Optician (Opt)

Opticians or Dispensing Opticians adjust eyeglass lenses according to prescriptions and fit them into frames. Some opticians may manufacture lenses for optical instruments such as telescopes or microscopes.

Work Activities/Work Locations

Opticians usually work in the retail trade such as optical goods stores selling lenses and frames. Others are employed by eyewear manufacturer laboratories, or by optometrists or ophthalmologists. Opticians fill prescriptions, make recommendations for frames and lenses, and fix or replace broken lenses. Although they are trained to operate machinery that grinds and polishes eyeglass lenses, some opticians have an ophthalmic laboratory technician perform this portion of the work. Some opticians specialize in fitting contact lenses. They can work part or full-time and may work evenings and weekends.

Quick Facts

Education: 120 hours

Patient Interaction: High

Physical Activity: Low

Salary: $28,382

Job Growth: High

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Getting Started

High school students should study mathematics, physics, basic anatomy or even mechanical drawing. A high school diploma or equivalent is preferred. Programs in optical technology are usually offered at community colleges. Some employers require completion of an optician program, while others may hire an individual with no formal background in opticianry. Individuals may get on-the-job training or training in the form of an apprenticeship. Certification, which must be renewed every 3 years, can be applied for through the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners.

Educational Institutions

Milwaukee Area Technical College

American Board of Opticianry/National Contact Lens Examiners
6506 Loisdale Rd., Suite 209
Springfield, VA, 22150
703/719-5800 or 800/296-1379
www.abo-ncle.org

American Optometric Association
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO, 63141-7881
314/991-4100 or 800/365-2219
www.aoa.org

Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
PO Box 592
Canton, NY, 13617
703/468-0566
www.coaccreditation.com

National Academy of Opticianry
8401 Corporate Dr., Suite 605
Landover, MD, 20785
800/229-4828
www.nao.org/

Opticians Association of America
3740 Canada Rd.
Lakeland , TN, 38002
901/388-2423
www.oaa.org/index.php

Wisconsin Optometric Association
6510 Grand Teton Plaza, Suite 312
Madison, WI, 53719
608/824-2200 or 800/678-5357
www.woa-eyes.org

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 1,630
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 75,200
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 93,000
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 24%
Expected Annual Openings: 3,790
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $28,382

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.