What's the Job Description of an Optometric Technician?

Optometric technicians, or opticians, assist optometrists with providing vision correction to patients. Read on to find out more about the job description of an optometric technician. Schools offering Optician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Optometric Technician Job Overview

The position of an optometric technician is considered a paraprofessional role. In this career, your work is done under the supervision and guidance of an optometrist. As a technician, your main duty will be to help the optometrist with eye examinations. Your job duties will also involve assisting with patient eye care and examination, helping with the maintenance of patient records and handling some technical duties involving equipment and eyeglass preparation.

Important Facts About Optometric Technicians

Required Education High school diploma or GED
On-the-Job Training Includes technical and sales training, apprenticeships are available
Key Skills Business skills, communication skills, dexterity
Similar Occupations Optometrists, orthotists and prosthetists, dental laboratory technicians

Education and Licensure Information

To prepare for your career, you'll probably complete a formal training program, but in some areas on-the-job training may be more common, according to the California Employment Development Department (www.edd.ca.gov).

Licensure is required in some states, which involves completing an approved training program and passing an exam. You may also earn optional certification in eyeglass dispensing and/or contact lens dispensing by passing an exam administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE).

Job Duties

When working with patients, you may help prepare patients before an examination by gathering medical history information, explaining the exam process and administering tests to determine the visual capabilities of a patient. You may also, under the direction of an optometrist, perform some therapy exercises or procedures with the patient. Record keeping duties, such as monitoring inventory within exam rooms or in the laboratory and keeping notes during an examination, may also be part of your job.

Your work with patients may extend to after the exam when you may help do minor repairs of broken or damaged glasses, educate patients on how to care for their contact lenses or glasses, advise during frame selection and take measurements for the preparation of lenses. In the laboratory, you may also help with the creation of lenses and construction of glasses. Your job duties may also include minor maintenance and repair for examination equipment or other office equipment.

Work Environment

Your job options generally include working in a private office, clinic, government agency or military. You may also focus on the laboratory side of the job and work in eyeglass design. Another option is to work in educational programs, typically in the workforce, focusing on teaching employees about eye safety. No matter where you work, your working conditions will usually be inside and involve long periods of standing or sitting.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of opticians (a group that includes optometric technicians) was projected to grow 24% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average. This growth may be due in part to a growing aging population and increased recognition of the importance of eye exams. The BLS also reported that opticians earned a median annual income of $34,280 in 2014.

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