Congratulations on your decision to start or expand your career as an optician!
The opticianry industry is in high demand and has shown no signs of slowing down. Your decision to pursue optician training has put you in a unique position to benefit from a high paying job and a long-lasting career.
Optician Training requirements vary from state to state. Tracking down the specifics for your state can be time consuming and frustrating. This is why we have created a convenient and easy-to-use resource that details the requirements of each state. You can quickly get started by selecting your state below to read more about your local optician training requirements.
An optician is an important member of the eye care team. Opticians are paid to assist customers as they select eyeglasses and contact lenses. It is the optician’s job to make sure the customer is satisfied with the style, appearance, and comfort of the eyeglasses and contact lenses that they are purchasing. The optician represents an important part of the customer experience and can have a significant impact on the success of an optical practice.
Most opticians work in an eye care office that provides medical services in addition to eyeglasses and contact lenses. These offices are typically owned and operated by optometrists or ophthalmologists. Opticians can also be found in many types of retail settings including big box retailers and small specialty boutiques. With such a diverse set of job opportunities, it is no surprise that opticians are in such high demand.
The tasks included in the optician job description will vary depending on the employer, but there are some basic tasks that all opticians will generally be expected to perform. In a large office setting, the optician may have the sole responsibility of helping patients to select eye wear and contact lenses. In a small office, an optician may be asked to take on responsibilities that might otherwise be performed by a receptionist or an optometric technician.
Some basic optician tasks may include:
- Fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Interpreting prescriptions written by optometrists and ophthalmologists
- Helping customers decide which products to purchase
- Taking measurements for lenses
- Following up with customers to determine satisfaction levels
In smaller optical shops, the optician may also be expected to perform general office upkeep, inventory tracking, lens customizations, work order creation, frame restocking, and other minor tasks. One of the nice aspects of this career field is the ability to select from a large number of employers who offer a lot of variability in the optician job description. This enables opticians to select employers that match their desired work environment. Few professions provide such a unique opportunity to tailor the work environment to an individual’s set of skills.
Opticians are in very high demand, in part, because of the large optical market. As mentioned previously, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the optician job market to grow by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020. The aging population is expected to fuel this growth through an increase in demand for vision related products and services. Along with the rapid increase in the older segment of the population is the rise in the popularity of eye wear as a functional and fashionable accessory.
The eye wear industry has become a billion dollar market worldwide and consumers are showing a strong interest in continuing to purchase eyeglasses in large numbers. Very few industries enjoy this kind of growth and there has never been a better time to consider a career as an optician.
As long as you are able to meet the optician training requirements in your state, you are certain to find an excellent job with long-term security. With so many retail optical outlets, your ability to choose the best fit for you ensures that you will find enjoyment and satisfaction in the services you are providing to customers. Remember, training requirements will vary between states and you should select your state above to learn more about what you will need to do in order to become an optician. Some states do require opticians to be licensed while others have no requirements.
The first step toward a rewarding career as an optician is to research the training requirements in your state. States can vary a lot when it comes to education, training, and certification expectations and you do not want to be blindsided by requirements that you were not aware of. Some states have yet to pass legislative requirements for opticians. These states generally allow optical employers to set their own standards for what they expect from opticians.
Other states, like North Carolina, require extensive training and certification in order to become an optician. Most states will, at least, require a high school diploma or equivalent and a background check. States that require formal education and training will generally expect an optician to complete either a 2-year Associates Degree or an Apprenticeship. They will then typically ask that an optician pass the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) Exam, the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Exam, and a state licensing exam.
It is important to review the education, training, and certification requirements in your state prior to pursuing a position as an optician. Fortunately, we have done most of the work for you by providing the majority of the details you will need to start a career in this rewarding industry. Each state-specific page above provides information about regulations that affect the optician profession in your area and contains convenient links to government offices, state forms, and important industry organizations.
The American Board of Opticianry (ABO) is a non-profit organization which offers voluntary certifying exams for individuals seeking to further enhance their optician credentials. Although ABO Certification is not required in all states, it is generally recognized as an indication that you have achieved a nationally standardized level of competence. There are many benefits that come with certification and you should understand how the additional credential could advance your career.
Some of the benefits of ABO Certification include:
- Provides evidence that you are qualified and competent
- Increases your earning power and job opportunities
- May be your only credential in non-licensing states
- Ensures that you will be accepted by managed care as a provider
States that have optician regulations will generally require that opticians complete these exams. Opticians in these states have an advantage when it comes to completing the exams because they have typically had at least two years of formal education and training. Optical employers in unregulated states may require or encourage opticians to voluntarily complete both the ABO and NCLE exams. These credentials are important to employers because they can use them as a marketing advantage over competitors. ABO and NCLE credentials prove that opticians have met national standards of competence and are highly qualified to provide optical products and services to customers. Opticians who work in unregulated states should invest significant time and effort in preparing for the exams.