Optician assistants support opticians with duties including helping patients, fitting and adjusting lenses, maintaining machinery, and general office or retail duties. Typical requirements only include a high school diploma, but many employers prefer student's enrolled in an optician program. Positions do not require licensing or certification.
Optician assistants help an optician with any business-related tasks that don't require specialized technical training. It is an entry-level or intern position that is usually offered to workers interested in becoming opticians themselves. Applicants do not need postsecondary education, though it may improve employment chances.
|Required Education||High school diploma|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||24% for dispensing opticians|
|Median Salary (2016)**||$29,031 for optometric assistants|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com
Education Requirements for Optician Assistants
Optician assistants need very little education. Some employers ask for no more than a high school diploma coupled with a year of related work experience. Nor do state laws specify a level of training for the position. However, many opticians prefer applicants who want to pursue a career in the profession and give preference to students enrolled in an optician certificate or associate's degree program.
An optician certificate or associate's degree program trains students in basic eye care and vision correction. It is likely to include courses in optics, eye anatomy, eye care and lens fabrication.
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There are no licenses or certifications required for optician assistants. Apart from standard labor laws it is an unregulated position. Successful assistants only need an interest in helping customer see better and supporting their employer.
Duties and Skills
An optician assistant's duties may include sawing, edging and polishing lenses, cleaning and lubricating optical machinery, interviewing patients about their needs and wants, assisting with frame choices, making follow-up adjustments and responding to patient complaints. They may also help with standard office chores, such as record keeping, data entry, order processing and inventory control. Essential abilities include manual dexterity, interpersonal communication skills, knowledge of medical terminology, knowledge of computer applications and attentiveness to detail.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to Payscale.com, as of January 2016, optometric assistants earned a median wage of $12.00 per hour. There is no hard data on employment prospects for optician assistants, but employment is likely to track very closely with employment of dispensing opticians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) projects 24% employment growth for dispensing opticians over the years 2014-2024. The vision correction needs of an aging population and increased awareness across all age groups of the need for regular eye exams are among the factors expected to drive growth.
Optician assisting is an entry-level job well suited for students working on an optician program or degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for opticians is far above the outlook for the job market as a whole.