Become an Optical Assistant

Become an Optical Assistant

Learn why optical assisting is such as interesting job and how rewarding it can be to help people solve their vision problems. This course is a great way to start your career as it will help you better understand everything that’s involved in the job and how you can become certified and licensed optical assistant.
6 weeks / 24 Course Hrs
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If you think you'd like to become an optical assistant, this is the course for you! You'll take a comprehensive look at the diverse world of optical assisting. You'll see why optometry is such an interesting field and how rewarding it can be to help people solve their vision problems.

You will be amazed to learn all the different places optical assistants can work! You'll cover optical assisting in private practice, healthcare clinics, the military, teaching facilities, and in retail sales. You'll discover the personal and professional skills needed to work in a front and back office and in an optical dispensary and lab. You will understand all the things optical assistants must know about frames, styles, lenses, contact lenses, and working with people. Along the way, you'll discover how the human eye works, and examine some common eye conditions. Finally, you will learn how to become certified and licensed, which will open up even more opportunities for you and identify you as an expert. This course is an ideal springboard for starting a career in this growing and ever-in-demand field!

Enrollment Options:
6 weeks Access Course Code: bot
Start Dates*Dec 11 | Jan 15 | Feb 12 | Mar 18
*Choose start date in cart


In this first lesson, you'll get an overview of the world of optical assisting. You'll find out how you can land a great job even if you don't have experience. You'll discover the wide range of opportunities this field offers—from retail sales to assisting in a health care setting. You'll learn about how a career as an optical assistant can lead you to own your own business, get a high-paying job as a manager, or teach at a college or university. By the end of the lesson, you'll have a sense of whether this fun and in-demand career is right for you!

Optical assisting is all about vision, and today you'll begin an in-depth exploration of the profession at the logical starting point: the eye. How does this remarkable little biological machine help create a vivid, constantly-moving picture of the world around you? You'll take a tour of the parts of the eye, and find out how they work together to create the miracle of vision. The basic eye anatomy you'll master in this lesson will give you a big head start on the path to becoming an optical assistant.

The eyes are amazing, but they don't always work perfectly—and that's why optical professionals are always in demand. In this lesson, you'll learn about the focusing problems that cause millions of people to need glasses, contact lenses, vision therapy, or low vision aids. In addition, you'll learn about common eye disorders (everything from cataracts to sties), and discover how medical conditions like diabetes and allergies can affect the eyes. You'll also receive important tips on how patients can protect their eyes—tips that can protect your eyesight as well!

Have you ever wondered how a person who's color-blind sees the world? Today you'll find out—and learn why there's more than one type of color-blindness. In addition, you'll discover what "lazy eye" is, and how it's treated. You'll also explore what it means to be legally blind (and why many people who think they're legally blind really aren't!).

In this lesson, you'll look at front office optical assisting—a wonderful career opportunity if you're a "people" person and a multi-tasker. You'll start by reading about the front office assistant's key role as a goodwill ambassador for a medical practice or business. Next, you'll learn about triage, a skill that's crucial to good patient care. Finally, you'll explore the ins and outs of scheduling patients efficiently in order to keep an office running smoothly and happily. With this new knowledge, you'll be ready to make a good impression if you step into a front office job.

If you love helping people and you're good at mastering new technology, back office assisting can be a great job for you. Today you'll get the scoop on a very important back office skill: taking a patient's medical history. You'll also learn about pre-testing and about some of the tests used to gather preliminary vision data about patients. In addition, you'll take a peek at two specialty areas in back office assisting: contact lens fitting and surgical assisting. You'll find this lesson particularly interesting if you're seeking a medical career that involves lots of action and hands-on patient care.

In this lesson, you'll gain the power to understand a new language: the language of optical prescriptions! You'll learn how those numbers and symbols on an eye doctor's prescription translate into just the right lenses for a patient who's farsighted, nearsighted, or astigmatic. In addition, you'll find out the differences between soft and rigid contact lens prescriptions, and learn how to read each one. You'll also explore the job of a bench optician—the all-important person who turns a doctor's prescription into the perfect eyewear to suit a patient's needs.

