I’m a COA, now what?

First, congratulations are in order for completing your Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) certification. This is to be commended and shows just how dedicated you are to your career path. But your journey as an ophthalmic technician is not over, there is always more to learn.

Becoming a COA can be the first step in your journey of certifications and demonstrates to your fellow co-workers and management how serious you are about your profession. You are eager to learn and self-motivated, so why stop now? You can pursue the second step in certification and start studying to become a Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) and/or branch out to more specific areas of ophthalmology such as certifications for biometrist (ROUB), sonographer (CDOS) or ophthalmic surgical assistant (OSA.) Such certifications take time and expanded on your base of knowledge, so it is important to pace yourself while keeping your goals in focus. Discuss your goals with your management team as they are a vital part to your continued success.

By taking the next steps in certification you not only demonstrate your knowledge to the clinical team but more importantly the patient. Your clinic may post technicians certifications on the wall for patients to see and this reassures the patient they are in good hands. By furthering your education, you are able to provide a better patient experience and help others in their certification path. Now that you are a COA reevaluate your professional goals and consider what you would like your role to be in clinic. Perhaps you would like more of a leadership position to help train newer technicians or have a role where you are more involved with patient education or scribing. Take time to enjoy your accomplishment but never stop learning.

For more information on accredited certifications visit IJCAHPO website https://www.jcahpo.org/certification-recertification/

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