Opticians address the eyewear needs of customers. This includes preparing eyewear, serving customers who seek glasses or contacts, fitting and adjusting eyewear according to prescription plus customer specifications. The job also involves educating customers about eyewear issues. Modest business tasks for opticians involve keeping sales records and maintaining inventory. Opticians may work in the offices of healthcare practitioners or may run their own optical business. The training and preparation to become an optician are outlined below.
OPTICIAN TRAINING AND EDUCATION
Training to become an optician is offered through certificate and associate degree programs. Most formal training programs require one to have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. Many community colleges and technical training institutions offer training programs at the certificate and associate degree levels. Certificate programs may take one year to complete, while associate degree programs are more intensive, and can be completed in two years. Courses of study include optical theory, eye physiology, lens technology, ophthalmic dispensing, and laboratory sessions. Both certificate and associate degree programs prepare students for an entry-level position in the field. To be certain of receiving a quality education, be sure to select a school that is accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation.
It is best to select a training program that offers an internship experience as this provides an opportunity for building vital job skills. Through an internship, a student can practically develop skills in measuring a customer’s eyes and adjusting frames. Internships also allow students to learn various office management practices. Some individuals opt to complete an apprenticeship with a practicing optician. By completing a two-year apprenticeship, one can build valuable skills and knowledge required to practice.
The American Board of Opticianry & National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE) provides certification for qualified opticians. Earning certification validates your skills and knowledge, which enhances job prospects. Certification by the ABO-NCLE is offered at three levels ─ basic certification, advanced certification and masters designation. In order to earn certification, a candidate must attain a pass score in a series of exams. Certification exams also assess a candidate’s practical skills. All three certifications are valid for three years.
APPLY FOR A PRACTICING LICENSE
Almost half of the US states have licensing requirements in place for practicing. However, these requirements are not uniform across states. Licensing requirements may require students to take and pass a state-administered written and practical exam, or candidates may be required to earn credentials awarded by the ABO-NCLE. Many states use the ABO-NCLE certification exams to grant state licensing. In some states, candidates must take and pass specific exams administered by the state in order to meet licensing requirements. For accurate information on licensing, it is best to check with the opticianry licensing board in your state.
KEEPING YOUR OPTICIAN CERTIFICATION CURRENT
Credentials earned from the ABO-NCLE must be renewed every three years. Certification must be renewed before the expiry date. This is accomplished by earning continuing education credits within the period of current certification.
A career path that leads towards financial success and a life of stability can be attained by becoming a professional optometrist. This is a critical area of service as a large portion of the population now wears some kind of corrective lenses. That means that those who provide professional vision care enjoy a career filled with personal and financial rewards. Making the choice to become an optometrist is one that can lead to a very bright future.
Optometrists are referred to as doctors of optometry (DO), although they are not required to go to medical school. The main job function of an optometrist is to provide specialized vision care. That includes conducting eye examinations and prescribing corrective lenses. Optometrists also identify eye conditions that include nearsightedness, farsightedness, lazy eye, and astigmatism.
In the process of conducting examinations, optometrists are also responsible for diagnosing any diseases or deficiencies in the eye. Optometrists can then prescribe certain medications to fix those problems. However, prescribing medication is allowed in certain states as specified by the terms of that state’s particular optometry license.
In addition to proscribing contact lenses and eyeglasses, optometrists can also prescribe vision aids as well as different kinds of vision therapy. Optometrists are not licensed to perform eye surgery, although they can provide care before and after an operation to assist in a proper recovery.
Optometrists routinely consult with patients and recommend the proper course of action to take, which is based on years of specialized training. Optometrists work in private practices, eyewear retail stores, select department stores that provide vision care, and numerous types of health care facilities. The demand continues to grow, which has made the field of optometry a rather competitive one.
Optometrists adhere to strict medical standards and maintain a high level of professionalism at all times. There is an obligation to practice optometry with conscientiousness and competence as stated in the oath optometrists must take before entering into this profession.
EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME AN OPTOMETRIST
Individuals who are looking to pursue an education as an optometrist must first acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. That four-year degree should be in a field that is related to optometry, such as biology or physiology. Once a Bachelor’s Degree is earned, candidates are then eligible to apply for admission to an optometry program. Many of those optometry programs throughout the country are very selective when accepting applicants, so it is beneficial to earn exemplary grades when going through an undergraduate program. Many times a candidate, who registered average grades on the way to earning a Bachelor’s Degree, will be denied admission to an optometry program.
OPTOMETRY STATE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
Each state entrusts its own Optometry Board with the licensing of its optometrists. Those state boards fall under the umbrella of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. Each state requires candidates to pass three parts of a comprehensive examination. These examinations are graded on a pass/fail basis, although each state has the authority to accept scores of 75 or better on certain parts of the examination.
There are also additional parts to these examinations, which differ according to state. Those additional parts include written, legal and oral examinations. There are some states that add on practical examinations as well as seminar portions. The testing to obtain licensing is rather extensive and prospective optometrists should check the requirements for their particular state and then proceed accordingly.
License renewals are also required and the time frame for that differs on a state to state basis. A failure to follow each state’s minimum requirements as a practicing optometrist will result in a revocation of that license.
OPTOMETRIST JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
In the United States, optometrists make an average salary of $115,750 annually. The average wage for an optometrist is $55.65 per hour. Connecticut and Alaska offer the highest salaries for optometrists as both check in with an average that is just over $180,000 per year. Some areas in select states also report optometrists, making more than $200,000 annually. There is a steady 2.5% national increase in optometrist job growth and that kind of increase is expected to continue. In the next 10 years, an increase in jobs is expected to exceed 25%.
A career as an Ophthalmologist can help individuals live the kind of life that most people dream about. It is a rewarding career that offers excellent pay along with a high level of respectability. The path that leads to a career as an ophthalmologist features extensive schooling and years of preparation. However, the life of an ophthalmologist is one that creates a future filled with a wealth of benefits and perks.
CAREER OVERVIEW OF AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST
Ophthalmologists are physicians who specialize in eye care. An ophthalmologist holds the title of M.D., which refers to a Doctor of Medicine. Ophthalmologists can also hold the distinction of a D.O., which is a Doctor of Osteopathy. Regardless of that title, ophthalmologists serve the same function. They are responsible for treating problems with the eye as well as diagnosing ailments and prescribing medicine for the eye. An ophthalmologist also performs surgical procedures on the eye.
Ophthalmologists perform simpler duties like prescribing corrective lenses, but are also involved in highly-advanced clinical studies and research. There are some ophthalmologists who opt to concentrate on one area of specialization and some who focus on working with children as pediatric ophthalmologists.
The work setting for an ophthalmologist differs as hospitals and private practices are two common locations. Some ophthalmologists will even open up their own Lasik centers as this type of surgical treatment is becoming more and more popular.
Ophthalmologists are very thorough and extremely well-versed in everything that has to do with the eye. There is also an obligation to uphold strict practicing standards as issued by each state medical board.
Ophthalmologist education is quite extensive as it requires many years to earn the title of Ophthalmologist. The first part of that educational journey begins with a Bachelor’s Degree. Once that four-year degree is earned, candidates must be accepted into a four-year medical school program, which must also be completed. That is then followed by an internship and residency, which can last anywhere from 3-8 years. Obtaining a residency is extremely competitive, but a necessary step on the way to becoming an ophthalmologist. There is then the need to pass a state exam to receive a medical license to practice ophthalmology.
To become certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, it is necessary to pass several oral and written examinations. There are also a good deal of prerequisites, which include the completion of medical school, at least one year as a patient care intern, and a minimum of three years in a residency program. Certifications must also be obtained within seven years of the graduation date from medical school.
An Ophthalmology certification from the American Board of Ophthalmology is not required to work within the United States, but is highly recommended. Medical licenses can be obtained without a certification, although employers generally place a high value on these certifications.
MEETING STATE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
Ophthalmologists are required to pass the USMLE (United States Medical License Exam) in addition to other examinations as specified by each state. There is also an extensive screening conducted on an ethical and legal level before a medical license is distributed. Educational requirements and residencies must also be satisfied before a state medical license is issued. Each state medical board has differentiating guidelines regarding the licensing of its ophthalmologists. Certifications from the American Board of Ophthalmology are typically not required to obtain a license, although it aids immensely when it comes time to seek out employment.
