Work in Optician Science: Education and Career Roadmap

Aug 29, 2018

Learn how to work in optician science. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career in the optical field.

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  • 0:03 Should I Become an Optician?
  • 0:45 Career Requirements
  • 1:19 Steps to Become an Optician

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Should I Become an Optician?

Opticians, or optometric techncians, fill prescriptions for eyewear written by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Common duties may include making frame adjustments, maintaining customer records, taking facial measurements, and instructing clients in caring for their eyeglasses or contact lenses. Those employed in large retail stores might be scheduled to work evenings and weekends.

A high school diploma and on-the-job training are generally required to work as an optician, although some employers might prefer applicants who have completed a 1-year certificate or 2-year associate's degree program. Some states require licensure, and optional certifications are available.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma
Degree Field Opticianry
Licensure/Certification Some states require licensure; voluntary certification is available from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE)
Key Skills Management, communication, and customer service skills; knowledge of medical software, point of sale software, and project management software; strong manual dexterity and ability to use equipment such as calipers, lensometers, and screwdrivers
Median Annual Salary (2016)* $39,388 (for all opticians)

Source: *

Steps to Become an Optician

What steps do I need to take to become an optician?

Step 1: Meet the Educational Requirements

Optician science workers are typically required to earn at least a high school diploma. While in high school, students interested in the optician science field should take courses in mathematics, science, and computer technology.

To increase your chances of success, seek formal education. Students interested in formal training may take industry-related courses offered by some technical schools or community colleges. Along with certificate programs, some states have accredited associate's degree programs.

Step 2: Get On-the-Job Training

Optician science workers generally learn technical skills and procedures during job training programs. Experienced workers guide new hires through tasks such as taking eye measurements and adjusting frames. Training generally lasts 12 months. Some companies offer apprenticeships.

Step 3: Obtain Licensure

Optician science workers are required to obtain licensure in many states. Individuals generally need to complete an apprenticeship or a formal education program to qualify for licensure. Specific requirements vary by state, but optician technicians must also pass state exams. Continuing education and periodic license renewal are required in most states.

To enhance your opportunities for success, you might want to obtain certification. Voluntary certification is available for optician science workers, which may advance their careers. Individuals may become certified in areas such as eyeglass dispensing and contact lens dispensing. To qualify for certification, candidates must pass exams by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). To meet renewal requirements, candidates must accumulate continuing education credits.

Opticians fill prescriptions for eyewear. They have high school diplomas along with specific training or education. They're expected to have good management and communication skills in addition to the ability to handle industry software and tools proficiently, and they earn a median annual salary of $39,388.

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