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.

What Schools Offer Optician Programs?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation accredited 19 associate's degree and certificate programs in the U.S. as of 2017. Here are examples of different colleges and just some of the degree programs they offer for prospective opticians:

  • University of Rochester: Bachelor of Science in Optical Engineering
  • Durham Technical Community College: Associate of Applied Science or Optical Apprentice Certificate
  • University of Arizona: Bachelor of Science in Optical Sciences and Engineering; Master of Science and PhD in Optical Sciences
  • Cuyahoga Community College: Associate of Applied Science in Optical Technology
  • University of New Mexico: PhD in Optical Science and Engineering

Can I Take Classes Online?

Certain programs are also available online or through distance learning programs whether you seek an associate's degree or graduate certificate. There are even some graduate certificate programs that can be completed entirely online without ever having to visit the campus. Some distance learning graduate programs may require one or a limited number of campus visits.

What Type of Certification and Licensure Will I Need?

According to the BLS, as of 2017, about 25 states required board licensure for professional opticians and ophthalmic dispensers. 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
  • Associate's degree in opticianry or ophthalmic dispensing
  • Five recent years of professional experience
  • 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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Colorado Technical University

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  • American InterContinental University

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  • Colorado State University Global

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    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Central Christian College of Kansas

    Central Christian College of Kansas responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Central Christian College of Kansas:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

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