Schools for Aspiring Opticians: How to Choose

Nov 29, 2017

Opticians assist individuals with selecting and fitting their corrective lenses based on the prescription provided by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Find out more about the criteria for selecting an optician program by reading below, and see some U.S. schools that offer optician programs.

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Though a high school diploma and on-the-job training may be all that is needed to begin working as an optician, those desiring more formal education could enroll in a certificate or associate degree program. Programs can be found at community colleges and technical schools.

10 Schools with Optician Programs

These ten institutions have career preparation programs for aspiring opticians:

University/College Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (In-state, 2015-2016)*
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Associate $2,753
Camden County College Blackwood, NJ 2-year, Public Associate, Certificate $4,440
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Associate, Certificate $2,805
Erie Community College Buffalo, NY 2-year, Public Associate $5,189
Essex County College Newark, NJ 2-year, Public Associate, Certificate $7,358
Goodwin College East Hartford, CT 4-year, primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit Associate $19,950
Hocking College Nelsonville, OH 2-year, Public Associate $4,390
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Associate $2,834
Seattle Central College Seattle, WA 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Associate $3,891
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute Albuquerque, NM 2-year, Public Associate $1,095

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Think about the following as you select an optician program:

  • Most states require opticians to be licensed; if you live in one of these states, make sure that programs fulfill the necessary educational requirements and provide adequate exam preparation.
  • Even if your state does not require licensure, certificate and associate degree programs can improve job prospects by providing knowledge and experience.
  • If you want to specialize in a certain subfield, such as crafting, finishing and fabrication of lenses, make sure the program emphasizes training in that area.
  • Associate's degree programs provide general education in addition to career-focused training, so you can choose between them based on your educational interests and goals.

Certificate of Completion - Opticians

A certificate program for aspiring opticians varies greatly in curriculum and length according to state mandate. The theory and practice of opticianry, such as lens fitting and dispensing, are the typical focus of such programs. Clinical experiences in the form of apprenticeships or practicums are included.

Associate Degree for Opticians

Associate degree programs for aspiring opticians are designed to be completed in four semesters through 2-year and 4-year colleges. Programs located in states requiring licensure are typically designed to prepare for the requirements of a certification examination. Clinical experiences are typically included.

Aspiring opticians can get academic and practical training from associate's degree and undergraduate certificate programs. They may also provide preparation for licensure in states where it is required.

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