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An optician is a healthcare professional who would involve in preparing eyewear and serving customers while they shop for glasses and contact lenses. There are several dispensing opticians out there who would help you in fitting glasses and contact lenses by following the prescriptions from your ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Work Settings:

As an optician, you could find work in the stores that are selling:

  • Eyeglasses

  • Contact lenses

  • Visual aids

  • Other optical goods

These stores may be stand-alone businesses or can be the part of bigger retail establishments (like department stores). Some of the opticians may also choose to work as part of the group optometry or other medical practices.

Job Description:

As an optician, you may have to perform the following tasks:

  • Getting prescriptions from the customers for eye glasses and contact lenses

  • Measuring the eyes of customers (example: distance between the pupils)

  • Helping the clients in selecting eye glass frames and lens treatment depending upon their visual needs as well as their style preferences

  • Creating work orders for ophthalmic laboratories by defining information about the required lenses

  • Adjusting eyewear in order to make sure of a perfect fit

  • Repairing or replacing broken frames of eye glasses

  • Educating clients about the eyewear and showing them how to maintain their contact lenses

  • Performing the following business tasks:

    • Maintaining sales records

    • Keeping track of prescriptions

    • Ordering as well as maintaining inventories

How to Become an Optician?

Educational Requirements:

Generally, at least a high school diploma is necessary to obtain an optician job. However, now, it’s becoming highly necessary to gain an associate degree in opticianry. I would recommend you to join in the programs that are approved by the ‘Commission on Opticianry Accreditation’. You can find these courses in some of the community colleges. The program coursework would include classes in the following subjects:

  • Anatomy

  • Physics

  • Computer applications

  • Trigonometry

  • Optical laboratory

  • Optical dispensing theory

  • Optical business management

  • Technical proficiency

  • Contact lens laboratory

  • Eye physiology

Obtaining a License:

In the United States, the licensing requirements would differ from one state to another. Few states would require possessing a license which would entail you to successfully pass written as well as practical exams. You might also be required to successfully pass the certification exams that are conducted by the ‘National Contact Lens Examiners’ and the ‘American Board of Opticianry’.

The NCLE exam would test you for the following areas:

  • Diagnostic fit and evaluation

  • Lens dispensing

  • Patient education

  • Delivery procedures

  • Administrative issues

The ABO exam would test you on:

  • Use of ophthalmic equipment

  • Analyzing and interpreting prescriptions

  • Fitting and dispensing specs and other devices

Job Outlook and Opportunities:

The job opportunity for opticians has been projected to grow by 23% from the year 2012 to 2022. This growth rate is much faster than the median for all the occupations.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for an optician was found to be $33,330 per year in May 2012. This equals the hourly pay of $16.03.


Average Pay                                        :           $33,330

Education                                            :           High school diploma

Number of Jobs, 2012                         :           67,600

Employment Growth from 2012 to 2022         :           23%

On-the-job training                              :           Long-term on-the-job training

Work Experience                                 :           None