How to Become an Optician in Minnesota

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Minnesota, like any other place on Earth, has plenty of people with poor eyesight.

Opticians are thus needed, as they help these people see better.

Read this article to discover what it takes to become an optician in Minnesota!

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Optician Job Description and Duties in Minnesota

There are two types of eyewear that help people see better:

  • Glasses or spectacles
  • Contact lenses

The job of an optician is to help the person with poor vision choose the best eyewear for their needs, budget, and preferences.

It is through these tasks that they manage this:

  • 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

What opticians don’t do is prescribe the eyewear or inspect the eyes.

Optician Job Requirements in Minnesota

In Minnesota, those that want to work as opticians are under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Board of Optometry.

The Board mandates that all future opticians have to pass all sections of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam.

Many other requirements come directly from the employers who usually seek:

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Reliable
  • Clean criminal record
  • Detail-oriented

Optician Education in Minnesota

Even though there are no laws forcing future opticians to neither get licensed nor properly trained, there are at least two schools offering adequate programs.

These schools can be seen below.

Top 2 Schools in Minnesota

School Name Address
St. Catherine University 2004 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
University of Minnesota 100 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455-0213

At St. Catherine University, students can enroll in the ophthalmic technology program that awards an Associates’  degree.

This program lasts for 3 years in total, with 2 years of theory classes and one year of practical experience.

The program offered by the University of Minnesota is an optometry one.

Those graduating from this program are allowed to inspect the eyes and make eyewear prescriptions.

If these options are not enough to choose from, you can also consider an online program or programs offered in other states.

Next, you’ll see a list of the most common requirements to meet when enrolling in such a program:

  • 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

Optometry programs usually have classes like the following:

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

When choosing a program, you’ll have to make sure it is approved by the Board.

Optician Certification in Minnesota

To become licensed in Minnesota, you have to pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam.

Additionally, the Board expects you to also pass the Minnesota Law Exam before getting your license.

This law exam is available online.

The Board will also request additional documents, and those who get approved will become licensed in about 48 hours.

Many individuals also choose to pass these other exams as well:

  • The one offered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO)
  • The one offered by the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE)

For these exams, you’ll have to pay $400 in total and they have 3 levels of difficulty:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The subjects on the exam offered by ABO are:

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

For the exam offered by the NCLE, you’ll have to prove your knowledge in:

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

These 2 exams have a passing score of at least 70% and they can be taken in either English or Spanish.

The Board requires the licenses to be renewed after every 2 years, though the certificates from ABO-NCLE are renewed after every 3 years.

All opticians need to accumulate 40 credits if they want to renew their license with the Board.

Optician Employment and Salary in Minnesota

Businesses that hire opticians include the ones below:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

Everyone knows that there are many aspects to take into consideration when calculating a person’s salary.

The table below shows the average salaries in Minnesota’s main urban areas.

Annual Salary Range:
$41K
$49K
$68K

Average Salary of Opticians in Minnesota

City Name Salary
Minneapolis $51,171
St. Paul $51,171
Rochester $46,517
Duluth $45,556
St. Cloud $45,585
Eden Prairie $51,084
Lakeville $50,854
Burnsville $51,027
Minnetonka $51,171
Moorhead $45,062
* Salary information last updated 2021

Additional Information for Opticians in Minnesota

Next, you can find more resources for when searching for more classes or even a job:

  • American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE)
  • Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry
  • Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
  • Board of Registration in Optometry
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
  • Minnesota Association of Optometrists and Opticians
  • Minnesota Board of Optometry
  • Minnesota Optometric Association
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