Online associate's degree programs in opticianry provide students with education and training in all phases of the job. In these hybrid programs, students receive technical and theoretical instruction in order to assist clients with eyecare and vision needs. On-campus presence is required for some lectures, labs and clinical work.
Associate's Degree in Opticianry
Areas of study in these programs include dispensing theory, anatomy and physiology of the human eye and contact lens concepts. These programs are designed to prepare students to sit for their individual state's licensing examination as well as provide a foundation for further education.
Program Information and Requirements
Applicants typically must possess a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Fully online programs are rare; most curricula include a mix of online classes, on-campus lectures and laboratory/clinic work.
Online courses are viewed using online learning management systems, such as Blackboard, in order for students to communicate with professors and students through discussion boards and chat rooms. Students must have a computer that meets university hardware and software requirements, as well as Internet access.
Students explore practical methods in providing optical care to patients. They gain practical knowledge in ophthalmic patient and business management.
In this online course, students explore the basic, intermediate and advanced principles of optics and ophthalmic lens design. Major areas of study include an overview of optical formulas, optical terminology and calculations.
Theories and procedures of dispensing ophthalmic eyewear are covered in this course. Emphasis is placed on the patient-client communications, frame and lens materials and selection and prescription analysis.
Optician Business Management
This course provides an overview of basic management and leadership practices deemed essential to run an eye care business. Topics of discussion include critical thinking, strategic planning and implementation tactics.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 23 states require dispensing opticians to be licensed. Licensure requires students to complete an approved program and gain experience through an apprenticeship. Additionally, many states require opticians to pass an exam. Certification is also available through associations like the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE).
Graduates are generally qualified to sit for their state's licensing examination and upon successfully passing the test can pursue employment as registered optician and certified contact lens fitter. As of May 2015, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $34,840 for dispensing opticians.
Online training programs for opticians typically have online courses related to optical care, dispensing ophthalmic eyewear, and business and leadership strategies, paired with in-person clinical and lab work. Graduates may take their state's licensing exam, if required, to become a licensed optician.