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Career RequirementsBecoming an optician requires a high school diploma or an approved GED equivalent, followed by formal education and training or an apprenticeship. Many opticians go to college for a two-year associate’s degree in opticianry, which involves coursework in basic anatomy, eye anatomy, algebra and trigonometry, optical physics and mathematics and administration. They also learn about precision measuring equipment and techniques and optical instrumentation. Whether opticians study at a community college or university, it is recommended that students choose an opticianry program that is accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation, a nationally recognized professional board. Prospective opticians who take the apprenticeship path are required to undergo a two- to four-year period of on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed optician. Licenses are issued after successful completion of a practical or written examination and some areas may require both. Eligibility requirements for sitting for opticianry exams also vary. Some places require applicants to have an associate’s degree or an apprenticeship of two to four years. In addition, opticians can qualify for voluntary certification by two nationally recognized professional organizations: American Board of Opticianry (ABO) or National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE).Certification must be renewed after three years and opticians are expected to keep up with developments in the field by taking a certain number of approved continuing education courses. Although this certification is not mandated, some places recognize the certificate, and many employers—and customers—prefer an optician who has ABO and/or NCLE certification.


Created by: Mathu

Definition:Opticians are regulated professionals trained to measure, design, fit, and dispense frames, contact lenses, low vision aids, and prosthetic ocular devices to aid in vision correction.

How optics is used in the careerOptics is the study of light and vision. Customizing and adjusting eyeglasses and fitting contact lenses require a thorough understanding of how optics (the eye) works. Opticians test their customers' eyes by using numerous tests like the widn test (to see how fast your eye can focus) and the dilated pupil test. Therefore, they must understand how optics (the eyes) work in order for them to perform these tests safely. Opticians also write out the work orders that are used by ophthalmic lab technicians, who grind lenses and assemble the components of each pair of eyeglasses. All opticians should understand the importance of writing the work orders properly and how crucial it is to be meticulous and accurate otherwise, it can affect your eyes in a negative way. Opticians must understand how lenses work in our eyes as well as the glass lenses in eyeglasses. They must understand the science and technicalities behind it such as why the images we see are upright and not inverted, why images appear clearer while wearing glasses, etc. Also, as mentioned before, a dispensing optician's job is similar to a pharmacist who dispenses drugs based on prescriptions written by physicians. Even though opticians do not write prescriptions for lenses, they still have to understand the science and reasoning behind them, which mainly focuses on the study of optics, so they can identify errors and dispense eye products accordingly.

Future Job ProspectsAccording to Service Canada (updated on Jan. 2013), job prospects in this occupation are good. The website states that in the last few years, the number of opticians has increased sharply, mainly as a result of greater recognition of the occupation, growing demand for optical products and the fierce competition in this market. Employment of opticians is expected to grow by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020, significantly faster than the average for all occupations. Keeping up to date with industry changes and new product developments will give opticians an edge in the job market. Certification will also offer an advantage when applying for jobs.

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Career DescriptionDuring consultations, an optician considers the type of lenses as well as the context in which a customer will use them (e.g. a construction site versus an office cubicle) to make a well-suited recommendation. In many ways, a dispensing optician's job is similar to a pharmacist who dispenses drugs based on prescriptions written by physicians. Even though opticians do not write prescriptions for lenses, they still have to understand the science and reasoning behind them. (Some opticians are qualified to operate the equipment that grinds lenses, while others send completed work orders to a lab that crafts lenses.) Most dispensing opticians work for an optometrist, who either has an office practice or works in an eyewear store, specialized shop, department stores, eyewear stores, and optometrists’ or ophthalmologists’ offices.


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