Certified Ophthalmic Assistant/Technician Salary

How much money can I make as an ophthalmic technician?

COT salarayHow much money can I make as an ophthalmic technician? Of course this is basic information you want when considering a job or career as an ophthalmic technician.

Generally, an experienced ophthalmic technician can make from $20 to $50 an hour, in 2023 dollars. Keep reading to find out what factors affect the wide spread in this statement.

First of all, the vast majority of people in this field do not move to far away locations in search of higher pay. Your locality will affect your pay. If there is a shortage of technicians in your area, you will make more money. Techs in large cities make more than techs in small towns. Techs who live on the coasts make more than techs in the middle of the country.

There are other factors that affect your pay:

  • The more experience you have, the more you get paid.
  • Advanced education and training results in higher paid.
  • The more responsibility you assume, the more you are paid.
  • Supervisors make more than those being supervised.
  • The longer you stay with an employer, generally the more you will be paid.
  • Salaried personnel make more than hourly personnel. This most likely reflects those in management and supervisory positions. Limited data shows that you may make $10k to $20k more per year if you are a salaried supervisor, independent of the level of certification.

Your level of certification will affect your pay. You don't have to be certified to work in this field, but certified personnel make significantly more money. There are three levels of certification, certified ophthalmic assistant (COA), certified ophthalmic technician (COT), and certified ophthalmic technologist (COMT). Generally speaking, each level of certification will add about $10K to your annual income.

If an ophthalmology practice takes you on as a trainee, you might start out at the minimum wage. However, with some diligence and study, you can quickly get raises in pay.

To research pay levels in your particular area, do searches on the common internet job websites such as salary.com, ziprecruiter.com, and indeed.com. You can go to the U.S. government bureau of labor statistics website for some more detailed information. Try this link https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292057.htm. If it does not work, go the main webpage, bls.gov, and use the search function.

The Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology (ATPO) used to do a salary survey every 3 years, which was useful in showing salary trends over time. However, as of now (2023), they have not done a survey since 2019. You can see discussions of these surveys by following these links. The links will open in a new window. To return to this page, close the window when finished.

2019 ATPO Ophthalmic Assistant Salary Survey

2019 ATPO Ophthalmic Technician Salary Survey

2019 ATPO Ophthalmic Technologist Salary Survey


Find out how to get started as an ophthalmic assistant.