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Faculty and assistant conducting ophthalmology exam on a patient at Mayo Clinic

Trainee experience

The Ophthalmic Assistant Training Program is an eight-month program designed to give students a combination of lecture, lab, and clinical learning. The first two months focus on classroom and lab education, with the remaining six months designated for clinical rotations.

Classroom learning will be conducted through a series of online lectures with worksheets, and quizzes. Prior to training in the clinic with experienced technicians, students will practice their new skills on faculty, technicians, and each other. Once students are prepared, they will be paired with experienced technicians to work in the clinic and master their new skills.

For the majority of the program, the learning schedule includes eight-hour days, five days per week. While the training program allows for time to work on assignments, additional time may be required for homework or assignments.


The following shows the list of courses for each term of the eight-month Ophthalmic Assistant Training Program.

  • Fall/winter term
    • Introduction to Ophthalmology
    • Clinical Optics
    • Patient Intake 1
    • Patient Intake 2
    • Supplementary Testing 1
    • Contact Lenses
    • Keratometry
  • Winter/spring term
    • Eye Disease and Treatment
    • Refractometer
    • Ophthalmic Imaging
    • Clinical Equipment and Maintenance
    • Surgical Procedures
    • Supplementary Testing 2


Courses will be taught by current ophthalmic technicians and world-renowned ophthalmologists and optometrists at Mayo Clinic. You have direct access to these individuals throughout your training, giving you the opportunity to learn from experts in the field of ophthalmology.

Learn more about Mayo Clinic's Department of Ophthalmology.


All required courses in the Ophthalmic Assistant Training Program are designated as pass/fail with an online format.

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses these evaluative tools: online quizzes and examinations, online self-assessment exercises, lab and clinical activities, investigative projects and assignments, competency assessment and demonstration of skills, faculty reviews and affective-behavior evaluation.

Mayo's system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct students who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities. A competency-based evaluation system is used to assess clinical performance.

Graduation and certification 

After successfully completing the Ophthalmic Assistant Training Program, you receive a certificate of completion from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. 

Graduates will be eligible to take the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant test through the Joint Commission of Allied Health Professionals in Ophthalmology once all criteria have been met.