Jeff State offers new class

Published 10:16 am Friday, September 2, 2011

Jefferson State Community College has its sights set on potential students for a new career program in partnership with Clanton Eye Care called “Vision Care Assistant – Para-Optometric.”

The program consists of a 10-week class starting on Sept. 27 that will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 p.m.

“It is a brand new program,” said Kay Potter, director of corporate and community education at Jeff State. “That’s why we’re so excited about it.”

Potter said the program will train students to be vision care assistants, also called para-optometrics, in optometry offices.

Para-optometrics can assist optometrists by preparing exam rooms and equipment in the back office, or by working in the front reception area.

“They can actually do some of the testing under the supervision of the physician,” Potter said. “(The program) helps people prepare for an entry-level job.”

On Tuesdays, students will meet in a classroom on Jeff State’s campus in Clanton. On Thursdays, they will meet at the Clanton Eye Care office for hands-on experience in an actual work environment.

“Everything is real-life, real-time experience,” Potter said. “It’s a really great partnership for us. We love that this local business is allowing us to come in and help the community by training these young people.”

A Clanton Eye Care employee is the instructor of the class, and students will practice on each other at the office after hours.

“There are no patients in the building while they’re practicing,” Potter said.

At the end of the course, students will receive a certificate of completion for the non-credit Community Education class.

“We call it fast-track, because very quickly you learn the skill that you need to be competitive in the work world,” Potter said. “This is how you get your foot in the door.”

After working in the field for a certain amount of time, students may be eligible to sit for national certification exams.

“(This) gives you another credential for the work force,” Potter said. “There are two or three levels of certification. Your wages and responsibilities increase as you go.”

A high school diploma or GED is required to take the class, along with a completed registration form, a $799 fee and about $150 for the required textbook.

The registration form can be found at

Potter said students need to register by Tuesday, Sept. 27, which is the first day of class.

For more information, call (205) 856-7710.