Optician Assistant Training and Degree Program Information

Optician assistant certificate programs are vocational programs offered through community colleges and technical schools that are designed to provide students with the practical training necessary to help clients pick frames or contact lens.

Essential Information

Students enrolled in an optician assistant certificate program examine the basics of eye anatomy and physiology. They learn to take instruction from opticians and provide customer assistance. Many programs include courses in sales and customer relations. Specific tasks may include recommending lens coatings, frames and types of lenses.

Optician Assistant Certificate Programs

Certificate programs require a high school diploma or GED and high enough scores on the SAT or ACT. These programs are likely to include courses with practical, step-by-step instruction for working in a laboratory, fitting frames and working with customers. Some specific courses include:

  • Ophthalmic optics
  • Ocular anatomy
  • Optical laboratory techniques
  • Contact lens instrumentation
  • Frame fitting and selection
  • Glasses components

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Opticians are responsible for selling glasses and contact lenses. According to PayScale.com, optical assistants made a yearly salary ranging between $20,637 and $34,328 in January 2016. The job outlook for dispensing opticians is projected to grow by 24% from 2014-2024, whereas the outlook for ophthalmic laboratory technicians is expected to be 10% during the same decade. A large percentage of the population is entering their senior years and will need assistance (eyeglasses) in order to see properly, creating jobs for opticians and ophthalmic laboratory technicians (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education

To move up in the field from optician assistant to optician, individuals might consider completing an associate's degree program in opticianry. Additionally, 22 U.S. states require opticians to gain licensure by passing either a state examination or an examination given by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).

The optician assistant certificate programs prepare students in their future careers through courses in ophthalmic optics, ocular anatomy, optical laboratory techniques, and contact lens instrumentation. Earning an associate's degree in the field is optional, but can lead to a career as an optician after passing a licensure examination.

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