Orthoptist

Getting Started

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

High School Courses

Students should take a college preparatory curriculum. A science background is recommended.

Education and Training

  • A baccalaureate degree (no specific major or prerequisite courses) is required.
  • Bachelor’s degree can be earned at any accredited college or university.
  • The Graduate Record Examination is NOT required as the Orthoptic Program is a Certification Program not a for credit/graduate program.
  • Apply to Orthoptic Fellowship Program. Currently (2016) there are seventeen programs affiliated with medical facilities or universities in the US and Canada that offer Orthoptic curriculum. The Department Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health offers a 24-month fellowship training.
  • The curriculum is both classroom and clinical instruction by staff orthoptists and ophthalmologists in a clinical medical setting.
  • The Orthoptic Program is two intensive years of instruction following a logical sequence of courses to secure an understanding of the visual system. Courses include: anatomy, neuro-anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, diagnostic testing & measurement, systemic diseases & ocular motor disorders, principles of surgery, basic ophthalmic exam techniques, ophthalmic optics and orthoptic treatment.

Educational Institutions

University of Minnesota
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Method of Entry

  • Admission criteria vary from training program to training program.
  • To be eligible for national certification one must complete a 24-month Orthoptic fellowship at an accredited program AND have a baccalaureate degree (no specific major)
  • National certification by the American Orthoptic Council (AOC) is obtained by after completing the two-year fellowship, the successful completion of a written and oral/practical examination. The written exam is given at all centers on the same day, usually in June. A candidate earning a passing score is now eligible for the oral/practical section of the examination, which is usually given at one central location in the fall of the year.
  • Upon successful completion of both sections of the exam, candidates are awarded a Certificate and granted the use of the designation “C.O.” after their names.

Professional Organizations

American Academy of Ophthalmology
655 Beach Street
San Francisco, CA, 94109
415/561-8500
www.aao.org

American Association of Certified Orthoptists
655 Beach Street
San Fransisco, CA, 94109
414/561-8522
www.orthoptics.org/

American Orthoptic Council
655 Beach Street
San Fransisco, CA, 94109
415/561-8522
orthoptics.org/aoc/

Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology
2025 Woodlane Drive
St. Paul, MN, 55125-2998
800/482-4858
www.atpo.org

Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology
2025 Woodlane Dr.
St. Paul, MN, 55125-2998
651/731-2944 or 800/284-3937
www.jcahpo.org

National Academy of Opticianry
8401 Corporate Dr., Suite 605
Landover, MD, 20785
800/229-4828
www.nao.org/

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 780
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 50,100
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 56,100
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 12%
Expected Annual Openings: 1,770
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $71,985

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • Can be varied.
  • Can work part- time.
  • Those more interested in teaching there are opportunities to provide clinical expertise and instruction to medical students, orthoptic students, post doctoral fellows, residents in ophthalmology and clinical staff.
  • Those more academically inclined can participate in clinical research and in the presentation and publication of scientific papers.