According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2015), employment of opticians is projected to grow 24 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Visit the BLS web page to learn the average pay and employment statistics for the state in which you expect to work. The national average wage for dispensing opticians was $34,840 in May 2015.
Find Optician Salary Info For Your State
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Opticians typically have a high school diploma or equivalent and receive some form of on-the-job training. Some opticians enter the occupation with an associate’s degree or a certificate from a community college or technical school. About half of the states require opticians to be licensed. Having an associate’s degree from an accredited program and ABO and NCLE certifications may improve an applicant’s job prospects.
Other opticians complete a postsecondary education program at a community college or technical school. These programs award a 2-year associate’s degree or a 1-year certificate. As of 2015, the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation accredited 22 programs in 14 states.
Education programs typically include both classroom instruction and clinical experience. Coursework includes classes in optics, eye physiology, math, and business management, among other topics. Students also do supervised clinical work that gives them hands-on experience working as opticians and learning optical math, optical physics, and the use of precision measuring instruments. Some programs have distance-learning options.
The National Academy of Opticianry offers the Ophthalmic Career Progression Program (OCPP), a program designed for individuals who are already working in the field. The OCPP offers opticians another way to prepare for licensure exams or certifications.