How to Become an Optician in Washington

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Washington does not have too many requirements for opticians.

But, if you want to work as one in this state, you will still need to train.

So, check out the information below!

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Optician Job Description and Duties in Washington

Being an optician entails choosing the right eye-wear for your clients.

You will however not provide prescriptions for glasses nor inspect the eyes of customers.

Some of the most common job duties you will encounter as an optician 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 Washington

A license is needed for opticians wanting to practice in Washington.

Furthermore, there are many benefits to getting a license, such as increased pay.

To get a license, there are some steps you need to take first.

The first of these is taking the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam.

Another available exam is the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE).

In Washington, optician licenses are issued by the Washington State Dispensing Optician Examining Committee.

Candidates should also have:

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

Optician Education in Washington

Most candidates choose to train by attending a training program for opticians.

The schools in Washington that have programs for opticians can be seen below.

Top 3 Schools in Washington

School NameAddress
Highland Community College2400 S. 240th St. Des Moines, WA 98198
Seattle Central College1701 Broadway Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122
Spokane Community College1810 North Greene Street, Spokane, Washington 99217-5399

If you choose the Seattle Colleges, you’ll have the option to earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Opticianry.

This program takes two years to complete.

Some students may choose Highland Community College located in Des Moines, WA, for its apprenticeship program.

This program takes 6,000 hours to complete., and this means at least 3 years and 6 years at most.

If you want more educational options, you can either consider Spokane Community College or some college from another state.

For that, you will need to show:

  • 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

Generally, the schools have their own requirements for future students who wish to enroll in a program.

The programs vary in duration, based on the credentials you are planning to get.

For example, you can choose one of the shorter programs.

But, you can also decide to pursue a graduate which takes 3 to 4 years.

Training programs for opticians include hours of theory and hours of practice.

The classes you will take include:

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

Optician Certification in Washington

The Washington State Dispensing Optician Examining Committee issues licenses to practicing opticians.

In this state, these professionals need to attend a minimum of 4 hours of AIDS education.

Additionally in Washington, you also must complete one of the following:

  • A two-year associate’s degree in opticianry
  • Completion of an apprenticeship program of no less than 6,000 hours
  • Five years working as a dispensing optician in another state

After graduation, you will take the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) offered by the ABO.

This exam includes 3 levels:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The first level requires you to:

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

It costs $200 to take this optician exam, but the fee will be paid by your employing company.

You may also have to take the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) to become a lens dispenser.

The exam subjects for lens dispensers include:

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

You 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

After you get your license, you will also have to renew it once it expires.

The licenses in this state expire after 3 years have passed.

Optician Employment and Salary in Washington

Like in most other states, the demand for opticians in Washington is steady.

The optician certification allows you to get hired by:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

In Washington, the optician salaries are higher than the media.

Opticians in this state earn about $45,100 per year.

Of course, how much you will make depends on the area where you live and your credentials.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Opticians in Washington

City NameSalary
Federal Way$49,736
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Washington

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA60$44,890$21.58$62,910$34,920
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA60$49,000$23.56$65,870$35,980
Kennewick-Richland, WA120$46,220$22.22$64,190$35,760
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA40$45,360$21.81$64,430$31,600
Olympia-Tumwater, WA80$50,260$24.16$66,810$33,270
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA950$52,270$25.13$70,620$38,250
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA170$46,380$22.3$64,370$34,450
Yakima, WA60$45,660$21.95$64,190$34,840
* 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 Washington

If you are interested in more resources, you can have a look at the following:

  • Opticians Association of Washington
  • Washington State Dispensing Optician Exam Schedule
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • Optician Jobs in Washington State
  • American Board of Opticianry
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