How to Become an Optician in Colorado

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Becoming an optician in Colorado is a good idea if you’re interested in a career in the medical field that has a strong demand for qualified personnel.

If we got your attention going, grab a cup of tea and continue reading this guide!

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Optician Job Description and Duties in Colorado

Opticians help individuals choose the best eyewear for their needs and preferences.

Most of the eyewear they help with is the kind that corrects the vision of the customers.

Here’s a list of the tasks that they complete the most, daily:

  • Reading and interpretation of prescriptions
  • 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

No optician is allowed to inspect the eyes nor to prescribe correction vision glasses.

Optician Job Requirements in Colorado

Opticians in Colorado don’t legally have to be licensed, but holding a license has many advantages.

If you’re interested in getting licensed, these are the licensing bodies:

  • The American Board of Opticians (ABO)
  • The National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) – optional

Most of the requirements are decided by the employers.

They could include the following:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Being at least 18, or in some cases, 21 years old
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • A clean criminal record, both at the state and federal levels

Optician Education in Colorado

Since Colorado doesn’t have strict prerequisites for future opticians, there aren’t many schools offering specialized training for the field either.

Below, you can see the two schools in this state that have some programs for those wanting to become opticians.

Top 2 Schools in Colorado

School NameAddress
Emily Griffith Technical College1860 Lincoln St 3rd floor, Denver, CO 80203
Pima Medical Institute7475 Dakin St, Denver, CO 80221

For instance, the Emily Griffith Technical College has a program for dispensing opticians.

This is a program with a duration of under one year, costing less than $800, and prepares the students for the national licensing exams.

The program at the Pima Medical Institute awards an Associates’ degree for future ophthalmic technicians.

If you want a different certificate or diploma, you can also search for a program in a different state or even online.

When choosing a program you’ll have to pay attention to the enrollment requirements, which could be:

  • 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

Once your training starts, you’ll be studying these subjects, among others:

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

Future opticians can also train as apprentices, but this depends on each employer.

Optician Certification in Colorado

We already established that there are two licensing bodies.

These are the exams they offer:

  • The National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) – ABO
  • The Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) –┬áNCLE

Both exams are available in English or Spanish, and each of them costs $200.

Candidates have to score at least 70% to pass.

The tests are offered at 3 different levels:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

NOCE focuses on spectacles and covers these topics:

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

ABO offers study materials and mock-tests on its website to help you prepare for the actual exam that is organized twice every year.

CLRE focuses on contact lenses and its topics are:

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

The exams are proctored at the Prometric testing centers across the state.

You could be asked for these papers when requesting your license:

  • Proof of identity
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • An application
  • Proof you paid the fee
  • A clean criminal record
  • Exams scores

ABO requires those who obtained their license to renew it every 3 years, both at the basic and advanced levels.

Paying some fees and continuing your education is also expected for this procedure.

Optician Employment and Salary in Colorado

It is good to know what your future workplace is like, ahead of time.

most often, opticians work in these settings:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

Since Colorado doesn’t have rules regarding licensing, the salary will vary greatly solely based on this aspect.

Experience and the city you work in are other two very important factors.

Below you can see what opticians earn on average in the state’s largest cities.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Opticians in Colorado

City NameSalary
Colorado Springs$47,804
Fort Collins$46,757
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Colorado

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Boulder, CO120$52,280$25.14$72,400$36,430
Colorado Springs, CO170$42,570$20.47$61,260$31,800
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO640$46,230$22.23$62,390$33,590
Fort Collins, CO120$42,520$20.44$54,200$30,970
Grand Junction, CO40$40,220$19.34$46,760$30,130
Greeley, CO40$41,480$19.94$50,960$33,350
Pueblo, CO50$38,330$18.43$47,510$28,640
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Opticians, Dispensing, OCC Code 29-2081, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Additional Information for Opticians in Colorado

Opticians work in a field that changes rapidly and staying atop of the game is crucial.

Opticians in Colorado have these resources at their disposal, especially for continuing education options:

  • 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
  • Opticians Association of Colorado
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