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Optical technicians work in laboratories to produce prescription lenses for eyeglasses and contact lenses. They are also known as ophthalmic lab technicians. They produce optical instruments lenses, such as binoculars and telescopes. The optical technician uses a lensmeter to inspect completed lenses and then uses a protective coating to fit eyeglass frames, cameras, or telescopes before shaping the lenses. Optical technicians are also repairing damaged eyeglasses.

The production of lenses requires the use of machines that perform tasks such as cutting, grinding, cutting, and finishing. While many technicians are still grinding and edge lenses by hand, they are expected to know how to operate each machine. Optical technicians work with computer-based generators, automatic edgers, lens measurement instruments, and small hand tools.

A high school diploma or GED is the basic level of education required for a career as an optical technician. Many optical technicians gain knowledge and skills through on-the-job training. However, vocational, technical, and community colleges offer certificates or associate degree programs to become optical technicians.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being an optical technician. For example, did you know that they make an average of $16.85 an hour? That's $35,058 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 7% and produce 5,400 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does an Optical Technician Do

There are certain skills that many optical technicians have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed business skills, communication skills and customer-service skills.

Learn more about what an Optical Technician does

How To Become an Optical Technician

If you're interested in becoming an optical technician, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 26.6% of optical technicians have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 2.2% of optical technicians have master's degrees. Even though some optical technicians have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become an optical technician. When we researched the most common majors for an optical technician, we found that they most commonly earn associate degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on optical technician resumes include high school diploma degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become an optical technician. In fact, many optical technician jobs require experience in a role such as cashier. Meanwhile, many optical technicians also have previous career experience in roles such as sales associate or customer service representative.

Optical Technician Career Paths

Average Salary for an Optical Technician

Optical Technicians in America make an average salary of $35,058 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $47,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Optical Technician Salary
$35,058 Yearly
$16.85 hourly
$26,000
10 %
$35,000
Median
$47,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Optical Technician Education

Optical Technician Majors

17.2 %

Optical Technician Degrees

Associate

31.6 %

Bachelors

26.6 %

High School Diploma

24.8 %

Top Colleges for Optical Technicians

1. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

6. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

7. Maine Maritime Academy

Castine, ME • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,478
Enrollment
979

8. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

9. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

10. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

Top Skills For an Optical Technician

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.4% of optical technicians listed dexterity on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Optical Technician Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Optical Technician templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Optical Technician resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Optical Technician Demographics

Optical Technician Gender Distribution

Female
Female
63%
Male
Male
37%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among optical technicians, 63.2% of them are women, while 36.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among optical technicians is White, which makes up 68.4% of all optical technicians.

  • The most common foreign language among optical technicians is Spanish at 59.6%.

Online Courses For Optical Technician That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Optical Engineering
coursera

The courses in this specialization can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5600-5602, part of CU Boulder's Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Enroll here.\n\nOptical instruments are how we see the world, from corrective eyewear to medical endoscopes to cell phone cameras to orbiting telescopes. This course will teach you how to design such optical systems with simple graphical techniques, then transform those pencil and paper designs to include real optical components incl...

Introduction To Fiber Optic Cabling
udemy
4.5
(314)

Welcome! This course is designed to give you a good understand of fiber optics and fiber data transmission...

Optical Efficiency and Resolution
coursera

This course can also be taken for academic credit as ECEA 5601, part of CU Boulder's Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Optical instruments are how we see the world, from corrective eyewear to medical endoscopes to cell phone cameras to orbiting telescopes. This course will teach you how to design such optical systems with simple mathematical and graphical techniques. The first order optical system design covered in the previous course is useful for the initial design of an opti...

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Best States For an Optical Technician

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an optical technician. The best states for people in this position are Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington. Optical technicians make the most in Oregon with an average salary of $49,271. Whereas in Hawaii and Alaska, they would average $48,410 and $47,398, respectively. While optical technicians would only make an average of $43,847 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Optical Technician Jobs:
94
Highest 10% Earn:
$52,000
Location Quotient:
1.82 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Montana

Total Optical Technician Jobs:
64
Highest 10% Earn:
$52,000
Location Quotient:
0.9 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oregon

Total Optical Technician Jobs:
191
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
0.75 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Optical Technicians

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Top Optical Technician Employers

Most Common Employers For Optical Technician

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Sears Holdings$46,216$22.2239
2Costco Wholesale$43,428$20.8814
3Corning Incorporated$43,082$20.7116
4JCPenney$42,390$20.38105
5Walmart$41,586$19.99119
6Raytheon Technologies$39,700$19.0910
7Sam's Club$37,789$18.1734
8Zayo Group$36,668$17.6313
9E Ink$35,435$17.049
10United States Marine Corps$35,058$16.8557

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