Do you want to work in the healthcare field without going to medical school?
In that case, you could consider becoming an optician.
This job is rewarding and offers many career opportunities.
But, before that, you should get some info regarding training and the licensing process.
So, continue reading the article below!
Optician Job Duties and Responsibilities
As an optician, you will be in charge of supplying eye-wear for your clients.
The eye-wear includes prescriptions glasses, contact lenses, as well as various other devices used by those with low vision.
One such device is a magnifying glass.
You will get to work in a store, an optometry office, or a clinic.
Some of your day to day job duties will include:
- Assisting your clients in choosing the right frames
- Measuring these frames to ensure they are a good fit
- Helping your clients understand how to use and care for their new frames
- Communicating with other labs and filling in prescriptions for your clients
As an optician, you’ll have to also teach your patients about the correct care they’ll have to offer to their eyewear.
This includes storage and cleaning, but not only.
For instance, when dispensing contact lenses, your patients will have to also learn how to put them in their eyes and how to remove them later on.
Optician Training And Certification Info
Just like with many other jobs, opticians should attend a program that will provide a diploma first.
In some states, you will also need to get a certification before you can get hired.
Even if your state does not require certification, you should still consider getting it.
This will provide you with better career opportunities down the road.
Getting a certification requires you to first enroll in a training program provided by an accredited school.
Keep in mind that you can choose to attend classes in person, but also online.
If you opt for online classes, you can have another job while studying to become an optician.
Some of the classes you will attend in school include the following:
- Orientation and Student Success Skills
- Computer Fundamentals
- Customer Service and Professional Communications I
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye
- Professional Practice
- Office Procedures
- Foundations of Optics
- Eyeglasses Theory
- Eyeglasses Lab
You can also decide whether you want to join a full-time program or a part-time one.
Programs for opticians vary in length and can last between one and up to three years.
You can also continue your studies and pursue a higher degree, for more job opportunities.
As a future optician, it is important to attend an apprenticeship program.
This is especially the case if you choose not to pursue higher education.
If you choose to get an associate’s degree, you should know that it usually lasts for about 2 years.
You will learn how to handle and dispense eye-wear.
During the program, you will get to attend theory classes but also do lab practice.
You will also be taught how to handle administrative tasks, which you will not learn in an apprenticeship.
To ensure you have a complete set of skills as an optician, ensure your training also covers patients with low vision.
Training Options For Opticians
Opticians have more training options to choose from.
Let’s have a look!
Post-secondary Training For Opticians
If you want to jump-start your career, you could get a post-secondary degree as an optician.
Such a program does not last for longer than 2 years, during which you will learn the necessary skills.
You will also get noticed by employers and find a job easier.
Job Training For Opticians
If you choose not to get a post-secondary degree, you can get training and experience on the job.
This means that you will have to look for a facility to hire you, and then complete your training there.
To do this, you need to have a high school diploma or GED.
While training, you will be supervised by an optician or an optometrist.
If you want to supervise other opticians, keep in mind that you need to be certified for a year at the minimum.
If you attended any number of hours in an opticianry school, these will count towards your apprenticeship hours.
National License for Opticians
After you are done with your training, you need to pass at least an exam.
The exams you will need to pass are:
- The National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE), provided through the American Board of Opticianry (ABO)
- The Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE), provided through the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE)
These exams need to be passed within 3 years of applying for certification.
These entities offer national certification that will be recognized all over the country.
Not all states require this national certification, but you should have it in case you want to relocate.
Out of the 50 US states, 21 require an optician license.
This is a list of the states that require the optician license:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
In case you were wondering, in Puerto Rico it’s also mandatory to have a license if you plan on becoming an optician.
Having national certification will also improve your chances to find a good job relatively fast.
Licenses for opticians are usually handled by the Board of Opticianry in the state you live in.
To apply for a license, some states have some particular requirements.
Some of these include getting an associate’s degree from an accredited school.
You should also finish an apprenticeship that lasts for over 6,000 hours.
Some states will accept you working there without a new license if:
- You have a certification and worked as an optician for the past 3 years
- You worked for 5 years in a state where a certification is not necessary
Of course, there are a few other prerequisites that you might have to complete.
Other requirements include being at least 18 years old and having a high-school diploma or a GED.
You should keep in mind that certifications also expire for a while.
To be able to keep working, you will need to renew them.
To do that, you should take some 20 additional hours of education.
Usually, certifications expire on the last day of December.
Salaries For Certified Opticians
If you want to become an optician, you are also probably wondering how much you will make.
This of course depends on where you live and your credentials.
If you live in a big city, you have much higher chances to earn more compared to those living in rural areas.
Becoming an optician is a good idea because this job is in demand lately.
This means that you will get many career opportunities and you will also find a job fast.
Plus, being an optician with a license can be rewarding if you like to work in the healthcare field.
Earning a certification as an optician is not a very difficult process since you normally only have to pass an exam or two.
Having credentials for this occupation can only be a benefit for you in the long run.
They can also help you move towards other career paths that are more or less related to the healthcare industry.