First-of-its-kind ophthalmic program earns accreditation
Palm Beach State College’s Ophthalmic Medical Technology program has gained recognition as an outstanding training ground for entering the profession of vision care.
This first-of-its-kind program in South Florida was recently awarded accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs, which accredits four levels of training programs for ophthalmic medical technicians. Palm Beach State’s program is now one of only thirty programs nationwide to earn CoA-OMP accreditation and one of only five programs in the U.S. accredited for Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist training, which is the highest level.
Ophthalmic medical technologists assist ophthalmologists—eye physicians and surgeons—in evaluating vision and treating patients with eye disorders. Working directly with patients, they take medical histories, assess optical correction, assist in surgeries and perform specialized testing using advanced diagnostic instrumentation.
Robert M. Kershner, M.D., developed the program, which launched in 2012. A board-certified ophthalmologist, he currently serves as professor and chair of the program.
“CoA-OMP accreditation represents a concerted effort on the part of the faculty, staff, students and administration of Palm Beach State College who worked tirelessly to see the dream of an OMT program reach fruition,” said Kershner.
Students in the two-year Associate in Science degree program are taught by ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians. Classes are held in a newly constructed educational center that features a multimedia classroom and laboratory equipped with the latest diagnostic instrumentation, a complete ophthalmic examination room, special testing facility, and a simulated operating room. Instead of textbooks, students are provided with iPads® to access learning materials and exams online. Training is complemented by clinical rotations at local ophthalmic practices, clinics and surgical centers. Graduates are eligible to be certified following examination by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (www.JCAHPO.org).
There is high demand for certified ophthalmic assistants, technicians and technologists. Every member of the inaugural class graduated with a job and high placement continues.
“In bringing this program to the community, we’re preparing the next generation of highly trained ophthalmic medical technologists,” Kershner adds. “In return, our graduates will use their training and experience to serve the patients of South Florida.”
For more information about Palm Beach State’s Ophthalmic Medical Technology program, visit www.PalmBeachState.edu/Programs/OMT.
Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs: 2025 Woodlane Drive, St. Paul, MN 55125; Phone: (651) 731-7245; Website: www.coa-omp.org.