Cool Job of the Month

Optician

Do you want to work with the latest technology, but not in a laboratory setting? Do you love to work with people? As an optician, you would be required to select and adjust eyewear for patients, as well as record more technical measures such as visual acuity, depth perception, and color vision. This occupation also allows you to educate your patients about different lenses that are suitable to them as well as how to properly care for their eyes.

Why it's cool

  • This job will never get boring. No two people have identical eyes, so every new customer brings the new challenge of getting them the perfect glasses.
  • Should you not have a background in opticianry, some companies will provide the necessary training.
  • Many opticianry degrees offer apprenticeship programs so that you can work and go to school at the same time.
  • You have the opportunity not only to work with the latest fashions in eyewear, but also with today's newest technology.
  • With the help of an optician, patients have the ability to see the world a lot clearer.

Requirements for the Job

  • Knowledge of physics, anatomy, algebra, and geometry.
  • Should have a good manual dexterity.
  • Good communication skills (on a busy day you can talk to over 100 people).
  • Good business skills.

Education/Training

A two-year degree in opticianry is offered at many community colleges and some state universities which is usually followed by a licensing examination. For certification of their skills, opticians can apply to the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) or the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). This certification must be renewed every 3 years. In addition to this two-year program, opticians may decide to pursue another year of education so that they may become licensed for the provision of contact lenses.

Career Path/Average Salaries

Salaries are dependent on a few variables such as experience, size of company, and company location. In 2012, the average salary for an optician working in the U.S. is $15.91 hourly or $33,100 annually. There is an expected growth in this industry of 29% or higher by the year 2020. The higher salaries tend to be found for opticians who work in clinics, rather then retail stores, which usually pay lower. In most cases, opticians will work 40 hours per week.

Related Occupations

  • Orthotists and Prosthetists
  • Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians
  • Dental Laboratory Technicians
  • Jewelers
  • Camera and Photographic Equipment Repairers
  • Locksmith

JVIS Report

  • You should consider this job if you have above average Basic Interest Scores in Personal Service, Sales and Medical Service.
  • Your JVIS Report should show one or all of the following occupation groups under your Top 3: Sales Occupations, Service Occupations or Health Service Workers.

For more information contact:

  • Opticians Association of America
    4064 E Fir Hill Dr.
    Lakeland, TN 38002
    Website: www.oaa.org
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
    P.O. Box 592
    Canton, NY 13617
    Website: www.coaccreditation.com
  • National Academy of Opticianry
    8401 Corporate Dr., Suite 605
    Landover, MD 20785
    Website: www.nao.org
  • American Board of Opticianry/National Contact Lens Examiners
    6506 Loisdale Rd., Suite 209
    Springfield, VA 22150
    Website: www.abo.org