Ophthalmic assistant program opens new career doors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As United States military personnel return to civilian life after their years of service to their country are completed, jobs can sometimes be hard to find. Veterans often have highly specialized skills, and employment offerings can be scarce, especially in rural areas. With a goal of providing on-the-job training and employment for a few good men and women, a new program at the WVU Eye Institute is seeking its first two vets to shape into ophthalmic testing assistants.

An ophthalmic testing assistant works with the ophthalmologist to provide patient care by performing different eye-related clinical functions, taking medical histories, performing various procedures and tests, and preparing the patient to see the doctor.

“This is an opportunity for the right people to start a brand new career in one of the fastest-growing employment areas right now,” Ronald L. Gross, M.D., WVU Eye Institute director and Jane McDermott Shott Chair of Ophthalmology at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, said. “This is a way to start on an exciting career path. There are countless opportunities to keep learning and advancing in a field with high demand for qualified professionals.”

Veterans wishing to embark on a new career in healthcare can be excellent fits, due to the nature of healthcare jobs. Throughout their military careers, veterans followed structured procedures similar to those health professionals must follow, developing a solid sense of teamwork simultaneously. Combining those abilities with self-motivation, a desire to learn and good people skills creates the perfect candidate for the new program.

Candidates must be honorably discharged veterans with high school diplomas and must currently be dislocated workers. A pre-employment drug screening is required. Once the six-month paid training program has been successfully completed, trainees can earn their national certification as ophthalmic assistants from the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel on Ophthalmology. From there, certification continues onward and upward, if desired.

Completion of the training program is likely to lead to full-time employment through WVU Healthcare at the WVU Eye Institute, but the training and certification will follow the program’s graduates anywhere in America, as there is a high demand for technicians that outweighs the talent pool of qualified workers.

To learn more about this exciting opportunity, veterans should contact the Morgantown Workforce West Virginia, Region VI office at 304-285-3120.

For more information: Leigh Limerick, Communications Specialist, 304-293-7087
lal: 08-01-14