How to Become an Optician in Iowa

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If you’re interested in working with people and in the medical field, you came to the right place!

This presentation will guide you through the steps you need to take to become an optician in Iowa, so read on!

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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 Iowa

Opticians work with people, by helping them choose the right eyewear for their needs and preferences while keeping budgets in mind.

Below is a list of the main tasks opticians achieve their goals:

  • 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

The list is not complete, as other tasks may be given to them, depending on the place they work for.

There are two actions that opticians don’t complete:

  • Eye inspection
  • Eyewear prescription

Optician Job Requirements in Iowa

Iowa is one of the states where an optician doesn’t need a license to work.

Earning some certifications, however, is beneficial when searching for a job or hoping to develop a career.

In the states where a license is not needed, passing these exams is most useful:

  • National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE)
  • National Contact Lens Registry Examination (NCLRE)

These exams have national recognition, as their names imply.

Employers are more likely to hire those who passed those tests, but who also have these attributes:

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Reliable
  • Clean criminal record
  • Detail-oriented

Optician Education in Iowa

Despite not having laws or regulations for opticians, Iowa does have a school that offers a program for this field that can be seen below.

Top 1 Schools in Iowa

School NameAddress
Iowa Central Community College1 Triton Cir, Fort Dodge, IA 50501

the program at the Iowa Central Community College has a duration of 2 years and awards an Associates’ degree in optometry.

If you want more options you can look up online training courses or programs available in other states.

All of them should be enough to prepare you for the two exams mentioned earlier.

It won’t be very easy to start these programs as schools usually accept only those who meet these requirements:

  • 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

Below you can see a handful of the classes you’ll attend:

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

A number of individuals also choose to start apprenticeships working for experienced or licensed opticians before attempting to pass those tests.

Optician Certification in Iowa

While Iowa doesn’t have any licensing requirements for opticians, these professionals can still earn certifications to prove how qualified they are.

As mentioned, those interested can take the NOCE, organized by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) as well as the CLRE offered by the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE).

You should know that the CLRE is not mandatory as its focus is contact lenses.

Both of the exams are organized in two languages, English and Spanish, and they last for around 2 hours.

There are 3 levels for each of the tests:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

During NOCE you’ll be tested on:

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

The CLRE subjects are:

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

Candidates have to pay about $200 for each exam and score at least 70% to pass.

These exams are offered through the Prometric testing centers across the state.

These certifications must be renewed every 3 years, and this involves a renewal fee and attending additional classes.

Optician Employment and Salary in Iowa

Many opticians all across the country, not just Iowa, work for places such as:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

The following aspects will influence your income as an optician in Iowa:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Job duties
  • Certification(s)
  • Management roles
  • Sales vs. technician roles
  • Experience

For instance, opticians that just start out, earn on average $39,200 per year, while those with more expertise, credentials, and responsibilities, can make around $64,000 per year.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Opticians in Iowa

City NameSalary
Des Moines$46,383
Cedar Rapids$45,571
Sioux City$40,878
Iowa City$45,196
West Des Moines$46,383
Council Bluffs$45,409
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Iowa

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA40$38,790$18.65$50,580$31,370
Cedar Rapids, IA120$39,270$18.88$48,020$29,240
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL90$36,230$17.42$49,770$29,300
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA240$39,610$19.04$52,580$29,670
Dubuque, IA50$35,960$17.29$46,570$28,290
Iowa City, IA70$37,790$18.17$50,750$28,650
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD50$37,240$17.91$49,440$28,540
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA40$37,950$18.24$51,490$28,040
* 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 Iowa

Because Iowa doesn’t require opticians to hold a license, it’s also more difficult to find guidance, when needed.

However, below are some resources you can use when needing to find job openings and more:

  • American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
  • Optician Association of Iowa
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