Did your last pair of sunglasses make you look like a movie star or like a bug? Do your family members' glasses flatter their faces or emphasize their facial flaws? Picking frame styles that make people look attractive and feel confident takes skill, and it's one of the favorite jobs of most optical assistants. Today you'll learn the insider secrets of eyeglass styling—and as a result, you'll know how to pick great glasses for a customer or patient . . . or for yourself!

These days, contact lenses don't just correct vision problems but often make a fashion statement as well. They allow you to do things like change your eye color from green to brown or even create "tiger eyes" for a costume party! In this lesson, you'll learn how contact lenses help correct vision and discover the fun subject of contact lens fads and fashions. In addition, you'll find out how optical assistants fit contact lenses so they're just right for each person's eyes and how they educate patients about using their lenses correctly.

Great customer service keeps people coming back to a business time after time. Today you'll look at the best ways to make people feel welcome, respected, and well treated at every step of their visit to a doctor's office or retail optical store. You'll also get great tips for smoothing the waters if problems arise—something that can happen even in the best of businesses. In addition, you'll learn how to tailor your customer service to people's individual needs so every visitor feels like a VIP. This lesson won't just help you be a better optical assistant—it will help you shine in any situation where "people skills" are key.

Optical assisting offers you many different settings and specialties to choose from, and in this lesson, you'll look at three of the most interesting specialties. First, you'll learn about low vision clinics, where optical assistants help people with limited eyesight regain the ability to enjoy many of their favorite activities including cooking and reading (and often even driving!). Next, you'll read about vision therapy, a great choice if you love working with children. And finally, you'll learn about the booming field of refractive surgery, in which optical assistants play a key role.

If you're entering optical assisting with your eye on career advancement (no pun intended!), then you should consider becoming certified. Certification puts you in line for promotions and management positions. In addition, certification can be the first step to teaching at a college or university, or even running your own business. In this lesson, you'll look at the different types of certification you can achieve in the optical assisting field. You'll learn how to prepare for a certification test and the kinds of questions you can expect if you take one. With that information in hand, you'll be prepared to decide if certification is the right route for you.



Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows XP or later.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Dr. Beverly Smith is a Doctor of Optometry and has been in private practice for more than 24 years. She also holds a Master of Business Administration and founded a consulting firm that helps new practitioners start and manage their own eye care practices. Throughout her career, Smith has taught many future opticians, certified paraoptometrics, and fellow optometrists. Her work has been published in the professional journals New O.D. and Women in Optometry.


I really enjoyed this course it is easy to understand, simple and it got right to the point. You learn everything you need to know so quickly and before you know it you are finished with the lesson. Then you are so excited about what you have learned, that you just want to start the next lesson right away so you can learn even more.

This was a very interactive course. Although I am familiar with some of the info, I still learned a lot. The matching charts were very helpful too. I would take it again and would recommend it to anyone going into this field.

This is my first experience with an online course and it was a wonderful one. I would do it again, I recommend it to anyone. Great!

I normally don't like long courses and hours to study... Plus it was a nice pace for older students that haven't had a course in a while... You have encouraged me to continue on with my goals... in this exciting new career. Thank you Patricia

This course was an excellent way to expand knowledge in the optical assisting field. Its also a great way to get a head start if you're interested in certification or licensing. I enjoyed this class and recommend it to others.

This is one of the only beginners courses I have found online for optical assisting and I have learned a lot. It was very interesting and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this field.

The course itself and its content were fantastic. I learned much more than I had expected. The Instructor is knowledgeable of the course subject matter. I am ready to pursue a career in this field and I will recommend this course to others

I enjoyed this class more than any of the others I've taken on-line from a variety of schools. The instructor was EXCELLENT!!!

I'm an optical manager at a retail optical chain. This is an awesome home study class for any one new in the field or for anyone who need to polish up on their optics. I will recommend that all my employees take this class as well as the district.

I truly enjoyed this course, I am so happy I found it. It gave me a greater understanding of the responsibilities, requirements and vocabulary needed for this field. It was just the right length, not overwhelming, and the format was easy.