WI Ophthalmic Assistant Apprenticeship Program
Program Overview 

SSM Health offers an Ophthalmic Assistant Registered Apprenticeship program in partnership with Madison College and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. Open to both incumbent workers and those external to the organization, apprentices will maintain full-time employment and pay with SSM Health. Instruction and materials are provided at no cost to the participants. The 18-month program includes 9 months of coursework and on-the-job training followed by 9 months of clinical training at one of our eye care clinics.  

Required Competencies

Course Work

  • Ophthalmic Pre-Testing
  • Basic Optical Concepts
  • Ocular Anatomy
  • Human Relations
  • Clinical Ophthalmic Procedures
  • Contact Lenses
  • Ophthalmic Specialty Testing
  • Patient Relations
  • Preclinical Lab

Clinical & Lab Experience

  • Clinical Rotation

Program Eligibility

  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Reside in Wisconsin
  • Reliable transportation to SSM Health clinic locations and Madison College campus 
  • Maintain a performance rating of “meets expectations” or higher
  • Maintain a grade of "C" or better in all coursework (non-passing grades may result in program removal)
  • Sign and agree to the terms of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Apprenticeship Program
  • Complete First Aide and CPR training during the first year of the program

Program Length

  • Complete all course work and clinical rotations within a 18 month period
  • Participate and attend all in-person/virtual classroom and clinical sessions as required by the program on paid work time
  • Complete all homework assignments outside of the classroom on your own unpaid time

Program Benefits

  • Minimal out-of-pocket program costs; SSM Health will cover the cost of tuition, books, lab materials, instructional resources, academic support, tutorial services, and the professional licensing exam
  • This is a full-time student role that is eligible for full-time benefits
  • At the time of graduation, your pay rate will be assessed based on certification status, experience, and internal equity 
  • Work as an Ophthalmic Assistant at SSM Health*

​​​​​​​* Graduates are required to fulfill a 24-month work commitment after successful program completion. Failure to complete the 24-month work commitment requires reimbursement for the full cost of the program.



Please contact WIMedicalGroupOperations@ssmhealth.com with questions about the Wisconsin OA Apprenticeship Program.

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