OPTICIANS fit eyeglasses and contact lenses prescribed by eye doctors (ophthalmologists or optometrists). Opticians read prescriptions and help customers choose frames. They also advise customers on types of lenses and lens coatings. Opticians write up work orders for the ophthalmic laboratory technicians who grind and insert lenses into frames. They shape or bend frames to fit the customer properly. Opticians keep records on customer prescriptions, work orders, and payments. They may also track inventory and sales and perform other administrative duties.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $39,000 average per year ($18.75 per hour)
- A medium occupation (62,200 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.3% per year)
Most OPTICIANS receive training on the job or through apprenticeships lasting two or more years. Formal training is offered in community colleges and a few colleges and universities leading to a two-year associate degree in opticianry. Knowledge of physics, basic anatomy, algebra, geometry, and mechanical drawing is particularly valuable because training usually includes instruction in optical mathematics, optical physics, and the use of precision measuring instruments and other machinery and tools. Some states require opticians to be licensed.