Optician Job Overview
An optician is the person responsible for fitting glasses and contact lenses. They receive a patient's prescription from the eye doctor, and assist that person in finding the right glasses frames and lens options, and adjusting glasses fit. Dispensing Opticians also measure the distance between a patient's eyes to ensure proper glasses fit. Opticians also instruct people on how to care for their eyewear, such as cleaning and storing contact lenses. Sometimes opticians are also responsible for tasks relating to running a business, such as keeping records of prescriptions, sales, and inventory.
Opticians may work in a number of different environments, such as:
- an optometrist's office
- an eyewear retailer
- a physician's office
- a health store
Opticians may work in retail eyewear establishments that are free-standing or part of a bigger store. They may also open their own eyewear shops. Some optometrist's and ophthalmologist's offices fit and sell glasses, meaning they need an optician on staff.
Optician Job Education Requirements>
To become an optician, candidates need a high school education. Though some opticians learn on-the-job through special training, many complete special schooling through community college or training programs. These are typically completed in one to two years, and may end in certification. Some states require opticians to obtain a license before being permitted to work in the field. After completing an approved training program, opticians have to pass at least one exam before becoming Licensed Opticians. Generally licenses have to be renewed every few years.
Optician Job Market
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the optician field will grow by 23 percent through 2022, which is considerably faster than the national average. A good source of employment for opticians will be in medical practices, because more and more eye care providers are adding eyewear sales to their businesses. In 2012, there were 67,600 optician jobs in the US, with a projected increase of 15,800 by 2022.
Optician Job Salary Information
The median salary for an optician, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $33,330, as of 2012. Opticians who work in healthcare stores average a slightly higher yearly salary of $35,990, while those who work in retail stores tend to make a little less, with a median yearly salary of $29,560. Opticians who work in retail may need to work night or weekend hours. Those employed in doctor's offices may also be required to work on weekend days.