Optician Courses and Colleges
Opticians read prescriptions provided by eye doctors and help patients select glasses and contact lenses, in addition to fitting, adjusting or repairing eyewear. Find out about the education, licensing or certification you'll need to work in this field, and see what the job duties are. Schools offering Optician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What You Need to Know
Educational options for prospective opticians include traditional studies, on-the-job training, or a combination of the two. In addition to providing a background in optic theory, opticianry programs train students to understand optical formulas and the processes and equipment used in optical laboratories.
|Programs||Associate of Applied Science and certificate programs; students should look into schools with accreditation from the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation|
|Courses||Optical Laboratory Technology, Microcomputer Applications, Ophthalmic Dispensing, Applied Math for Technicians, Contact Lens Technology|
|Licensure and Certification||Board licensure and/or certification required by some states|
What Will I Learn in an Optician Program?
Due to the exacting nature of the field, you will study topics in algebra, trigonometry, and the like. Medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, ocular conditions and basic patient care are also likely to be covered in your classes.
As your program intensifies, you may learn dispensing procedures, contact lens fabrication, lens finishing techniques and refracting techniques through laboratory work. Practical study experience in an optical retail setting can prepare you for the tasks you'll assume as a professional. These duties include assisting customers with frame selection and fitting, utilizing retail instruments and educating patients on proper lens care. You may also take courses that train you for administrative duties involved with running a retail optical business.
What Type of College Degree or Certificate Can I Earn?
Many schools offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in opticianry or ophthalmic dispensing. You may also seek a non-degree certificate program; these may be designed for individuals with no prior experience or for graduates or professionals seeking additional training in preparation for certification or licensing. The Commission on Opticianry Accreditation accredits 22 associate degree and certificate programs in the U.S. and Canada (www.chea.org). Certain programs are also available online or through distance learning programs whether you seek an associate's degree or graduate certificate.
What Type of Certification and Licensure Will I Need?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2014, about 25 states required board licensure for professional opticians and ophthalmic dispensers (www.bls.gov). State licensing requirements may require the successful completion of a professional exam, such as those administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). You are not required to obtain a degree for ABO or NCLE certification, but state licensure requirements may require a combination the following: professional certification, an associate's degree in opticianry or ophthalmic dispensing, five recent years of professional experience or a minimum number of apprenticeship hours under a licensed professional optician.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: