How to Become an Optician in Virginia

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If you plan on getting hired as an optician in Virginia, you will need to train first.

So, check out the following article for information on schools and the steps you should take.

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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 Virginia

An optician will help you choose the right eye-wear that suits people’s needs and style.

Opticians do not offer prescriptions for glasses.

The most important job duties an optician has to fulfill daily are:

  • 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 Virginia

The state of Virginia issues licenses to opticians through the Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians.

This state also recognizes the certification issued by the American Board of Opticianry (or ABO).

There are some steps to take before you can get your license issued, presented later on.

Employers prefer:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Reliability
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • A clean criminal record
  • A license

Optician Education in Virginia

To train, you can enroll in an optician training program in your region.

There are a few post-secondary schools that offer programs in Virginia.

Top 3 Schools in Virginia

School NameAddress
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College1651 E Parham Rd, Richmond, VA 23228
Southwest Virginia Community College635 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609
Southwest Virginia Community College369 College Road US Rt. 19, 6 Miles S. Claypool Hill, Richlands, Virginia 24641-1101

If you choose J Sargeant Reynolds Community College, you have more training options to choose from.

The most popular ones are the certificate and the Associates’ degree programs.

Southwest Virginia Community College offers a Certificate program in Paraoptometric for those who choose this school.

If these two schools don’t offer enough training options, you can always consider schools from out of state.

Every school has its own enrollment criteria that you will have to meet, such as:

  • 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 are wondering how long a program lasts, you should know this varies.

Generally, you can finish a program in about half a year.

But, you can also choose to pursue higher education options.

In that case, getting a degree will last for around 4 years.

The training programs for opticians include hours of theory and practice.

The topics you will join are:

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

Optician Certification in Virginia

To receive an optician license in this state, you have to:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Earn a degree after at least 2 years of study

The next step is to take the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) offered by the ABO.

This exam has 3 phases:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The first level requires:

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

The exam costs around $200 to take and the fee can be paid by your employer.

You will also have to pass the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) if you want to be a lens dispenser.

The exam topics for lens dispensers are:

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

Candidates also need:

  • 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

The state of Virginia does not require any extra education.

But, the ABO and NCLE credentials have to be renewed once in 3 years.

Optician Employment and Salary in Virginia

The optician license will allow you to work in:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

In Virginia, the salary an optician earns varies based on credentials but also location.

Areas such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Hampton, offer an average salary of $39,300 per year.

However, there are cities like Arlington or Alexandria where you can make as much as $56,800 per year.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Opticians in Virginia

City NameSalary
Virginia Beach$45,916
Newport News$44,994
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Virginia

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA30$50,010$24.04$64,730$31,740
Charlottesville, VA60$54,300$26.11$70,620$37,480
Harrisonburg, VA30$58,330$28.05$68,280$43,410
Lynchburg, VA70$46,170$22.2$61,010$28,910
Richmond, VA310$51,000$24.52$64,660$29,970
Roanoke, VA110$47,280$22.73$60,750$31,520
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA30$50,160$24.11$60,250$30,210
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC470$49,180$23.64$61,150$29,220
Winchester, VA-WV40$50,890$24.47$71,240$29,870
* 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 Virginia

You may need more info, and if that is the case, have a look at the following:

  • American Board of Optometry and National Contact Lens Examiners
  • Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation-Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians
  • Optician Apprenticeships in Virginia
  • Virginia Board of Optometry
  • Virginia Optician Salaries
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