Fall 2017 Newsletter

Follow our latest updates in our Fall 2017 Newsletter

Fall 2017 Newsletter
7th Residency Announcement

Exciting Residency Announcement!

ACGME approves seventh resident complement; first increase in over 30 years!

Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds and Case Studies

Check out our weekly presentations



Ophthalmic Technician Education Program



USC Ophthalmology Researchers Find More
Effective Treatments For Blinding Eye Diseases


Ophthalmic Technician Education Program (OTEP)

usc-researchThe 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.



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.

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OTEP News!

Nichole Ruch, COMT, joins the team as OTEP Coordinator

Photo was taken at Tech Fair LA 2018 - which is the largest job tech fair in LA with over 12,000 attendees.
Photo was taken at Tech Fair LA 2018 – which is the largest job tech fair in LA with over 12,000 attendees.
Nichole and OTEP student, Aura Carrillo, disseminated information about the ophthalmic technician profession and OTEP.
Nichole and OTEP student, Aura Carrillo, disseminated information about the ophthalmic technician profession and OTEP.

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!

USC Offers a Certification Program to Become Certified as an Ophthalmology Assistant

View the English Translation of the Univision Feature


OTEP Academic Calendar Class of 2017-2018

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 Academic Calendar Class of 2018-2019

Semester Date
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 Curriculum

Course Course Title
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 108 Optics
OTEP 109 Pharmacology
OTEP 110 Supplemental Skills B
OTEP 111 Refractometry
OTEP 112 Ophthalmic Imaging
OTEP 113 Tonometry
OTEP 114 Microbiology
OTEP 115 Contact Lenses/Keratometry
OTEP 116 Pupillary Assessment
OTEP 117 Ocular Motility
OTEP 118 Surgical Assisting


Semester Clinical Rotation Emphasis Topics Hours/Week
1 OTEP 113C Patient Relations
Patient Relations
Visual Testing
Visual Fields
2 OTEP 114C Visual Fields Visual Fields

Supplemental Skills A
3 OTEP 115C Refractometry Refractometry

Comprehensive Ophthalmology A
Supplemental Skills B
4 OTEP 207C Tonometry Glaucoma/Tonometry

Comprehensive Ophthalmology B
Ophthalmic Imaging
5 OTEP 208C 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 (01/08/18 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

JCAHPO Certification

For more information about the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology Certification (JCAHPO), please visit http://www.jcahpo.org/

  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 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

  1. 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. 




Recommendation Form


Financial Aid Info


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
View Job Postings

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