Department of Ophthalmology Technician Training Program

The Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has a unique technician training program. Borne out of a need to increase staffing, the Department onboards candidates as Ophthalmic Technician Assistants – employees with full benefits, and in addition, six months of on-the-job training, lectures, and educational materials. After completion of the six-month program, the trainees are put into technician positions within the Department. Within the next six months, they are asked to take the ophthalmic assistant certification examination. In exchange, they commit to work for the Department for at least two years. It is a win-win proposition!

Pilot Graduation with Raynice Wroblewski, Dr. Finkelstein, Tiona White, and Jackson McLaughlin

Tiona White is a current Ophthalmic Technician who was part of the pilot program; she is now studying to take her first level of certification. Her previous supervisor thought the program might be something she should consider. Since she was in a dead-end job where she was not happy or fulfilled, she was receptive. She had never thought about a job like this but could not be more grateful that she found it.

“I liked that I was constantly learning new things and was being challenged,” she said of the program, which she calls important because “it gives people an opportunity to learn new things and forward your career into something completely different than what you might have planned for yourself.”

Not only is this the only training program in the Pittsburgh area, but it is the only one following this model. One benefit is the Department trains them the way they want to be trained. The career path opens many possibilities within ophthalmology depending on how far one wants to take it.

The program includes rotations with lectures, shadowing, and hands-on training. It is a slightly more expedited process than if they trained elsewhere – and they certainly would not be getting paid. The structure is a curriculum, managed by Raynice Wroblewski. There is now a pipeline with Manchester Bidwell for recruits. The plan is to have six people per cohort going forward.

Chelsea Leistner is currently going through the program as an Ophthalmic Technician Assistant. She started with the Department at the front desk and signed up for the program because she wanted to better herself and learn more about ophthalmology. “I like this program a lot,” she said. “I like working more hands on with the patients. I’ve learned a lot about how to get the patient ready for the doctor and how to work in imaging taking photos of the eyes.”

White has similar sentiments. She loves having a job where she never stops being pushed. “Ophthalmology changed my life for the better,” she said. “I would never regret my decision to join this program.”

Interested parties can contact Raynice Wroblewski at 412-232-8955 or