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Ophthalmic Technician Education Program

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Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP)

usc-researchMore than ever, the delivery of quality healthcare is the responsibility of a team of professionals working in concert with patients and their families. In response to this dynamic, the USC Roski Eye Institute has established the Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP) with the mission to prepare highly skilled allied health professionals committed to serving the eye care needs of individuals of all ages. Certified Ophthalmic Technicians conduct various tests and procedures that inform ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision conditions.

Ophthalmic technicians work closely with patients and their families to help them understand their vision conditions and assure compliance with treatment protocols. If you are interested in healthcare, enjoy working as a member of a professional team, and want to have a positive impact on quality of life issues, you should consider becoming a certified ophthalmic technician.

Description of the Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP)

The Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP) at the USC Roski Eye Institute is one of only 14 programs nationally, and the only one in California that prepares individuals to become Certified Ophthalmic Technicians (COT). The 21-month OTEP program integrates academic coursework, technical skills, and clinical training in preparation for a career as an ophthalmic technician. Through a series of courses, students learn the structure and function of the visual system, master a broad range of diagnostic tests and procedures, administer to and educate patients, and become essential members of eye care teams. Clinical rotations at the USC Roski Eye Institute and its affiliated health centers offer students supervised real-world experience in the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions. Successful completion of the OTEP program requires that students take the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) examination. A passing grade on the JCAHPO exam confers national certification at the ophthalmic technician level (COT).

laser-vision-correctionClasses are scheduled Mondays and Wednesdays beginning at 8:00 AM and ending at noon. In addition to taking classes, OTEP students practice professional and technical skills through a series of clinical rotations. Students are required to spend 12 hours a week in clinical rotations, but the scheduling of clinic time is flexible, offering students the flexibility to work part-time while enrolled in OTEP if they desire. Small class sizes assures personal attention and the opportunity to practice developing skills under close supervision. Students learn from and interact with ophthalmologists and ophthalmic technicians at one of the top 10 ophthalmic departments in the nation. Clinical rotations through facilities at the USC Roski Eye Institute, LAC+USC Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles afford students the opportunity to see a broad range of eye diseases across the entire age-spectrum. This training prepares graduates for positions in a variety of settings including private practice offices, hospitals, and community based clinics.

OTEP Calendar

Semester Date
Spring 2017 January 9 – May 5, 2017
Summer 2017 May 8 – August 25, 2017
Fall 2017 August 28 – December 15, 2017
Spring 2018 January 8 – May 4, 2018
Summer 2018 May 7 – August 24, 2018

OTEP Curriculum

Semester Course Course Title Day Time


1 History Taking M 8am – 10am
2 Visual Assessment M 10am – 12pm
3 Medical Ethics, Legal, and Regulatory Issues W 8am – 10am
4 Ocular and General Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology W 10am – 12pm


5 Visual Fields M 8am – 10am
6 Supplemental Skills A M 10am – 12pm
7 Lensometry and Optical Dispensing W 8am – 10am
8 Optics W 10am – 12pm
3 9 Pharmacology M 8am – 10am
10 Supplemental Skills B M 10am – 12pm
11 Refractometry W 8am – 10am
12 Ophthalmic Imaging W 10am – 12pm
13 Tonometry M 8am – 10am
14 Microbiology M 10am – 12pm
15 Contact Lenses/Keratometry W 8am – 10am
16 Pupillary Assessment W 10am – 12pm
17 Ocular Motility M 8am – 10am
18 Surgical Assisting M 10am – 12pm
Semester Clinical Rotation Emphasis Topics Hours/Week
1 1 Patient Relations
Patient Relations
Visual Testing
2 2 Visual Fields Visual Fields

Supplemental Skills A
3 3 Refractometry Refractometry

Comprehensive Ophthalmology A
Supplemental Skills B
4 4 Tonometry Glaucoma/Tonometry

Comprehensive Ophthalmology B
5 5 Ophthalmic Imaging Ophthalmic Imaging

Surgical Assisting

Ophthalmic Technician Occupational Employment and Wages in California and select metropolitan areas, May 2015 (from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Area Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
California 4,120 $19.60 $40,760
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 930 $21.13 $43,940
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 550 $17.43 $35,810
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Metropolitan Division 190 $27.73 $57,680
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 40 $21.96 $45,680
Fresno, CA 360 $17.67 $36,760

Cost of Attendance

Direct Costs Year 1 (01/09/17 to 12/15/17 Year 2 (01/08/18 to 08/24/18
Tuition (includes books and scrubs) $10,500.00 $7,000.00
Health Center Fee*/** $588.00 N/A
Student Programming Fee* $128.00 $64.00
Student Services Fee* $42.00 $21.00
Topping Student Aid Fund* $16.00 $8.00

*Fees are subject to change. For up to date information on fees, please refer to the USC Schedule of Classes at https://classes.usc.edu/term-20171/tuition-and-fees/.

**The Student Health Service fee will be discontinued effective fall 2017.

All students must have comprehensive health insurance. The University offers the USC Student Health Insurance Plan which works in conjunction with the Engemann Student Health Center and Counseling Services. This plan has been carefully selected to cover all of our students’ healthcare needs. For details and current pricing please visit https://engemannshc.usc.edu/insurance/insurance-plan/. If you wish to opt out of the USC Student Health Insurance Plan, you may submit an online waiver request. Your comprehensive health insurance plan must meet the University’s general requirements. For information about these general requirements and the insurance waiver please visit https://engemannshc.usc.edu/insurance/waivers/.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit http://financialaid.usc.edu/general/special-programs/certificates/ophthalmictechnicianeducation/Gedt.html

Instructions for Applying to OTEP

Deadline to submit applications for admission to OTEP is November 30, 2016

Note: Acceptance into OTEP is on an open-enrollment basis and applications will be reviewed as they are received.
  1. Print out an application from the link below, read instructions carefully, complete all sections, sign and date. Completed applications may be E-mailed to reiotep@usceye.org or mailed to:

USC Roski Eye Institute
Attention: OTEP Director
1450 San Pablo Street, Room 3614
Los Angeles, CA 90033

  1. Provide 3 letters of recommendation using the Applicant Evaluation Form. Notify evaluators that the forms must be received by the USC Roski Eye Institute. Evaluators may mail the forms directly to the USC Roski Eye Institute or you may include sealed evaluation forms with you application. 




Evaluation Form


Financial Aid Info

If you have questions about OTEP, please email us at reiotep@usceye.org or call (323)865-6994 or (323)442-6780.

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