WHAT THEY DO:
Dispensing Opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. They also help you choose the proper lenses and frames based on the type of work you do.
Part of their duties is to measure customers’ eyes and faces, such as the distance between their pupils and help customers choose eyeglass frames and lens treatments, such as eyewear for occupational use or sports, tints or anti-reflective coatings, based on their vision needs and style preferences. They also adjust eyewear to ensure a good fit and repair or replace broken eyeglass frames.
They also take into consideration any fashion statement you may feel you want to make. Unlike in the past, both men and women want to make sure they look their best when wearing their eye glasses.
While about half of the opticians work in offices of optometrists, the rest work within larger stores that sell contact lenses and eyeglasses. Opticians who work in large retail establishments, such as department stores, may have to work evenings and weekends.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
Most opticians enter the occupation with an 2-year associate’s degree or a 1-year certificate from a community college. Education programs typically include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. Coursework includes classes in optics, eye physiology, math, and business management, among other topics.
Opticians may choose to become certified in eyeglass dispensing or contact lens dispensing or both. Certification requires passing exams from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). Nearly all state licensing boards use the ABO and NCLE exams as the basis for state licensing. Some states also require opticians to pass state-specific practical exams.
The median annual wage for dispensing opticians was $34,280 The median annual wages for dispensing opticians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
Offices of physicians $37,630
Health and personal care stores 37,330
Offices of optometrists 32,580
Department stores 27,590
Employment outlook of opticians is projected to grow 24 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The growth in the older population is anticipated to lead to greater demand for eye care services. Because people usually have eye problems more frequently as they age, the need for opticians is likely to grow with the increase in the number of older people.