start.”

Ophthalmic assistants gather medical histories, conduct vision tests, coordinate patient schedules, and assist eye doctors with various procedural and clerical duties. They work in a variety of health care settings including ophthalmologist’s offices, hospitals, and clinics.

This certificate is ideal for those with an interest in health care who have strong interpersonal skills, are detailed oriented, and like to work as part of a team. The program integrates classroom theory, laboratory experience, and clinical practice to prepare students for employment in an ophthalmic clinical setting.

According to the board of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of ophthalmic assistants is expected to grow by 31 percent through 2020.

The program was designed to meet the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel (CoA-OMP) standards and guidelines. Per accreditation standards students must complete a minimum of 80 hours of course work and 480 hours of supervised, full-time clinical experience.

Students enrolled in the Ophthalmic Assistant Program complete most of their course work in online courses and come to the iHealth@NECC facility on the Lawrence campus once or twice a week for in-class meetings and laboratory sessions.

Northern Essex offers a number of certificate and associate degree health programs including nursing, radiologic technology, paramedic technology, respiratory care, computed tomography, dental assisting, medical assistant, medical coding, medical billing, medical office assistant, and sleep technology. For a complete list of health programs go to
For additional information on the ophthalmic assistant certificate contact Nancy Garcia, assistant dean, Health Professions, director, iHealth@NECC at or call 978-738-7493.