Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) Salary
Job Description for Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
A certified ophthalmologist assistant (COA) provides professional medical and administrative help for eye physicians in a clinical setting. They perform tasks such as muscle testing, refractometry, vision exams, and recording eyeglass prescriptions for patients. Interacting with patients is essential for this position, as an ophthalmologist assistant places patients in the appropriate room and prepares him or her for the appointment. A COA is also expected to clean equipment, surgical instruments, and exam areas regularly to prepare the environment for each patient. Ophthalmologist assistants are called to execute diagnostic testing to examine clients that suffer from eye and vision abnormalities and injuries. In addition, the COA may also administer medicine to a patient and assist with the surgical process if needed.Read More...
Some of the clerical responsibilities of a COA include answering patient questions when the doctor is unavailable, screening telephone calls, ordering medical supplies, and scheduling patients accordingly for upcoming visits. Educating patients on their condition and appropriate medical treatments is a necessary duty. An ophthalmologist assistant must be able to accurately document patient records and fill out patient forms to make the clinical process run smoothly.
Professionals in this field typically work a standard, 40-hour week inside a hospital, clinic, or private office in collaboration with an ophthalmologist. To work in this field as a licensed professional, one must have at least a high school diploma and complete a program in ophthalmologic medical assisting at an accredited college or university. Many entry-level COAs receive on-site training, and experienced workers often become trainers to new COA’s. An individual who works as a COA should possess solid communication skills, stellar organizational abilities, computer literacy, and good vision and hearing to satisfactorily complete daily tasks.
Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) Tasks
- Take patient history and perform preliminary examination of patient.
- Assist ophthalmologist with office patient procedures.
- Coordinate patient care and influx of patients.
- Provide technical ophthalmic and administrative assistance.
Common Career Paths for Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
There are some Certified Ophthalmic Assistants — though it's uncommon — that transition into Registered Nurses, where earnings are an average $56K annually. When Certified Ophthalmic Assistants are ready for the next step in their careers, they often become Certified Ophthalmic Technicians or Ophthalmic Photographers. Those roles pay an additional $4K and $6K, respectively.
Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
Leading companies who hire large numbers of Certified Ophthalmic Assistants include Eye Associates, Beach Eye Care, Marietta Eye Clinic, Cincinnati Eye Institute, and Spokane Eye Clinic. Certified Ophthalmic Assistants flock to Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $42K lead the pack in compensation. Certified Ophthalmic Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates ($41K), Eye Institute ($38K), and Eye Associates ($37K).
Marietta Eye Clinic, Eye Care Specialists PC, and Cincinnati Eye Institute are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($33K, $35K, and $36K respectively).
Popular Skills for Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Refractions, Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, Surgery, and Refraction are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 12 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include scribe, Refractometry, and Scribing. The majority of those who know Patient Education also know Procedures and Medical Photography. Most people skilled in Electronic Medical Records are similarly competent in Medical Photography and Procedures.
Pay by Experience Level for Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA)
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $32K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $36K. Certified Ophthalmic Assistants see a median salary of $38K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Certified Ophthalmic Assistants with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $40K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Certified Ophthalmic Assistants, working in the bustling city of Boston has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Certified Ophthalmic Assistants will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+22 percent), Dallas (+21 percent), Denver (+20 percent), and Austin (+17 percent). The lowest-paying market is El Paso, which sits 15 percent below the national average. Below-median salaries also turn up in Virginia Beach and Richmond (14 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively).