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Optometric Technician: Career Info & Requirements

Find out what an optometric technician does. Learn about the training and skills requirements, in addition to the salary expectation and employment outlook, to decide if this career might work for you.

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Career Definition

Optometric technicians work with optometrists to assist in carrying out eye examinations and treatments. Optometric technicians most frequently work in optometrists' offices, but they may also be employed in eye care clinics and other vision treatment facilities. An optometric technician's work responsibilities include testing patients' visual acuity, depth perception, pressure inside of the eye, color vision and pupil reflexes. In addition, they prepare exam schedules, ready exam rooms, assist in making or repairing eyeglasses, clean ocular equipment and other duties as needed.

How to Become an Optometric Technician

Education Required

To become an optometric technician, you should at least have your high school diploma. An optometric technician training program or 2-year, associate's degree will make you more competitive as an optometric technician. Common courses to help you prepare for a career in optometry include anatomy, physiology of the eye, optics, optometric procedures and optical devices.

Required Skills for a Career as an Optometric Technician

Working as an optometric technician will require that you have a good rapport with patients, communicate effectively with superiors, and be precise in your work. Basic math and physics skills, an ability to work well as part of a team and familiarity with common office applications will help you to succeed as an optometric technician.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for optometric technicians, who fall into the larger category of medical assistants, is quite good; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this field will grow by 29% from 2012-2022. The median annual earnings in 2012 for workers in this field were $29,370.

Alternate Career Options

Dental Assistant

Depending on state requirements, dental assistants might enter the profession with no postsecondary education, while others must complete an accredited program and pass a licensing exam. The duties of these assistants vary widely, from taking x-rays and providing patient care to handling administrative tasks. Much faster than average expansion of positions was expected by the BLS, with 25% growth predicted from 2012-2022. In 2012, a median annual salary of $34,500 was reported by the BLS.

Pharmacy Technician

State requirements vary, so some techs complete training programs with a licensing exam, while others learn their skills on the job to help licensed pharmacists dispense prescriptions. Faster than average growth was expected in this profession from 2012-2022, with a 20% increase of jobs predicted by the BLS. Median wages of $29,320 per year were reported by the BLS in 2012.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics