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Become An Optician

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Working As An Optician

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Deal with People

  • $74,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Optician Do

Dispensing opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. They also help customers decide which eyeglass frames or contact lenses to buy.

Duties

Opticians typically do the following:

  • Receive customers’ prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Measure customers’ eyes and faces, such as the distance between their pupils
  • Help customers choose eyeglass frames and lens treatments, such as eyewear for occupational use or sports, tints or anti-reflective coatings, based on their vision needs and style preferences
  • Create work orders for ophthalmic laboratory technicians, providing information about the lenses needed
  • Adjust eyewear to ensure a good fit
  • Repair or replace broken eyeglass frames
  • Educate customers about eyewear—for example, show them how to care for their contact lenses
  • Perform business tasks, such as maintaining sales records, keeping track of customers’ prescriptions, and ordering and maintaining inventory

Opticians who work in small shops or prepare custom orders may cut lenses and insert them into frames—tasks usually performed by ophthalmic laboratory technicians. For more information, see the profile on dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians.

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How To Become An Optician

Opticians typically have a high school diploma or equivalent and receive some form of on-the-job training. Some opticians enter the occupation with an associate’s degree or a certificate from a community college or technical school. About half of the states require opticians to be licensed.

Education and Training

Opticians typically have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn job skills through on-the-job training. Training includes technical instruction in which, for example, a new optician measures a customer’s eyes or adjusts frames under the supervision of an experienced optician. Trainees also learn sales and office management practices. Some opticians complete an apprenticeship, which typically takes at least 2 years.

Other opticians complete a postsecondary education program at a community college or technical school. These programs award a 2-year associate’s degree or a 1-year certificate. As of 2015, the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation accredited 22 programs in 14 states.

Education programs typically include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. Coursework includes classes in optics, eye physiology, math, and business management, among other topics. Students also do supervised clinical work that gives them hands-on experience working as opticians and learning optical math, optical physics, and the use of precision measuring instruments. Some programs have distance-learning options.

The National Academy of Opticianry offers the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program (OCPP), a program designed for individuals who are already working in the field. The OCPP offers opticians another way to prepare for licensure exams or certifications.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

About half of the states require opticians to be licensed. Licensure usually requires completing formal education through an approved program or completing an apprenticeship. In addition, opticians must pass one or more exams to be licensed. The opticianry licensing board in each state can supply information on licensing requirements.

Opticians may choose to become certified in eyeglass dispensing or contact lens dispensing or both. Certification requires passing exams from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). Nearly all state licensing boards use the ABO and NCLE exams as the basis for state licensing. Some states also require opticians to pass state-specific practical exams.

In most states that require licensure, opticians must renew their license every 1 to 3 years and must complete continuing education requirements.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Opticians are often responsible for the business aspects of running an optical store. They should be comfortable making decisions and have some knowledge of sales and inventory management.

Communication skills. Opticians must be able to listen closely to what customers want. They must be able to clearly explain options and instructions for care in ways that customers understand.

Customer service skills. Because some opticians work in stores, they must answer questions and know about the products they sell. They interact with customers on a very personal level, fitting eyeglasses or contact lenses. To succeed, they must be friendly, courteous, patient, and helpful to customers.

Decisionmaking skills. Opticians must determine what adjustments need to be made to eyeglasses and contact lenses. They must decide which materials and styles are most appropriate for each customer on the basis of their preferences and lifestyle.

Dexterity. Opticians frequently use special tools to make final adjustments and repairs to eyeglasses. They must have good hand-eye coordination to do that work quickly and accurately.

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Optician Career Paths

Optician
Technician Team Leader Assistant Manager
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Store Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Office Manager
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist Accountant
Accountant And Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Specialist Account Executive
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Medical Coder Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Manager Store Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Manager Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Supervisor Assistant Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Optician General Manager Account Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Optician General Manager Business Manager
Business To Business Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Optician General Manager Territory Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Shift Leader Supervisor Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Shift Leader Customer Service Manager Collections Manager
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Shift Leader Customer Service Manager Call Center Manager
Contact Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Laboratory Supervisor
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Laboratory Supervisor Laboratory Manager
Optical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Supervisor Account Manager Commercial Account Manager
Commercial Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Supervisor Product Manager Product Management Director
Chief Product Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Supervisor Territory Manager Territory Business Manager
Area Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Optician?

