How to Become an Optician in Arizona

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Having good eyesight is important to conduct a variety of chores throughout the day.

Opticians play a very important role for those with poor eyesight and there’s a strong demand for these professionals all across the country.

Read this article if you’re in need of a job and consider becoming an optician in Arizona!

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Get information on Optician Certification Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Optician Job Description and Duties in Arizona

Opticians have to make sure their clients get the correct eyewear for their needs and preferences.

They do this by completing tasks such as:

  • Preparing eyewear
  • Fitting and adjusting eyewear
  • Educating customers about eyewear issues and maintenance
  • Keeping sales records
  • Determining insurance co-pays
  • Keeping the inventory
  • Interacting with the labs that make lenses

Their duties don’t include inspecting the eyes nor writing prescriptions for eyewear.

Optician Job Requirements in Arizona

In Arizona, opticians don’t have to meet any specific prerequisites as far as licensing goes.

However, it is more difficult for someone without proper certification to find a job as an optician in this state.

Most employers will want to hire candidates who passed at least the American Board of Opticians (ABO) exam.

In some places, the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam is also needed, especially if the optician is to work with contact lenses.

When applying for a job, you might also be asked for:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Graduating from a training program or having a formal education
    • An associate’s degree diploma is highly appreciated by employers
  • Good interpersonal skills

Optician Education in Arizona

Even though Arizona doesn’t have any prerequisites as far as education and licensing go, some post-secondary schools offer programs for future opticians.

Below you can see the institutions in Arizona offering such programs.

Top 3 Schools in Arizona

School Name Address
Gateway Community College 108 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Midwestern University 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, Arizona 85308
University of Arizona 1200 E University Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85721

Before choosing a school, you’ll have to look at the requirements for enrollment into the program.

You could be asked for:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Completing specific classes with a minimum grade of C
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • OAT scores – not older than 5 years
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75

The Arizona College of Optometry, at the University of Arizona, offers a doctoral degree program with a duration of 4 years.

This program is on top of the 4-year program that awards a Bachelors’s degree that you need to obtain beforehand.

Through the program at the Gateway Community College, you can become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant.

This college offers an externship of 120 hours as part of the program you’ll attend.

This program has a duration of 7 months.

During an optometry educational program, you’ll study:

  • Introduction to Optometry
  • Ocular Anatomy
  • Systems 1: Neuroscience
  • Ocular Microbiology
  • Ophthalmic Imaging
  • Public Health Optometry
  • Glaucoma
  • Physics

Optician Certification in Arizona

The certification can only be obtained by those who receive some training.

The licensing body in Arizona is the State Board of Dispensing Opticians in this state.

The Board issues licenses to those who meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • A license in a reciprocal state
  • At least 3 years of experience
    • Can be an apprenticeship of 3 years in the past 6 years
    • Can be from working as an optician in a state with no licensing requirements
  • Graduate from an approved post-secondary optician program with a year of apprenticeship

You’ll need to pass the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) offered by ABO.

This exam has 3 levels of difficulty and focuses exclusively on spectacles:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The topics for the beginner level will cover:

  • Reading prescriptions,
  • Fitting and dispensing spectacles
  • Using standard ophthalmic equipment

Usually, the employers can cover the fee for the exam, of about $200.

Individuals who want to dispense contact lenses need to take and pass an additional exam.

This is the National Contact Lens Examiners and has the same levels of difficulty as ABO.

The name of this exam is Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) and its fee is also around $200, which can be covered by employers.

The following topics are part of this exam:

  • Pre-fitting for lenses,
  • Diagnostic fitting,
  • Dispensing of lenses,
  • Patient education,
  • Delivery
  • Follow-up

These certification exams can be taken in either English or Spanish.

You will be asked to provide the following when signing up for the exams:

  • Age over 18
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • To fill out an application
  • To pay some fees
  • A clean criminal record
  • Passing the State Practical Examination
  • Proof of completed training, education, or at least 3 years of experience

Opticians in Arizona must renew their license every 3 years by completing 12 credit hours of continuing education.

Optician Employment and Salary in Arizona

Opticians usually work in facilities such as these:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

On average, an optician from Arizona can earn at least $47,000 per year.

Your actual salary will vary on many different factors, such as your workplace, experience or the city you work in.

Annual Salary Range:
$40K
$47K
$66K

Average Salary of Opticians in Arizona

City Name Salary
Phoenix $47,446
Tucson $45,129
Mesa $47,453
Chandler $47,453
Scottsdale $47,453
Glendale $47,446
Gilbert $47,453
Tempe $47,453
Peoria $47,350
Surprise $47,030
* Salary information last updated 2021

Additional Information for Opticians in Arizona

These are the best resources for future and current opticians in Arizona:

  • American Board of Opticianry & National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • American Optometric Association
  • Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
  • National Optometric Association
  • Arizona Association of Dispensing Opticians
  • Arizona State Board of Dispensing Opticians
  • OptiCon
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