A COT works with ophthalmologists to provide patient care by performing numerous eye-related clinical tasks, including but not limited to:
- Performing vision and diagnostic tests;
- Instructing patients about medications and various medical procedures;
- Recording patients’ medical histories;
- Assisting ophthalmologists with various medical procedures; and
- Supervising and training other ophthalmic medical technicians (OMT).
This two-year associate degree program began in 2009. The program admits approximately 20-25 students per academic year. Currently, there are 12 first-year students and 13 second-year students. Since 2011, 55 students have graduated from this program. Students combine class time with clinical externships at a wide variety of clinical sites. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the National Board Certification Exam.
According to Kathy Campbell, HFC COT program director, there are 19 clinical externship sites in Southeast Michigan where students have been mentored. In fact, HFC has an affiliation agreement with Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) in Detroit.
The COT program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs (CoA-OMP). Upon completion of the program, the student is eligible to take the national certifying exam sponsored by the Joint Commission of Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO).
“Having this stamp of approval from the CoA-OMP is a testament to the fact that HFC conforms to a higher set of standards. Students are educated here at HFC and then complete clinical externships. Upon graduation, they are ready to hit the ground running.”
“Having this stamp of approval from the CoA-OMP is a testament to the fact that HFC conforms to a higher set of standards. Students are educated here at HFC and then complete clinical externships. Upon graduation, they are ready to hit the ground running. No on-the-job training is required because they already have it,” said Campbell.
Campbell joined HFC in 2011 after 27 years at Oakland Ophthalmic Surgery in Birmingham, Mich. A COT and Ophthalmic Surgical Assistant (OSA), Campbell has an undergraduate degree in Health Administration and a graduate degree in Human Resources from Central Michigan University (CMU). She is currently working on her doctorate in Health Administration at CMU with a projected graduation date of 2017.
“My dream job has always been teaching future Ophthalmic Technicians,” said Campbell.
To learn more, please visit https://www.hfcc.edu/catalog/programs/2667.
– Kurt Anthony Krug
Certified Ophthalmic Technician
After being a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, Michelle Nowicki enrolled in HFC’s COT Program. She graduated in 2011 and was among the first class of graduates since the program was founded in 2009.
“HFC showed me everything I need to know about eye examinations than I could ever imagine and how to interact with patients. It also gave me more than I needed to know to pass the National Board Certification Exam,” she said.
Today, Nowicki works as a COT at David M. Shepherd, M.D. P.C. Ophthalmology in Novi, Mich., and is also the HFC COT Program’s Clinical coordinator. In this role, she assists students in securing clinical externships and does on-site visits to check on their progress.
“After I graduated, the administration wanted a former student to fulfill the role of Clinical coordinator since we know the College and how the COT Program works. They thought I’d be a good fit. It’s fun to help students learn what they need to be a good ophthalmic technician,” said Nowicki.