Optometric Technician

Find out how you can become an optometric technician, including how much education you'll need to obtain a position. Find additional information about job duties, employment growth and salary potential, and make an informed decision about your future career.

Is Becoming an Optometric Technician For Me?

Career Overview

Optometric technicians, also known as optometric assistants, work alongside licensed optometrists to provide patients with optimal eye care. As an optometric technician, you assist doctors, conduct pre-eye exam tests, develop X-rays and teach patients about contact lens care. Other responsibilities include repairing eyeglass frames and dispensing contact lenses. Optometric technicians can be employed at private eye care practices, clinics, laboratories, retail outlets or optometry schools.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 29% increase in employment for medical assistants nationwide, including ophthalmic and optometric assistants, from 2012-2022. As the aging population continues to grow so will demand for medical care, thus there are increased opportunities for professionals in this field. Medical assistants with several years of experience and/or certification are expected to see the best opportunities. In May 2013, the BLS reported that medical assistants earned a mean annual salary of $30,780 (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Work as an Optometric Technician?

Education

To become an optometric technician, you'll generally need to complete a diploma, certificate or associate's degree program, although a high school diploma may be sufficient in some cases. Postsecondary programs can teach you how to test patients' visual acuity, color vision and depth perception. You'll learn how to assess pupil action, eye pressure, corneal curvature and peripheral vision.

In addition, students enrolled in optometric technician programs learn to fit patients with contact lenses and eyeglasses. Optometric technician programs may provide clinical experiences, which can allow students to receive hands-on training from licensed opticians or ophthalmologists. While certification for medical assistants is not mandatory, a national credential can serve as proof of competency to potential employers.

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