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Ophthalmic and Optometric Assisting

Open for Fall 2020

Length: 30 weeks
Credential: Certificate
Available: Full Time Classroom

Program Highlights

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.


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Median starting salary (Source: Alberta Alis)

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Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $8,222

Year 1 (International): $18,930

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change


When can you apply?

  • Applications for fall 2020 are accepted starting Feb. 8, 2020. 
Term Program start
Fall 2020 Sept. 8, 2020

Program Details

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.

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.

Credentials and accreditation

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 International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO) guidelines.

Admission Requirements

Admission and selection

  • Fall 2020 start: Applications are accepted starting Feb. 8, 2020. 

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 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.

Direct Entry: four-step process

Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.

Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the admission requirements listed above.

Step 3: Apply and submit your transcripts and/or anticipated final grades.  

  • Admission will be extended on a first-qualified, first-offered basis until the program is full. 

Step 4: Log in to mySAIT.ca to check your admission status and monitor changes to your application status

Failure to meet anticipated final grades will result in offers being rescinded.


First Year

Semester 1

Course code Course name Credit
ANPH-220 Anatomy & Applied Terminology  3.0
HSCI-219 Ocular Anatomy & Physiology 3.0
HSCI-221 Introduction to Ophthalmic Practice 3.0
HSCI-223 Ophthalmic and Optometric Skills  3.0
HSCI-309 Systemic and Ocular Pathology & Pharmacology 3.0
Semester 1 total 15

Semester 2

Course code Course name Credit
HSCI-218 Applied Ophthalmic & Optometric Assisting 3.0
HSCI-222 Ophthalmic Instruments & Testing 3.0
HSCI-251 Assisting Surgical Procedures 3.0
HSCI-205 Clinical Practicum 3.0
Semester 2 Total 12
Program total 27


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.


Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $7,000 $462 $288 $235 $8,222

International Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees SAITSA fees Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $17,500 $462 $288 $460 $18,930


Campus athletic and recreation Fee: $171.20
Universal transit pass (UPass): $310 - Check eligibility here.
Student support fee: $100
Student technology fee: $100

Health and Dental Fees

Domestic Students 

  • Health Plan: $122
  • Dental Plan: $130
  • For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the Saitsa website for information on opting out.

International Students 

  • Health and Dental Plan: $460
  • For more information on Health and Dental Benefits for International students please contact the International Centre.

Books and supplies*

  • Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practicum including relocation costs to a practicum site outside of Calgary.
  • There is a fee associated with obtaining a Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check, payable to the Police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • Books, scrubs and supplies are approximately $1,200.
  • Students must have a personal computer and access to the Internet. Most classes are taught at SAIT, but some require online access. All courses require additional self‐study.
  • Most practicum sites require students to demonstrate updated immunization status, prior to attending praticum. The recieving practicum site has the right to refuse students who cannot prove they have met all the require immunizations. 

Find out about tuition and financial aid.

* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.


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