Frequently Asked Questions

Are the programs offered by the KOTC accredited?

Yes. The Hotel Dieu Hospital has been successful in attaining accreditation from the Canadian Medical Association for both the ophthalmic technician and the ophthalmic medical technology programs.

Why is accreditation important?

From the Canadian Medical Association:

“The CMA believes that relevant educational preparation is critical to ensuring competent health professionals who can contribute to effective and safe patient care as a member of the health care team. CMA accreditation signifies that the program has met national standards and that the education provided is relevant to current clinical practice. Ensuring that ophthalmic technicians and ophthalmic technologists have the required competencies for entry to practice is an important contribution to Canada’s health human resources.”

“The CMA’s Conjoint Accreditation Services ensures national educational standards for practitioners in 14 health science professions. For more information on accreditation, visit the Canadian Medical Association Accreditation webpage.” (link is external)

The KOTC and the Hotel Dieu believe in the accreditation process for the above stated reasons as well as for certification reasons. Graduates of a CMA accredited ophthalmic training program are eligible to write the certification examinations offered by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO)

Who is the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO)?

JCAHPO is the certifying body for ophthalmic personnel for the US, Canada, and around the world.

About JCAHPO: http://www.jcahpo.org/about/ (link is external)

JCAHPO home: http://www.jcahpo.org/ (link is external)

Why is certification important?

The ophthalmic technician and ophthalmic medical technologist professions are unregulated professions. This means certification is not required in order to work in the field. There are however, clinics and offices that are beginning to require certification for employment. As well certification shows that you have attained a predetermined level of knowledge and proficiency in the field ophthalmic technology.

Some clinics and offices pay certified personnel more than non-certified personnel.

The KOTC encourages certification of all graduates, but ultimately it is the personal choice of each individual.

What will happen if the KOTC fails in its bid for accreditation?

The KOTC is committed to attaining and maintaining CMA accreditation of its programs. In the event accreditation is not attained or is ever revoked, then graduates would not be eligible to sit the certification exams.

It would not affect a graduate’s ability to work as an ophthalmic technician or ophthalmic medical technologist.

What is the difference between an OA, OT, OMT?

All three of these personnel are considered ophthalmic medical personnel. The difference is in the knowledge and skills. The certifying body for the profession Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (link is external)differentiates the three as follows:

  • Ophthalmic Assistant -- entry-level
  • Ophthalmic Technician -- intermediate
  • Ophthalmic Medical Technologist -- advanced

The KOTC is training to the both of the ophthalmic technician and ophthalmic medical technologist levels.

Why does the KOTC only enroll 2 students per year?

The professions of ophthalmic technician and ophthalmic medical technologist are practical hands on professions. The training of such personnel must therefore have a large practical hands-on component. Even though the ophthalmology department at the Hotel Dieu is a fairly large clinic it would be too difficult to maintain the 1 on 1 hands-on clinical time required to learn the skills required for the program. This teaching style gives the enrolled students the best possible training that can be offered.

What are the job prospects like after graduation?

There is no way to forecast the job market in the future. Health care job availability fluctuates as with all other professions.

Neither the KOTC nor the Hotel Dieu Hospital guarantees employment after training.

How much do ophthalmic technicians and ophthalmic medical technologists make?

Salaries vary greatly from region to region and between hospitals and private offices. The pay scales here at the Hotel Dieu are as follows:
OPSEU CENTRAL WAGE RATES
April 1, 2009 – March 31, 2011
Award:
April 1, 2009, 2.5%
April 1, 2010, 2.5%

What is the purpose of the PLA for the OMT program?

The PLA is a Prior Learning Assessment. For admission into the KOTC ophthalmic medical technologist program an applicant MUST meet all of the competencies taught in the KOTC ophthalmic technician program. The PLA is designed for anyone who has not completed the KOTC ophthalmic technician course but who feels he or she has reached those competencies by another means to showcase his or her abilities. In effect, the PLA creates a second pathway to admission to the ophthalmic medical technology program.

How long are the programs?

Both programs are 11 month programs running from August to June. Program hours are from 8 to 4 everyday the clinic is open.

How much do the programs cost?

The cost for each program is $3000. This includes tuition, textbooks, and other minor incidental costs. The students are responsible for their own housing, transportation, and meals.

How are the programs structured?

The Ophthalmic Technician program is divided into 10 Modules that run between 4 and 5 weeks each. The topics covered are presented in a logical order start with the basics (eye anatomy and physiology and optics). Building on these foundations the ophthalmic technician students learn skills in:

  • History taking
  • Visual acuity testing
  • Slit lamp examination
  • Tonometry
  • Lensometry
  • Ophthalmic photography
  • Corneal assessment
  • Visual field testing
  • Pupil assessment
  • Axial Biometry
  • Ocular motility
  • Refractometry
  • Contact lenses
  • Colour vision testing
  • Ophthalmic testing
  • Ophthalmic diseases and diorders

The Ophthalmic Medical Technology Program is currently being developed but will run in a similar format.

Where does the training take place?

The training takes place in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, Ontario. There may be opportunities for students to spend time in private offices in town or in other hospitals.

When do the programs start?

Both programs begin in August of each year.