Talk to someone who has taken an ophthalmic assistant, technician, or technologist certification exam, and you will realize that preparation it is not an easy task. If you take a look at the exam content and sub-content areas, the complexity of the task becomes obvious.
Is this really worth the cost and effort, you may be asking yourself? When you look at the salary differential over a career (certified vs uncertified, and assistant vs technician), the answer is a resounding "yes".
The question then becomes, how to go about preparing for a one of the certification exams?
Is it possible to use the "home study" course (independent study) and clinical experience to pass the assistant level exam? Yes, apparently it is possible, because some have claimed to have done it this way. Is this a good plan? No. The odds are against you. Because of recent changes to the content areas of the exams, the assistant level exam has really become a technician level exam.
What study materials are available? There is a wide variety of study materials available, from books that cover only certain content areas, such as "contact lenses", to sets of flash cards, to complete package exam prep courses. It is possible to assemble your own set of study materials, but do you really have the time and inclination to "reinvent the wheel".
How about an exam review course? Review courses typically last from two to eight hours. You are given an overview of the content areas, with some more detail in the areas that the speaker believes to be important. There are usually sample questions and some "fun" audience participation. But, how much material can you absorb in a few hours? Are you really going to be able to pay attention (stay awake) for this amount of time? Does the speaker really "know" what is important to cover in a short amount of time? Not likely.
This leaves us with an exam prep course as being the best alternative for exam preparation. The sponsor of this website, eyetec.net, has exam prep courses that have significant advantages:
- The study material has been organized for you. You will receive instruction regarding each and every sub-content area. There is no guess work about what may be covered on the exam. The prep-course covers every subject that you may be tested on. Yes, this takes some study time commitment on your part, but you will be prepared for the exam, and more importantly, you will be a better technician when you have completed the course.
- The study material is first rate. Much of the study material is gathered from CE approved courses that have been refined over many years. The courses have received high marks from users who have evaluated the courses.
- Practice quizzes and tests help you learn and prepare. Each content area has its own subset of quizzes and there are practice exams that draw from a database of thousands of questions.
- Assessment quizzes help you maximize your time. Each content area has a "pre-quiz" that helps you realize what you know and what you don't know, so you can skip some material if you already know it well.
- The prep courses are effective. Feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the success rate of exam takers.
- Is it worth the cost? The course fees are $120 (assistant), $150 (technician), and $160 technologist, each a bargain considering what is included. Consider that an exam re-test costs a minimum of $250, not including the cost of embarrassment for failure to pass. The technician and technologist level prep courses include 12 CE credit hours, a $120 value.