How to Become an Optician in New Jersey

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Being an optician in New Jersey means you get to work with people and in the healthcare industry.

This is not an entry-level position, and this is where you’ll learn what you have to do to become one, 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 New Jersey

Opticians have the role of helping people improve their eyesight.

These are the tasks they must complete:

  • 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

Of course, it is very common to receive extra tasks and to complete more duties, but all this depends on the place they work for.

The most help people need is when they have to choose:

  • Glasses or spectacles
  • Contact lenses

Opticians are not trained to inspect the eyes nor to prescribe eyewear.

Optician Job Requirements in New Jersey

One of the first things to know is that opticians in this state need to become licensed by the New Jersey State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians.

The Board also requires individuals to receive both formal education and practical experience before getting licensed.

On top of this, employers also have expectations from their future subordinates, such as:

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

Optician Education in New Jersey

New Jersey is a small state by area, but since opticians must be licensed, it also has at least three schools offering specialized training.

These schools can be seen below.

Top 3 Schools in New Jersey

School NameAddress
Camden County College200 College Dr, Blackwood, NJ 080122
Essex County College303 University Ave, Newark, NJ 07102
Raritan Valley Community College118 Lamington Rd, Branchburg, NJ 08876

No matter the type of credential you want to get at the end of your training, these schools offer them all.

For instance, you can earn either a certificate or an Associates’ degree from all three institutions.

The tuition is about the same for all schools as well.

If you’re not happy with these options, you can also consider colleges found in other states as well as online training programs.

Being asked for the following when trying to enroll in one of the colleges above is to be expected:

  • 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

If you want to know what you’ll be studying, look no further than the list below:

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

Only after you earned your certificate or degree you can accumulate practical experience through an apprenticeship with a licensed optician.

You’ll first need to register as an apprentice with the Board, and this process lasts for about six to eight weeks.

The duration of the apprenticeship depends on the type of diploma you got:

  • 36 months for a certificate
  • 4 months for an Associates’ degree

Optician Certification in New Jersey

To earn the optician license in New Jersey, you’ll need to:

  • Graduate from a training program as explained above
  • Complete the apprenticeship as explained above
  • Pass the licensure exam
  • Pay some fees
  • Submit an application

Licenses require periodical renewal and 12 hours of continuing education by physically attending classes.

For the first renewal, individuals don’t need to continue their education.

Individuals can also choose to pass the exams organized by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE), which cost about $400 in total.

There are 3 levels of difficulty for these tests:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The ABO test is for spectacles, and the subjects for it are:

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

The NCLE is for working with contact lenses and it tests on:

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

The passing score for these exams is 70% and the certifications earned here need to be renewed every 3 years.

Optician Employment and Salary in New Jersey

One of the best parts about being an optician is that there’s a strong demand for these professionals.

The facilities hiring them the most are seen below:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

It’s difficult to say exactly how much money an optician earns, as this is influenced by:

  • Job title
  • Certification
  • Location
  • Job duties
  • Management roles
  • Sales vs. technician roles

This doesn’t mean you can’t see some actual figures.

The table below shows the average salaries in New Jersey’s main urban settings.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Opticians in New Jersey

City NameSalary
Jersey City$57,780
Toms River$52,941
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in New Jersey

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Trenton, NJ60$61,860$29.74$80,090$45,990
Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ40$53,070$25.52$68,420$41,790
* 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 New Jersey

New opticians might need help to find a job or classes.

These resources can be useful for these purposes, and not only:

  • 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
  • New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians
  • Opticians Association of New Jersey
  • New Jersey Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians
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