Opticians: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 15% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
About half of the states require opticians to be licensed. Licensure usually requires completing formal education through an approved program or completing an apprenticeship. In addition, opticians must pass one or more exams to be licensed. The opticianry licensing board in each state can supply information on licensing requirements.
Median pay: How much do Opticians make?
$35,530 Annual Salary
$17.08 per hour

Opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. They also help customers decide which eyeglass frames or contact lenses to buy.

What do Opticians do?

Opticians typically do the following:

  • Receive customers prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Measure customers eyes and faces, such as the distance between their pupils
  • Help customers choose eyeglass frames and lens treatments, such as eyewear for occupational use or sports, tints, or antireflective coatings, based on their vision needs and style preferences
  • Create work orders forophthalmic laboratory technicians, providing information about the lenses needed
  • Adjust eyewear to ensure a good fit
  • Repair or replace broken eyeglass frames
  • Educate customers about eyewearfor example, show them how to care for their contact lenses
  • Perform business tasks, such as maintaining sales records, keeping track of customers prescriptions, and ordering and maintaining inventory

Opticians who work in small shops or prepare custom orders may cut lenses and insert them into framestasks usually performed by ophthalmic laboratory technicians.

Careers for Opticians

  • Certified opticians
  • Contact lens fitters
  • Dispensing opticians
  • Eyeglass fitters
  • Licensed dispensing opticians
  • Licensed optical dispensers
  • Licensed opticians
  • Optical dispensers

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