A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - What Optical Assistants Do
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. We'll talk 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!
Lesson 02 - Our Amazing Eyes
Optical assisting is all about vision, and today we'll begin our 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? We'll take a tour of the parts of the eye, and you'll 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.
Lesson 03 - Common Eye Problems
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, we'll talk about common eye disorders (everything from cataracts to sties), and you'll discover how medical conditions like diabetes and allergies can affect the eyes. I'll also share several of the important tips we give patients for protecting their eyes—tips that can protect your eyesight as well!
Lesson 04 - Other Eye Conditions and Terms
Did you ever wonder 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. We'll also explore what it means to be legally blind (and why many people who think they're legally blind really aren't!).
Lesson 05 - Front Office Skills for Success
In this lesson, we look at front office optical assisting—a wonderful career opportunity if you're a "people" person and a multi-tasker. We'll start by talking about the front office assistant's key role as a goodwill ambassador for a medical practice or business. Next, we'll discuss triage, a skill that's crucial to good patient care. Finally, we'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.
Lesson 06 - Back Office Basics
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. We'll also talk about pre-testing, and you'll learn about some of the tests used to gather preliminary vision data about patients. In addition, we'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.
Lesson 07 - The Prescription
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. We'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.
Lesson 08 - Glasses: Function and Fashion
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!
Lesson 09 - All About Contact Lenses
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, we'll discuss how contact lenses help correct vision, and we'll cover 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.
Lesson 10 - Essential Customer Service Skills
Great customer service keeps people coming back to a business time after time. Today we'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. What we cover won't just help you be a better optical assistant—it will help you shine in any situation where "people skills" are key.
Lesson 11 - Specialties: Something for Everyone!
Optical assisting offers you many different settings and specialties to choose from, and in this lesson, we'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, we'll talk about vision therapy, a great choice if you love working with children. And finally, we'll talk about the booming field of refractive surgery, in which optical assistants play a key role.
Lesson 12 - Certification and Licensing
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. Today we'll look at the different types of certification you can achieve in the optical assisting field. We'll cover 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.