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

To become an optician, you typically need to complete a formal education program and obtain a license in your state. Here are the general steps you would need to follow:

  • Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: You will need a high school diploma or equivalent to be eligible for optician training programs.
  • Complete an opticianry program: Obtain a Certificate or Diploma in Opticianry at a community college, vocational school, or technical school. These programs typically take one to two years to complete and cover topics such as optics, eye anatomy, contact lenses, and eyeglass frame fitting.
  • Complete an apprenticeship: In some states, you may need to complete an apprenticeship in opticianry in addition to or instead of a formal education program. Apprenticeships typically last two to four years and involve working under the supervision of a licensed optician.
  • Obtain a license: To become a licensed optician, you will need to pass the National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE) or a similar exam approved by your state. You may also need to pass a state-specific practical exam.
  • Maintain your license: Optician licenses are typically valid for a set period of time and require ongoing continuing education to renew.

Certifications can demonstrate an optician's expertise and commitment to their profession, and can be helpful in finding employment or advancing in a career.

  • American Board of Opticianry (ABO): The ABO offers certification for opticians in the United States. The certification requires passing a written and practical exam.
  • National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE): The NCLE offers certification for opticians who specialize in contact lenses. The certification requires passing a written exam.

Optician associations typically provide a range of services to their members, including networking opportunities, continuing education, industry updates, and advocacy for the profession. They may also offer certification programs and resources to help members start and run successful optical businesses.

  • American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE) - The ABO-NCLE is a non-profit organization that offers certification and continuing education for opticians and contact lens technicians. It also serves as a resource for state licensing boards and industry professionals.
  • Opticians Association of America (OAA) - The OAA is a professional organization for opticians that offers networking opportunities, continuing education, and advocacy for the industry.
  • National Academy of Opticianry (NAO) - The NAO is a professional organization that offers education and certification programs for opticians. It also provides continuing education courses and resources for industry professionals.