How to Become an Optician in New York

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Are you thinking of becoming an optician in New York?

If so, you should check out this article as we will bring you some info on how you can get licensed.

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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 York

As an optician, you will help people to find the correct eye-wear and advise regarding the style of the eye-wear.

However, you will not be offering prescriptions.

The job duties you will get on a daily basis include:

  • 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

Optician Job Requirements in New York

In New York, you will not need to have an optician license to practice.

Applying and getting a license will however benefit you if you want to get hired fast.

This is because a lot of companies who hire prefer opticians with a license.

In order to get the optician certification, you have to sit for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam.

For extra credentials, you can also pass the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam.

In New York, certifications are released by the New York Board of Optometry.

There is also paperwork you will have to send, which includes:

  • 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 New York

In New York, you can check out the schools that offer optician training programs.

These are training programs are seen below.

Top 5 Schools in New York

School NameAddress
Erie Community College6205 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221
Erie Community College121 Ellicott St, Buffalo, New York 14203-2698
NYC College of Technology300 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Pace University1 Pace Plaza, New York, New York 10038-1598
SUNY College of Optometry33 West 42nd Street, New York, New York 10036-8003

Depending on the school you choose, you can earn at the very least an Associates’ degree and at most, a Doctorate.

These degrees are in different fields, such as vision care,  optometry, or ophthalmic dispensing.

Post-secondary schools have their own criteria for enrolling, which includes:

  • 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

Training programs don’t last for long, and an optician training program can last for only 7 months.

If you want to get into a graduate program, you may need to train for a few years.

During training, you will take classes such as:

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

Optician Certification in New York

Those who complete the training program will also need to take an exam before getting a license.

For this, you need to meet at least one of the criteria below:

  • 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

Keep in mind you should also take the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) through the ABO.

This certification exam features 3 levels of difficulty:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

For the first level, you should be able to:

  • Read prescriptions,
  • Fit and dispensing spectacles
  • Use standard ophthalmic equipment

The exam costs $200, which the employer generally pays for.

Those who plan on dispensing contact lenses will need to take the National Contact Lens Examiners.

This means you will also have to pass the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE).

This test also costs $200, which can be covered by the employer.

The topics you will be tested on are:

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

The documents you need to bring are:

  • 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

After 3 years, your certification will expire which means you need to renew it.

If you work as a lens dispenser, you need to take 18 of education every 3 years.

If you are a lens practitioner, you have to take 20 hours of education once in 3 years.

Optician Employment and Salary in New York

You will be able to get hired by facilities such as:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

Generally, you can expect to make between $44,000 and $71,000 a year.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Opticians in New York

City NameSalary
New York$57,780
Oyster Bay$54,864
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in New York

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY200$57,710$27.75$73,220$36,790
Binghamton, NY50$52,280$25.14$63,050$34,520
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY410$53,220$25.59$59,880$40,810
Glens Falls, NY40$54,980$26.43$66,860$36,080
Kingston, NY40$58,720$28.23$73,330$38,270
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA3,600$59,380$28.55$78,140$38,730
Rochester, NY220$54,750$26.32$66,020$36,770
Syracuse, NY170$56,010$26.93$68,850$36,880
Utica-Rome, NY60$51,970$24.98$61,620$32,240
* 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 York

If you are looking for more resources, check out:

  • American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE)
  • New York State Optometric Association
  • New York State Society of Opticians
  • Optical Society of Western New York
  • Opticians Alliance of New York
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