Preparing to become an optician in Maryland does not require extensive formal training. Maryland is amongst a minority group of US states without established standards to govern training for the profession. Nonetheless, many opticians prepare for the field by taking formal courses in opticianry. Others choose to complete an apprenticeship with a licensed optician, which allows them to build skills for practice. As an optician, you need to have good eye-hand coordination to handle small, specialized tools for making adjustments and repairs to eyewear. Good communication skills and strong customer service skills are essential for relating efficiently with customers. Opticians must also have some knowledge of sales and inventory management. The following steps can help you to prepare for a career as an optician in Maryland.
Optician Education Requirements in Maryland
Without official standards to govern training for the profession in Maryland, many opticians opt for on-the-job training. However, various training institutions in Maryland offer programs to help prepare for the profession. For formal training, you may want to explore opticianry courses offered by certain vocational schools and community colleges. Entry into these programs requires a high school diploma or equivalent. It helps if you took courses in algebra, basic anatomy, physics, and trigonometry in high school. Certificate programs typically take a year to complete, while associate’s degree programs are designed to be completed in two years. Through the coursework, students learn about optical theory, eye physiology, lens management, and business management. Training also includes technical instruction, which allows students to build skills in taking eye measurements, and fitting and adjusting eyewear. Some schools offer an internship experience, which gives students the opportunity to engage in supervised clinical work.
Optician School and Certification Requirements
In Maryland, there is no state-operated department that issues certifications to opticians. Certification in Maryland is a voluntary decision. While it is not required, earning credentials will enhance your career prospects. The most commonly pursued certifications are issued by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). These organizations offer nationally recognized certifications, which can help enhance your career as an optician in Maryland. Certifications can lead to higher pay and better job prospects, although those are decisions that are left to each hiring facility.
Licensed Optician Requirements in Maryland
There is no license requirement for opticians in the state of Maryland. The Northeast part of the country is only home to a limited number of states that requires licensing. That means that if a Maryland optician were to seek employment in a nearby state, there would be no issue with acquiring a license. The nearby states of Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia do not require opticianry licenses. Job listings in the state of Maryland should not have any licensing requirements as well. There may be certifications listed as a form of criteria, although they are not considered to be an actual license.
Optician School and Continuing Education
There are various options for continuing education requirements among opticians who work in the state of Maryland. Since continuing education is not mandatory, the more prevalent resources are available on a national landscape. Continuing education can be acquired through internet courses, online workshops and lectures, and other distance-learning programs. Maryland opticians who hold the ABO and NCLE credentials need to renew their certifications every three years. Following the ABO and NCLE protocol is recommended.
Some practices will require opticians to take some type of continuing education training over the course of their employment. However, those are all based on an individual business as each is free to produce its own educational requirements for its opticians.
Optician Salary in Maryland
Maryland is amongst the few US states where opticians enjoy comparatively high salaries. However, great variations are evident in optician salaries in Maryland, ranging from $30,000 to upwards of $100,000. Cities, where opticians earn between $43,000 and $47,000 include Baltimore, Columbia, Bethesda, Potomac and Rockville.