Optician Technician Career
Also just known as opticians, optician technicians take eye measurements and create work orders for the ophthalmic lab techs who will make the eye glasses. Opticians often help clients choose glasses and sometimes repair them or assure a good fit by making adjustments. Those working in small shops may also grind or cut lenses to fit frames. Administrative office duties are often required, in addition. Evening and weekend work hours might be necessary for those employed in large retail stores.
Opticians should have strong customer service skills, communication skills, management skills, manual dexterity, and familiarity with point of sale and project management software. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that opticians focusing on dispensing eyewear earned a median annual salary of $37,840.
Get an Education
Most optician technicians must hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent to gain employment. During high school, prospective optician technicians should take courses in mathematics, science, and computer technology. Some technical schools and community colleges offer industry-related courses for students interested in obtaining formal opticianry education. Some states have accredited associate's degree programs for opticians. Certificate programs are also available.
Get On-the-Job Training
Many employers prefer to train their optician technicians themselves. New hires typically work under the guidance of an experienced optician technician and begin with tasks such as adjusting frames. Training generally lasts 12 months. Apprenticeships are offered by some companies.
Optician technicians are required to be licensed in many states. In order to qualify for licensure, individuals generally need to complete an apprenticeship or a formal education program. Specific requirements vary by state, but optician technicians must also pass state exams. Optician technicians must participate in continuing education opportunities and periodically renew their licenses.
Voluntary certification is available for optician technicians who want to increase their job opportunities, advance their careers, or take advantage of the other benefits of certification. Individuals may become certified in areas such as eyeglass dispensing and contact lens dispensing. To obtain certification, candidates must pass exams from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). Continuing education credits are required to meet certification renewal requirements.
Once more, optician technicians, also known as opticians, should have at least a high school diploma and some on-the-job training in the field. Depending on the state, licensure might also be required.