This article examines optician schools and related job opportunities. An optician is a professional who is qualified to fill lens prescriptions. Opticians receive training on procedures needed to fabricate glasses, verify prescriptions, mount lenses into frames, adjust glasses, and dispense prescription contact lenses. Students who are interested in working with optometrists and ophthalmologists in order to help people see better can enroll in an optician training program.
Optician Education and Training
Optician colleges prepare students for career in hospitals, medical offices, optical stores, ophthalmologist offices, optometrist offices, and department stores. They work alongside the ophthalmologist or optometrist. An ophthalmologist is a more senior position than that of an optician. They are licensed doctors that are qualified to diagnose eye disease, prescribe medications, and also carry out surgery. An optometrist is licensed to practice optometry, this involves carrying out eye examinations and prescribing eyewear. Depending upon the state, an optometrist may also be licensed to prescribe drugs.
If you want to work with individuals with vision problems, first of all you will need to complete the appropriate training. An optician is a role different than that of an ophthalmologist or optometrist in so much that they are primarily called upon to draw up prescriptions relating to eyewear. Opticians assist patients when it comes to testing their eyes and selecting suitable spectacles or contact lenses.
To take up a role as an optician, it is important to have a high school diploma and to attend optician school. The course of study can be a one or two year certificate program or an associate degree. The subjects covered during the training would include biology (anatomy and physiology) physics, algebra, ophthalmic optics, geometrical optics, and geometry. It is also essential to become familiar with the correct operation of certain optical tools, machinery, and instruments.
Some optician courses may include: First Aid and emergency eye care, Anatomy and physiology of the eye, Ophthalmic procedures, Ophthalmic procedures, Optical machinery, Geometrical optics, Optical tools, Contact lens methods and procedures, Ophthalmic optics, Optical instruments, Ophthalmic lens finishing, and Ophthalmic dispensing. Additional optician courses include: Polarized lenses, Basic contact lenses, Gonioscopy, Contact tonometry, Cataracts, Pachymetry, and AMD prevention.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that 23 states require opticians to be licensed and this means that one mush complete formal education through an approved program or completing an apprenticeship program before taking the exam. Opticians can choose to become certified in either eyeglass or contact lens dispensing or both. Certification requires passing exams from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE).
Regulations that govern certification do vary depending upon the state. As a general rule, most employers would expect opticians to have achieved necessary certification even though there is no legal obligation. National certification exams are conducted by both the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) and the American Board of Opticians (ABO).
Certification is only valid for a period of three years, at which point the examination must be re-sat. An optician’s job description would involve a range of daily duties. This can include taking the facial measurements of patients, customizing and adjusting frames, ensuring records are up to date and accurate, liaising with insurance companies, and tracking inventory and sales.
Specialized training would allow an optician to also fit artificial eyes, contact lenses, and affix coverings for damaged eyes. Most certified opticians find employment in medical offices and retail environments. There are full time and part time positions available.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
As modern life has developed a situation whereby people spend more time sat in front of computer monitors and TVs, it is expected that the demand for the services of opticians will continue to increase over the coming decade. Many of the eye conditions that are now common place are directly caused by the lifestyles that are now led.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the income for more than half of the opticians employed today ranges from $37,700 to $46,800, the top 10%, as of 2009, commanding an annual salary of more than $50,240. The median annual wage of opticians was $32,940 in 2010 and the employment of opticians is expected to grow by 29% from 2010 to 2020 (BLS).
The actual income depends upon the type and size of the practice the individual is involved with as well as its location. If an optician has specialized skills, or undergone advanced training, the financial rewards are higher than the average. Graduates of optician schools chose to pursue a career as an ophthalmologist or optometrist with additional education.