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. 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. OTEP students have the unique opportunity to pair their coursework with clinical experience. 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 an ophthalmic technician. For any questions regarding the OTEP program, please contact Nichole Ruch at (323)865-9833.
ATTENTION: Applications for the January 2019 OTEP class are now available!
*Please Note: Applications are reviewed as they are received, and acceptance into the program is on a rolling-admission basis. Students are encouraged to apply early as the number of spaces in the program is limited.
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 (For more information on certification through the Joint Commission of Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO), please click here. 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 testing, diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions.
Classes 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 assure personal attention and the opportunity to practice developing skills under close supervision. 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.
Nichole Ruch, COMT, joins the team as OTEP Coordinator
As OTEP Coordinator, Nichole will be involved in all aspects of the program including instruction, clinical rotations, student advisement, and community outreach. She comes with 15+ years of experience in all subspecialities of ophthalmology. Nichole has extensive experience attending to the vision care needs of the complete spectrum of patients from children to seniors in a variety of clinical settings including private offices and academic institutions.
OTEP Student Cristian Martínez Featured on Univision 24 – Los Angeles!
OTEP Academic Calendar Class of 2017-2018
|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 Academic Calendar Class of 2018-2019
|Spring 2018||January 8 – May 4, 2018|
|Summer 2018||May 7 – August 24, 2018|
|Fall 2018||August 27 – December 14, 2018|
|Spring 2019||January 7 – May 3, 2019|
|Summer 2019||May 6 – August 23, 2019|
|OTEP 101||History Taking|
|OTEP 102||Visual Assessment|
|OTEP 103||Medical Ethics, Legal, and Regulatory Issues|
|OTEP 104||Ocular and General Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology|
|OTEP 105||Visual Fields|
|OTEP 106||Supplemental Skills A|
|OTEP 107||Lensometry and Optical Dispensing|
|OTEP 110||Supplemental Skills B|
|OTEP 112||Ophthalmic Imaging|
|OTEP 115||Contact Lenses/Keratometry|
|OTEP 116||Pupillary Assessment|
|OTEP 117||Ocular Motility|
|OTEP 118||Surgical Assisting|
|1||OTEP 113C||Patient Relations||
|2||OTEP 114C||Visual Fields||Visual Fields
Supplemental Skills A
Comprehensive Ophthalmology A
Supplemental Skills B
Comprehensive Ophthalmology B
|5||OTEP 208C||Ophthalmic Imaging||Ophthalmic Imaging
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|
|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|
Cost of Attendance
|Direct Costs||Year 1 (01/08/18 to 12/14/18)||Year 2 (01/07/19 to 08/23/19)|
|Tuition (includes books and scrubs)||$10,500.00||$7,000.00|
|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/.
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. However, 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
For more information about the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology Certification (JCAHPO), please visit http://www.jcahpo.org/
Instructions for Applying to OTEP
Application Deadline: November 1, 2018*
*Note: OTEP applications are reviewed as they are received and acceptance into the program is on a rolling-admission basis. Students are encouraged to apply early as the number of spaces in the program is limited.
- Print out an application from the link below, read instructions carefully, complete all sections, sign and date. Completed applications may be E-mailed to NicholaFay.Ruch@med.usc.edu or mailed to:
USC Roski Eye Institute
Attention: Nichole Ruch
1450 San Pablo Street, Suite 4700
Los Angeles, CA 90033
- Provide 3 letters of recommendation using the Applicant Recommendation Form. Notify recommenders that the forms must be received by the USC Roski Eye Institute. Recommenders may mail the forms directly to the USC Roski Eye Institute (see above), or may include sealed recommendation forms with your application. Recommendations must be completed by employer, volunteer supervisor, counselor or teacher.
If you have questions about OTEP, please e-mail NicholaFay.Ruch@med.usc.edu or call (323)865-9833.
OTEP is supported by funding from the USC Good Neighbors Campaign and the California Wellness Foundation
OTEP Career Portal
Current OTEP students, please click below to view all active job postings
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