OPHTHALMOLOGIST JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
The average salary of an Ophthalmologist is just shy of $200k as the mean income is $198,386 per year. Experienced and top end ophthalmologists register annual incomes that are well in excess of $300K per year. Salaries differ according to the place of employment as hospitals generally pay a lot less than private practices. Ophthalmology is a very competitive field with financial rewards that can be quite lucrative. New opportunities continually open up in this field as the job growth for ophthalmologists is expected to increase by 15% over the next decade.
Planning out the future always involves some important career decisions. Choosing a profession is the first step towards creating a better life. Making the choice to become a professional orthoptist can help steer individuals towards a rewarding career that includes competitive pay and health benefits. The choice to become an orthoptist also equips individuals with a specialized set of skills that are in constant demand.
Orthoptics deals with the science of eye movements. Through extensive training, orthoptists are furnished with a broad knowledge base regarding eye movements. They also diagnose and treat defectiveness within the eye. This includes amblyopia, double vision and binocular vision. Orthoptists evaluate vision and make assessments based on a thorough examination and analysis. Tests are administered by orthoptists to discover the source of the problem. They also oversee corrective eye exercises and can even provide a treatment plan to those with eye deficiencies.
Orthoptists comprise part of an eye care team and generally work well in a team environment. Since dealing with patients is a part of the job, they also possess a fair amount of people skills. Some orthoptists work as part of research teams while others are entrusted with the duty of assisting in the instruction of individuals who are going through their fellowship.
Orthoptists have been able to take their skills to a wide range of workplaces, such as hospitals, universities, private practices and in retail outlets specializing in eye care. They are part of a profession that plays a unique and specific role in the eye care industry.
ORTHOPTIST CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
Orthoptic certifications are issued by the American Orthoptic Council (AOC). In order to be eligible for this certification, candidates must have completed two years in an accredited fellowship program. Those two years include clinical work in addition to practical and classroom work. There is also a need to receive a recommendation from a supervisor within that fellowship program. Once those requirements have been met, candidates are cleared to take the certification examination.
The AOC exam includes a combination of written, oral and practical test sections. The written portion of the exam is administered during one month of the year as June is the only time candidates can take that part of the exam. Candidates must also first pass that written portion in order to be eligible for the oral and practical sections. Once all of those examination sections have been passed, a certification is awarded.
Those who receive passing scores are then able to use the title of C.O. after their names, which stands for Certified Orthoptist. That certification is subject to revocation should an orthoptist violate the AOC code of ethics. There is also a requirement that certified orthoptists continue their education with additional credits during their professional career.
Certification programs focus on the anatomy and physiology of the eye, ocular pharmacology, various diagnostic tests and much more. Over the course of a certification program, students will also evaluate hundreds of patients.
MEETING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
To become an orthoptist, it is strongly recommended that candidates earn a Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in some kind of science. However, a Bachelor’s Degree is not required to begin a fellowship program, which is the required route orthoptists take towards establishing a career. These fellowship programs must be accredited. Non-accredited programs will fail to meet job qualifications. These fellowship programs are rather limited throughout the United States and typically take 24 months to complete. The limited number of programs makes gaining admission a relatively competitive field. That competitiveness also emphasizes the importance of attaining a Bachelor’s Degree on the way to becoming an orthoptist.
MEETING STATE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
There is no licensing procedure for orthoptists as mandated by any state. Prospective employers will not ask for a license as a job requirement, but certifications are almost always required. Each state medical board oversees a variety of medical licenses, although orthoptists do not fall into the category of medical professionals who need to maintain any kind of state license.
ORTHOPTIST JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
Depending upon the place of employment, orthoptists average anywhere from $56,000 to $84,000 annually in the United States. The general average salary of an orthoptist is $74,710 per year. Much of the specifics in regards to salary are contingent on the type of practice or facility that employs an orthoptist. Some orthoptists work in clinical research while others find employment in more traditional settings. There is expected to be a 12% job increase for orthoptists working in the United States over the next ten years.