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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.
Prepare to work as a medical office professional in a clinic with a team of vision care providers.
Combining classroom theory, laboratory practice, and a clinical practicum, you'll learn the scientific principles to ensure optimal eye care as part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, and medical technologists.
This program is unique because it combines ophthalmic and optometric competencies, providing graduates with skillsets for two professions in one program.
You'll experience success in this program and profession by developing the following traits, skills and aptitudes:
- critical thinking
- effective communication skills (speaking, reading, writing, and listening)
- ability to work independently and with others
- actively participates in classroom, lab and practicum activities as scheduled by the program
- ability to work well under stress, maintain professional behaviour and emotionally self-regulate
- ability to use technology
- willing to work extended hours, including nights and/or weekends, and shift work
- ability to meet the physical demands of the job (for example, spending most hours working on your feet, walking, bending, and other repetitive tasks)
- ability to tolerate latex and disinfection chemicals
- comfortable with performing patient care procedures which may be sensitive or performed in close proximity.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for Ophthalmic Medical Personnel to learn more about this profession.
The opportunity to advance your education by transferring into this program or gain credit for previous postsecondary courses may be available.
There may also be opportunities to further your education by transferring to another institution once you graduate.
Learn more about program and institution transfer options.
During your second semester, you will have the opportunity to complete four weeks of practicum experience in either an ophthalmology or optometry clinic.
The School of Health and Public Safety has many practicum partners in Alberta and Canada. Practicum placements in Calgary are limited, and you may be required to travel or relocate outside the city.
Successful applicants will be assigned their practicum placement. While we'll strive to assign your practicum location based on your preference, it is not guaranteed. Special considerations will not be given. You will be responsible for fees associated with the practicum, such as entrance requirements, relocation and travel costs.
In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, you will be requested to provide proof of the following requirements:
- Police information check
- Health and wellness status
The Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting program delivered by SAIT is an entry level certification. Students may wish to proceed with additional education to achieve Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) certification.
Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be awarded a SAIT Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting Certificate.
Careers and opportunities
Each year, SAIT conducts a survey between February and April to determine the employment rate, salary and satisfaction of our newest SAIT alumni.
95% graduate employment rate
$47,500 average starting salary
Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.
Career counselling and support
Unsure which career path is for you? SAIT offers career planning services to help you decide your future.
You can also get started by taking our online career finder quiz, which can help you narrow down your search based on your current skills and interests.
Finally, you can also head to Alberta alis for various tools and resources, including additional quizzes and labour market information to help you narrow down a career path.Services and workshops
The Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting certificate requires 27 credits (nine courses) to complete.
The program spans one year, with two semesters.
This course will introduce the structure of the different systems of the human body and describe how the systems work together to maintain homeostasis within the body. Students will learn to identify the different anatomical parts and describe the organization and relationships between chemical units, cellular components, tissues, organs, and systems in the body.
Ocular anatomy and physiology is the cornerstone of ophthalmic medical technology. This course covers ocular diseases, syndromes and disorders that could be understood through a strong base in anatomy and physiology of the eye.
This course covers all aspects of ophthalmic and optometric skills, with hands-on practice to develop your technical skills. This course combines theory in the pre-lab activities with labs designed to reinforce the material. The labs will provide experience with all the technical skills required to become an ophthalmic/optometric assistant. This includes obtaining case history and assessment of visual acuities to performing diagnostic testing along with insertion and removal of contact lenses. You will also make eyeglass adjustments and provide follow-up care to your patients.
This course will study the principles and standards as they pertain to performing clinical procedures in a medical setting and in ophthalmology in particular. This includes ethics, communication, patient education, legislation, professional regulation, career planning, teamwork, conflict resolution, and psychology.
This course focuses on the testing and instrumentation used in an ophthalmic medical setting. This course will provide the learners with knowledge of testing as a diagnostic tool, as well as equip them with technical knowledge necessary to troubleshoot, maintain, and repair equipment.
This course introduces ophthalmic concepts that directly pertain to patient care. This includes: pretesting and supplementary testing, eyewear frames and lenses, contact lenses, refraction and ocular health, removal or application of eye dressings, business and retail, office procedures, and assisting disabled adults and child patients.
This course will teach the learners the foundations of assisting in ophthalmic surgical procedures. This includes surgical asepsis, surgical instruments, types of surgeries, and ophthalmic surgical pharmacology.
This course will introduce how systemic diseases can have eye implications and must not be overlooked when considering diagnosis of an eye disease or disorder. The course will also focus on medication classifications, safe medication calculations and safe medication administration, alongside an introduction to common ocular medications and OTC products.
Learners are provided with the opportunity to rotate through specific clinical settings on a weekly basis, in order to achieve identified clinical objectives required for achieving entry-level competencies as specified by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) Competency Profile.
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.
Applicants educated in Canada
All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents.
A minimum grade of 60% in each of the following courses:
- English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2
- Math 30-1 or Math 30-2
- Biology 30 or Science 30
SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.
All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English Language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find out what educational documents are accepted and assessment options.
SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.
Missing an admission requirement for this program? Upgrade your prior education to help you receive admission into one of SAIT's career programs.Upgrade
- Domestic students: Open
Application deadline: Feb. 23, 2024
- International students: Closed
Application deadline: Jan. 22, 2024
- Domestic students: Open
Application deadline: June 28, 2024
- International students: Waitlisted
Application deadline: May 29, 2024
2023/24 tuition and fees
The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023. They are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per year.
|Number of semesters
|Total per year
Books and supplies are approximately $1,200 per full-time year.
This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.
Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore's website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date. Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck; no textbook purchase is required this term.
You are responsible for any additional expenses related to your practicum, including pre-practicum requirements outlined by the program and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary.
Required personal protective equipment (PPE) and uniforms
You will require:
- navy scrubs (pants and top)
- closed-toe water-impermeable shoes
Additional industry-approved PPE will be discussed prior to the start of labs.
Paying for your education may feel overwhelming, but we have resources and programs that can help, including information about payment options, student loans, grants and scholarships.Learn more
This program is eligible for Canada Alberta Job Grant funding.
Ready to apply?
Follow our step-by-step guide to submitting a successful application.
Communication during admission
Email is the primary source of communication during the admission process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications.
We recommend you add firstname.lastname@example.org domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
Begin your application
Apply now using the online application portal.
Ensure you have a valid Visa or Mastercard to pay the non-refundable application fee of $120 for domestic applicants or $150 for international applicants.Apply now
Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.
Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:
- What sets SAIT apart
- An introduction to the program and area of study
- Admission requirements
- Future career paths
- Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.
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