I'm HUGELY in favor of trained technicians. I trained my first tech and paid for all her certification training through the American Optometric Association. She earned certified paraoptometric (CPO), certified paraoptometric assistant (CPOA), and certified paraoptometric technician (CPOT) designation. A year after she got her CPOT, she left for another practice; her leaving was unrelated to her CPOT.
Now I find myself with a new tech, Jackie. I don't have time to do the training by myself anymore, so I found this wonderful program offered through Madison Area Technical College of Madison, WI. It’s an online Optometric Technician Program, http://madisoncollege.edu/optometric-technician-online-program, designed for people currently working as staff in a practice. The doctor (or optician, if there is one) acts as the mentor and is in charge of making sure the student knows how to do the practical tasks. But the lectures and coursework are done online.
This has been a really cool process. Jackie is almost done with her first of a projected four semesters. I like that Jackie is having someone other than me teach her, although I am "supervising." I ask her for a weekly summary of what she has been working, so I know she is keeping up with the program The program isn't cheap-about $400 per course, not including books-but so far I think it's very worth it.
Viktoria Davis, OD