FREE AND LOW-FEE OPTIONS FOR ONLINE EDUCATION

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Nine ways your staff can learn—and even earn education credits—without also accumulating frequent flyer miles.

Staff training is a vitally important element in the success of every eyecare business, but because of its cost and inconvenience, it often is not done. Traveling to offsite conferences is expensive, and having several staff members away from work at one time can be challenging. Electronic technology can overcome many of these difficulties, often without significant expense. The following nine sources provide economical ways to train your staff electronically.


The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO)
There are numerous CE courses and leading-edge performance-based simulations for ophthalmic and paraoptometric techs online. The JCAHPO’s EyeCareCE site features the largest library of online CE courses for assistants, techs, contact lens fitters, ophthalmic photographers, nurses, orthoptists, and practice managers.


American Optometric Association (AOA)
The AOA hosts a Paraoptometric and Education Training Product Catalog with a range of courses and study guides available on CD-ROM. The review courses are excellent for preparing for an upcoming certification exam.


OpticianWorks
The OpticianWorks monthly membership offers 24/7 access to a complete 19-module online textbook with professional illustrations, images, how-to videos, and online review tests. OpticianWorks is ideal for newbie opticians looking to sit for the ABO exam or anyone wanting to improve their opticianry skills. Review test results can be emailed to the test taker’s manager for trouble-free tracking of results.


Totally Optical
Optical websites such as TotallyOptical.com have digital magazines with free courses, many which carry ABO credit. Interesting topics include children’s eyewear, frame selection, and free-form lenses. Whether your staff needs just a couple more credits, or could use training on a specific topic, these courses are a great resource.


CLSA University
Does your office work with contact lenses? Then CLSA University, a subsidiary of the Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA), is a go-to site for courses. The classes are categorized by introductory, basic, intermediate, and advanced levels. And with CLSA membership, over 80% of CLSA University courses are free, and many of them offer National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) CE credit.


ECP University
ECP University by Essilor of America Inc. is an exceptional solution for training all the members on your optical team. They offer an annual subscription for up to 30 staff per location and have course lists for new dispensers, management, and front desk staff. ECP University also offers an ABO Exam Prep program to successfully prepare for the ABO Basic Certification Exam. The exam prep features 24/7 online access, videos, game-based knowledge checks, whiteboard animation, downloadable study materials, and practice assessments.


Eye-Courses.com
Eye-Courses.com, part of The Tiger Institute of Cooperative Learning, is another site that offers training for both ophthalmic and optometric assistants. There is a wide variety of AOA and JCAHPO courses available, many for education credits, as well as prep courses for those seeking certification as an ophthalmic assistant or technician. To show that the website supports the quality of its material, Eye-Courses.com offers $50.00 back if a student does not pass JCAHPO’s technician test after using the website.


YouTube
There are numerous videos on opticianry and eyecare readily available for free viewing on YouTube. To find them, go to the search bar and enter “optician training” or “ophthalmic skills,” for example. Doing so, I found a great video lesson on Prentice’s Rule by Georgian College Opticianry Program. Explore YouTube and set up a training program.


Quantum Optical
Quantum Optical has a wide range of classes, some for ABO and NCLE credit. This organization will grade the course test immediately and send your credit directly to your email. Standard, gold, and platinum memberships are available with varying benefits. The comprehensive ABO and NCLE exam reviews contain four 2-hour modules with practice exams.
Online staff education is a great way for employees to continuously learn at their own pace with a program tailored for them, at a low-cost or even for free.


Kim Pickett, COMT, is a certified ophthalmic medical technologist and ophthalmic writer in Minneapolis, MN.

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