How to Become an Optician in Pennsylvania

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You can easily find work as an optician in Pennsylvania.

If you have a talent for it, all you have to do is know what steps you have to take.

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 Pennsylvania

Opticians assist their clients in picking the correct right eye-wear, based on what they need.

Opticians do not provide glasses prescriptions.

The tasks you will be required to fulfill every day include the following:

  • 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 Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not require licenses for opticians.

However, having a license can be very helpful as you will get increased career opportunities.

For example, some employers would only hire you once you get a license.

You might also receive a higher salary once you get an optician license.

For that, you need to sit for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam.

Some candidates also take the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam.

In Pennsylvania, optician licenses are released by the Pennsylvania Board of Optometry.

You will also need to provide proof of the following:

  • 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 Pennsylvania

The easiest way to train is by joining a training program in your area.

The post-secondary schools offering optician programs in Pennsylvania can be seen below.

Top 2 Schools in Pennsylvania

School NameAddress
Luzerne County Community College1333 South Prospect Street, Nanticoke, Pennsylvania 18634-3899
Salus University8360 Old York Rd, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027-6262

Students choosing the Luzerne County Community College for its optician program will earn an Associate’s degree after 2 years of study.

Those who’ll choose Salus University they can earn either a Master’s or a Doctorate degree.

For more options as far as programs go, you can also consider schools from other states or even online education.

You may have to meet the criteria set by the school before you can enroll, like:

  • 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

Completing an optician program shouldn’t usually last more than 7 months.

If you want to attend a graduate program, you will have to attend a program that lasts a few years.

The topics you will be studying include:

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

Optician Certification in Pennsylvania

To take the exam, you need to meet one of the below requirements:

  • 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

You should also pass the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) with the ABO.

There are 3 different levels of difficulty to this test:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The beginner level entails:

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

There is also a $200 fee that needs to be paid.

This fee is generally covered by the company you are working for.

In order to become a lens dispenser, you must pass the National Contact Lens Examiners.

So, you will have to pass the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE).

You will also need to send a $200 fee.

Many times, this fee is paid by your employer.

The exam subjects are:

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

The documents you have to send 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

Pennsylvania requires opticians to renew their license every 3 years.

You will need to attend 30 extra hours of class in order to renew your license.

Optician Employment and Salary in Pennsylvania

Some of the facilities you can work in include:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

The median salary in Pennsylvania is $48,000 a year.

However, you can receive up to $66,000 annually if you reside in a place like Reading.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Opticians in Pennsylvania

City NameSalary
Upper Darby$51,449
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Pennsylvania

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ170$39,590$19.03$53,860$29,490
Altoona, PA50$35,220$16.93$45,010$27,490
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA30$35,290$16.97$44,900$28,490
East Stroudsburg, PA60$36,580$17.59$47,640$28,500
Erie, PA90$36,780$17.68$51,450$28,040
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA160$38,900$18.7$51,150$29,120
Johnstown, PA50$31,650$15.22$43,660$24,010
Lancaster, PA150$40,390$19.42$52,000$29,440
Lebanon, PA40$37,690$18.12$48,970$28,020
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD1,030$43,610$20.97$66,810$30,260
Pittsburgh, PA650$36,990$17.78$45,980$29,460
Reading, PA80$38,600$18.56$49,690$29,150
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA120$36,390$17.5$47,310$28,120
State College, PA60$35,950$17.29$47,630$28,610
York-Hanover, PA130$35,160$16.9$45,840$28,620
* 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 Pennsylvania

Maybe you need some additional career resources.

For that, check out the following:

  • National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO)
  • Pennsylvania Optometric Association
  • American Board of Opticianry & National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • American Optometric Association
  • Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
  • National Optometric Association
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
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