Average Yearly Salary
$74,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$35,000
Min 10%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$157,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Shopko
Highest Paying City
Saint Cloud, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.4 years
How much does an Optician make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Optician in the United States is $74,996 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $35,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $158,000.

Real Optician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Optician Helen Yoon Buena Park, CA Jul 18, 2016 $47,923
Optician Italee Optometric Center, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 10, 2015 $40,123
Optician Italee Optics, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 07, 2011 $36,587
Optician Italee Optometric Center, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Dec 20, 2010 $36,587
Optician Nelson T. Murata Simi Valley, CA Jul 01, 2010 $35,479
Optician Eye Connect Torrance, CA Nov 02, 2010 $34,549
Optician Kim's Eyeland Optical, Inc. Duluth, GA Oct 17, 2007 $31,928

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Top Skills for An Optician

  1. Contact Lens Orders
  2. Customer Service
  3. Insurance Companies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Processed eyeglass and contact lens orders, which includes pricing, measuring, collecting money, coding and documenting patient charts.
  • Provided excellent customer service, examining issues and solving problems effectively
  • Communicated with insurance companies to request information regarding patient eligibility, deductibles, and prior authorizations.
  • Perform preliminary eye exams including optical measurements.
  • Prepare work order for optical laboratory containing instructions for lens options and frame information.

Optician Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 16,337 Optician resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Optician Resume

View Resume Examples

Optician Demographics

Gender

Female

71.2%

Male

20.6%

Unknown

8.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.3%

Hispanic or Latino

19.5%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.3%

Russian

3.4%

French

3.2%

Arabic

2.7%

Vietnamese

2.2%

Hindi

2.2%

German

2.2%

Polish

1.7%

Mandarin

1.5%

Korean

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Italian

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%

Urdu

1.0%

Swedish

0.7%

Gujarati

0.7%

Carrier

0.7%

Hmong

0.7%

Ukrainian

0.5%

Thai

0.5%
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Optician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.1%

All American Career College

14.5%

University of Houston

6.8%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

6.3%

Kaplan University

5.4%

The Academy

4.4%

Baker College

3.9%

Everest Institute

3.5%

Ferris State University

3.3%

Houston Community College

3.1%

Liberty University

3.1%

New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

3.0%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

2.9%

Erie Community College

2.8%

College of DuPage

2.8%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

2.8%

American InterContinental University

2.6%

Tulsa Community College

2.6%

Saint Louis Community College

2.5%

University of Missouri - Columbia

2.5%
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Majors

Business

20.7%

Health Care Administration

9.5%

Medical Assisting Services

8.6%

Nursing

7.0%

Psychology

6.8%

General Studies

6.2%

Biology

4.5%

Criminal Justice

4.3%

Accounting

4.0%

Education

3.4%

Physics

3.3%

Communication

3.0%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

Ophthalmic And Optometric Support Services

2.7%

Cosmetology

2.6%

Management

2.4%

English

2.2%

Medical Technician

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%

Nursing Assistants

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

37.8%

Bachelors

27.6%

Associate

18.9%

Certificate

6.1%

Masters

4.2%

Diploma

3.6%

License

1.1%

Doctorate

0.7%
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What is it like to work as an Optician

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November 29, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Optician.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Optician?

You get to meet new people every day and help them see. Finding the best frame for them, depending on their prescription and their style... Show More

What do you NOT like?

You will find some people that are not easy to please when it comes to glasses and make you job harder than it has to be... Show More

How Would You Rate Working As an Optician?

Are you working as an Optician? Help us rate Optician as a Career.

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