Opticians fit glasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions written by optometrists and ophthalmologists. Opticians help customers select eyeglass frames, lenses and lens coatings after considering their prescription, lifestyle, occupation and facial features.
Opticians prepare work orders for ophthalmic laboratory technicians, giving them the information they need to grind and insert lenses into eyeglass frames. Sometimes opticians do this work themselves. After the glasses have been made, opticians shape and bend the frames so the eyeglasses fit the customer comfortably.
Opticians also fit contact lenses, artificial eyes or cosmetic shells to cover blemished eyes. Opticians measure the customer’s eye shape and size and select the appropriate lens material. Fitting contact lenses requires skill, patience and care. Opticians must take the time to instruct customers to properly insert, remove and care for their contact lenses.
Salary Range: $22,670 – $57,180
Salary Notes: The mean salary in Vermont is $41,740.
Where you can study:
Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, RI
Goodwin College, East Hartford, CT
Middlesex Community College, Middletown, CT
Where you might work:
– Clinics – Department Stores – Offices of Optometry and Ophthalmology – Retail Optical Stores
Job Outlook: Employment for opticians should grow much faster than average through 2024. The aging population as well as advances in eyewear such as no line bifocals and anti-reflective lens coatings will increase the demand for corrective lenses.
Education, Licensing and Certification: Knowledge of physics, math, anatomy and mechanical drawing are particularly valuable to people starting an opticianry training program. Opticians should possess manual dexterity and skill, in addition to the ability to relate directly with customers. Many employers hire people with no opticianry experience and offer on-the-job training or apprenticeships lasting two or more years. Other pathways into opticianry work come from working first as an ophthalmic laboratory technician. Opticianary training is generally offered in community colleges. These colleges offer either one or two-year programs. Opticians may apply to the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) for certification of their skills. Certification must be renewed every three years through continuing education. Opticians must obtain a professional license in Vermont.
American Board of Opticianry/National Contact Lens Examiners 800-296-1379
National Academy of Opticianry 800-229-4828
National Federation of Opticianry Schools 313-425-3815
Opticians Association of America 901-388-2423