Is becoming an optician right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do opticians do?
Career Satisfaction
Are opticians happy with their careers?
What are opticians like?

Still unsure if becoming an optician is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an optician or another similar career!

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How to become an Optician

Becoming an optician involves a combination of education, training, and, in some cases, licensure. Here are the general steps to become an optician:

  • Educational Requirements: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. A solid foundation in math and science can be beneficial for this career. Research the optician licensing requirements in the state where you plan to practice. While not all states require licensure, some have specific regulations and may require opticians to be licensed.
  • Enroll in an Opticianry Program: Consider enrolling in an accredited opticianry program. These programs are offered by community colleges, technical schools, and universities. Look for programs accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA) to ensure high-quality education. Opticianry programs cover topics such as optics, lens design, frame selection, contact lenses, anatomy of the eye, and business aspects of opticianry. Programs may include both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience.
  • Earn a Degree or Certificate: Complete the required coursework and clinical training to earn a degree or certificate in opticianry. The level of education may vary, with some programs offering an Associate Degree in Applied Science (AAS) in Opticianry. Seek opportunities for practical experience during your education. Many opticianry programs include internships or externships in optical settings, providing hands-on experience working with patients, frames, and lenses.
  • Prepare for Licensing (if required): If your state requires optician licensure, familiarize yourself with the licensing requirements. This may include passing a state-approved licensing examination. Some states may have different levels of licensure, such as apprentice, licensed, or registered optician.
  • Take the National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE): Even if your state does not require licensure, consider taking the National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE) offered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). Certification can enhance your credibility and job prospects.
  • Apply for Positions: With your education, training, and any required licensure or certification, start applying for optician positions. Opticians work in optical retail settings, private practices, and healthcare facilities.
  • Consider Specialization: Opticians may choose to specialize in areas such as contact lenses, low vision, or fashion eyewear. Continuing education in specific areas of interest can lead to expertise in these specialties.