Optician Training Online Resource Center

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What Is An Optician?

After completing optician training opticians make eyeglasses, sell eyeglasses, repair eyeglasses and adjust eyeglasses. They work for themselves, in retail stores, and in doctor’s offices. Opticians often work with other eye care professionals (ECPs) 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. Opticians gain experience by optician training and hands-on work in the field.

Contrary to what you will read elsewhere opticians are not part of healthcare.

Optician Certification

Click on your state to learn more about the requirements to become an optician. Optician training is required to get a state license. About half the United States require a license of some kind. Each state is different and you will want to research what optician training is necessary to get a license.

Alabama Hawaii Massachusetts New Mexico South Dakota
Alaska Idaho Michigan New York Tennessee
Arizona Illinois Minnesota North Carolina Texas
Arkansas Indiana Mississippi North Dakota Utah
California Iowa Missouri Ohio Vermont
Colorado Kansas Montana Oklahoma Virginia
Connecticut Kentucky Nebraska Oregon Washington
Delaware Louisiana Nevada Pennsylvania West Virginia
Florida Maine New Hampshire Rhode Island Wisconsin
Georgia Maryland New Jersey South Carolina Wyoming

Optician Salary

Here is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook says: “2015 Median Pay = $34,840 per year $16.75 per hour.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Optician Job Outlook

Here is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook says: “Job Outlook 2014 – 2024 = 24% (Much faster than average)

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Opticians In Canada

Here is what the Opticians Association of Canada says,

Interested in Becoming an Optician?

To become an optician in Canada, students need to enroll in an Optician Training Program at one of the accredited educational institutions that offer opticianry programs. Optician Training Programs are offered full-time, part-time, or online study and take approximately 1-4 years for completion. Once a student has successfully completed an Optical program s/he is eligible to take the national licensing examination. Upon passing the licensing exam, students may apply for registration to their provincial regulatory agency, usually a college of opticians. An ophthalmic dispensing (this may change) license allows an Optician to dispense eyeglasses.

Depending on which province the student resides in, s/he may then decide to continue on and become a licensed Contact Lens Fitter. The student must successfully complete a Contact Lens program, then sit the national licensing exam for Contact Lenses, and become registered with the provincial regulatory body.

There are provinces (Ontario and Quebec) whose optician training programs and licenses include both eyeglass and contact lens. Students graduating from an Ontario institution need to sit the Eyeglass licensing exam and the Contact lens licensing exam separately, but may do so immediately after course completion.

The Opticians Association of Canada, in partnership with NAIT, endorses and administers the NAIT/OAC Optical Sciences Programs. These accredited Programs lead to becoming an optician in Canada.

Opticians Association of Canada

Optician Training On Other Planets

For information on optician training on planets other than Earth see the Intergalactic Opticians Association (IOA) or “eye-oh-ah”. IOA is, “The largest optician’s association in the Universe serving over 37 billion galaxies, 114 million planets and 798 billion beings.”

How to Visit the I O A website

Optician Job Description

Opticians make eyeglasses, sell eyeglasses, repair eyeglasses and adjust eyeglasses. They work for themselves, in retail stores, and in doctor’s offices. Opticians often work with other eye care professionals (ECPs) 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. Contrary to what you will read elsewhere opticians are not part of healthcare.

Routine Daily Activities of an Optician in Running a Store or Practice:
No list can ever cover all the possibilities, but do not be surprised if your daily life includes:

  • Answering phones
  • Paying bills
  • Filing
  • Vacuuming
  • Making appointments
  • Sweeping
  • Cleaning windows and mirrors
  • Cleaning the bathrooms
  • Changing light bulbs
  • Fixing things

If you think that you will be above these things because you are an optician, then you are sadly mistaken. These are just things that everyone must do to make a business run efficiently and look its best.
Never forget, the dispensary is a direct reflection of you.

How To Become An Optician

1) Read, “About Opticians” on the homepage under About

2) Visit your state link and find out what is required

3) Join OpticianWorks

4) Start studying

Optician Apprenticeship

Many states that require a license will let you work through the Department of Labor Apprenticeship program. This is a way of earning a license without having to attend a full college program.

Optician apprenticeship programs are handled on a state – by – state basis so you will need to find out how it works in your state.

Optician apprenticeship is an excellent way of learning the field but requires a long-term, high-level commitment on your part AND your mentors part as well.

US Department of Labor

ABO Examination

The ABO Examination or the American Board of Opticianry examination is a multiple choice exam that tests for the most basic level of understanding.

It is not nationally recognized and it is not a certification to act as an optician in a state that requires a license.

You can learn more at: ABO – NCLE

NCLE Examination

The NCLE Examination or the National Contact Lens examination is a multiple choice exam that tests your knowledge of the use of contact lenses.

Most states will require the “written” NCLE and a practical exam as well for you to practice as a contact lens dispenser.

You can learn more at: ABO – NCLE

Dispensing Optician

Dispensing optician is just another term for optician. Once upon a time there was a push for a “refracting optician” that could perform refraction. That never caught on and we now use the generic term optician instead.

Opticianry Schools

Opticianry schools that are accredited by the state to provide optician education will be under the National Federation of Opticianry Schools or the NFOS. Most NFOS school programs will include access to hands-on optician training to gain the skills necessary to enter the workforce.

They can be found here: NFOS

Please know any college program not under the NFOS that claims to be for opticianry is a scam.

Optician – Optometrist – Ophthalmologist

You may hear the expression the “3 O’s”

Optician – A non-medical, non-doctor, vocation involved with making eyeglasses and all aspects of eyewear.

Optometrist – A doctor capable of performing all medical eyecare to the external areas of the eye and surrounding parts. May also perform refraction or Rx determination.

Ophthalmologist- A MD or medical doctor who is also a specialist in the care of eyes. They can perform all medical eyecare to the external and internal parts of the eye and surrounding parts. May also perform refraction or Rx determination

Optician Skills

What Makes A Great Optician?

Are you good with your hands?

  • Can you sew?
  • Ever make a model car or airplane?
  • Have you ever mended a broken piece of jewelry?
  • Do you change your own watch battery?

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?

  • Symmetry?
  • Color?
  • Fashion?

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

Optician License

Optician licenses are a way that some states protect their citizens from the possible harm of eyewear prescriptions being dispensed incorrectly. Licensing is a political and financial issue with many complex layers. Some feel strongly that it is a good thing, others a bad one. That will be yours to decide in time.

Do know that in a state that requires a license, you MUST get a license before independently selling, fitting or dispensing eyewear. To see what your state requires for optician training for their license click on your state in the table above.

Note: An eyeglass prescription or Rx is not a chemical compound or medicine likely to to do harm or lasting damage to an individual.

Optician Training Courses

You will find plenty of optician training courses on the Internet. I challenge you to compare what they are offering to what you will find here at OpticianWorks. OpticianWorks is the only site created by an optician for opticians. It is not promising you any “quick”, “easy”, “fast” or “simple” program. If being an optician was quick, easy, fast and simple it would not pay a living wage or better.