How to Become an Optician 

Revolutionizing the optical industry one optician at a time.

Face it, the state of optical licensing, certification, and organization are a mess. For years, traditional paths have been tried again and again, in an attempt elevate the profession of opticianry. None have met expectations.

The public is flocking to online retailers and shortcut methods of obtaining eyewear because the perception of optical is one largely based on fear, dread, and most recently suspicion that brick and mortar opticals are ripping them off.

We want to change that.

At OpticianWorks we believe the answers will not come from bureaucracy. We believe the answers lie in bottom-up approach beginning with you, the optician, and your ability to create, to elevate your skills from a craft to an art, to make real connections with your customers through your art, and finally to build and deliver an experience that can’t be found anywhere else. Technology has given you the power and the tools to reach farther than ever before, to break through traditional barriers, and build a tribe of passionate followers, upon which you can grow a successful business or career.

In choosing this path, not only can you find personal success, but you will begin to change the face of independent optical from one of fear, dread, and suspicion into one of a sought after experience that encompasses excitement, fashion, self-expression, and of course, the best vision possible.

From knowledge, to craft, to art, to inspiration, we provide it all. Just bring passion.

So, you're interested in becoming an optician.

Good for you!


Opticians make eyeglasses, sell eyeglasses, repair eyeglasses and adjust eyeglasses. They work in retail stores, in doctor’s offices or for themselves. Opticians often work with other eye care professionals (ECPs), doctors and some opticians fit and dispense contact lenses.

The primary job of an optician is to bring money in to a practice by making eyewear, being competent, knowledgeable and by offering appropriate products.

It really can be a great job.

You can make a real living wage and work under good conditions. Pay for an experienced and competent optician is actually quite good. Work hours are often flexible and the work is not at all physically demanding. Since stores are trying to appeal to shoppers the physical locations are often convenient and usually quite pleasant.

If you are seriously considering becoming an optician - SLOW DOWN and READ this entire page carefully - twice! 

Learning all the skills needed to be an optician is very hands-on so you will need to work in an optical shop, go to school or become an apprentice. OpticianWorks is the best way to learn about the job and to build a foundation to rapidly advance at your workplace.

Think About It — If becoming an optician was quick and easy and anyone could do it then you would not earn a living wage by being one!

What makes a good optician or ECP?

Are you good with your hands?

Can you sew?

Ever make a model car or airplane?

Can you repair small objects that are broken?

Have you ever mended a broken piece of jewelry?

Do you change your own watch battery?


Do you have some mechanical ability?

Can you work with basic hand tools?

Do you know the difference between a screw and a nail?

Do you know the difference between a nut and a bolt?

If something is broken do you usually try to fix it?


Do you have patience?

Can you really stick with something difficult and see it through?


Can you do basic math in whole numbers, fractions and decimals?

Do you remember your number line and negative numbers?


Can you work with people?

Note: You do not have to “love people” or be a “people person” but can you honestly work with other people and the public in a retail setting?


Do you have at least some eye for detail?





If you answer yes to the above questions then you may well make a great optician!

Things To Know About Certificates

No individual, no school, no college, no on-line program, no study guide, no manual can "certify" you as an optician. In the US certification and-or licensure is on a state-by-state basis. You may receive a certificate that states that you have passed a specific course of study or a particular exam but never one that certifies that you are an optician. Please re-read that! It is very important!

In the United States — FACT!

Even though you will see the words National and American in their titles:

There is NO nationally recognized certification for opticians.

There is NO legal and/or political national organization for opticians.

There is NO national testing program for opticians.

There is NO nationally agreed upon definition for the role of an optician.

Compare this with a field like nursing which does have national certification, national organization, national standard testing and nationally recognized guidelines for school programs.

There are only twenty-two states that require you to have a license to call yourself an optician. The other twenty-eight states have little or no requirements to dispense eyewear or make eyeglasses.

If you live in or plan to work in one of the following states, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia or Washington you will need to become a licensed optician through a state approved course of study and pass a written and perhaps a practical exam. This may include college courses, a full college associates (2 year) degree or apprenticeship through the Department of Labor program.

Check with your state agency a list of which can be found at:

 Opticians Association of America

How to Become an Optician

If you live in or plan to work in one of the following states, Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin or Wyoming there is no license required by the state to practice. I would still check with the state and ask a local optical store to be sure.


 About the ABO:

Many states use the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) written examination as all or part of their license process.

The ABO exam is a minimal competency, low passing score exam.

Passing it does not mean you are an optician.

If you have failed the ABO exam, even once, it is proof that you DO NOT understand key concepts and that you lack the foundation education you need to be an optician or competent ECP. You must reset your starting point and work through this entire site before attempting it again. Just trying until you pass is no way to improve the income potential for other opticians or ECPs. 

OpticianWorks offers a complete on-line education program. To work through the entire course of study you will need to apply yourself and study.

You will need time to:

  • Read all the lessons
  • Study and review each lesson
  • Take the provided on-line tests and review the answers you missed
  • Watch the videos
  • Explore the many resources provided through website links
  • Independently study other material
  • Visit to an optical lab and spend a few days at an optical shop