Upcoming Events

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Ophthalmic Apprenticeship in Wisconsin Responds to Growing Need

February 27 @ 8:00 am - March 8 @ 5:00 pm

Eye care is one of the many areas of the health sector that is struggling with a personnel shortage. The number of practicing ophthalmologists in the U.S. has been trending downward since the 1990s while the demand for doctors and technicians in the field is increasing.

In Madison, Wisconsin, SSM Health and Madison College responded to this growing need by establishing the state’s first Ophthalmic Assistant Registered Apprenticeship program to train up to seven students every year. Launched in 2023, the program is a partnership between SSM Health, Madison College, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.

Participants receive classroom instruction at Madison College and simultaneous on-the-job training at SSM Health eye care clinics. Clinical training continues for another nine months after classroom-based learning concludes. SSM Health pays the apprentices a salary and benefits as well as covering the cost of tuition, program materials, and the certified ophthalmic assistant exam. After completing the program, the students work as ophthalmic assistants with SSM Health, with a minimum two-year commitment.

“Wisconsin continues to expand apprenticeships serving in-demand industries throughout the state,” said David Polk, Director of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.

The Ophthalmic Assistant program is an indication of the increasing interest in non-traditional apprenticeship pathways, as businesses in many sectors seek new ways to expand their talent pools. The Department of Labor (DOL) hopes to encourage this trend. It has proposed new regulations (29 CFR part 29) that aim to expand Registered Apprenticeships beyond their traditional niche in construction and manufacturing into new industries such as medicine, education, and tech.


February 27 @ 8:00 am
March 8 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:
Event Tags: