Dec 07, 2021  
PUBLISHED 2020-2021 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2020-2021 Credit Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting

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Program Description

The Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting certificate program is 2 semesters long (including a 4 week practicum) and prepares students to operate as medical office professionals with specialized knowledge in ophthalmic (eye health) and optometric (vision care) terminology and clinical procedures.

Throughout the program, students will learn the scientific principles imperative to ensuring optimal eye care as part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, and medical technologists.  This program is unique in that it includes a combination of ophthalmic and optometric competencies, providing graduates with skillsets for two professions in one program.

Program Overview

Your Career

Graduates of this program may find work as Ophthalmic and/or Optometric Assistants for Ophthalmologists and Optometrists in a variety of medical settings.

Student Success

  • Students with higher secondary or post-secondary marks usually experience greater success in SAIT’s programs.
  • Students who experience success in this program have effective communication skills in English.
  • Health care practitioners are detail-oriented in the care they provide, and enjoy working in a team environment.
  • Basic computer skills are essential for success in this program.


Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be awarded a SAIT Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting Certificate.

Additionally, upon accumulating the required amount of supervised practice hours, graduates of this program will be eligible to challenge the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO) national certification exam.


The Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting program delivered by SAIT is aligned with the competencies outlined by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) guidelines.


Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Admission Requirements

A minimum grade of 60% in each of the following courses or their equivalents:

  • English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2
  • Math 30-1 or Math 30-2 or Pure Math 30
  • Biology 30 or Science 30
  • All applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

Practicum Requirements:

  • Current Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR must be obtained and remain valid for the duration of the practicum.  SAIT offers the above CPR course on a continuous basis (CPRS 001 - Basic Life Support Provider), which students are encouraged to complete. Please note that only Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada CPR certification will be accepted.

Program Outline

Total Credits 27

Program Outcomes


  1. Medical Knowledge-Demonstrate ophthalmic and systemic disease and cognate sciences knowledge that applies to patient care in a vision care practice.
  2. Clinical Skills and Patient Care-Demonstrate the ability to treat ophthalmic health problems.
  3. Communication-Communicate with patients, families, and other health professionals in a responsive, and responsible manner that supports a team approach.
  4. Professionalism and Lifelong Learning-Plan professional lifelong learning and continuing education opportunities that support personal practice as an Ophthalmic and Optometric Assistant.
  5. Community and Health Services-Demonstrate an awareness and responsiveness to the larger context of health care.
  6. Regulations and Ethics-Practice the protection and safety of practitioners, patients, and the public.
  7. Technical Skills-Demonstrate proficient technical skills to promote best practice in the Ophthalmic and Optometric Assistant role.



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