What is an Optician?
An optician is one of the professionals who help people to choose an appropriate and suitable eye frame and lens style. Their part, among others, is to train their clients to use the eyeglasses. As an optician and a qualified person you are able to prescribe glasses as well as to dispense them, and contact lenses. You can also detect any eye disease this is the case of ophthalmic optician, or you can supply contact lenses as well as glasses being the case of a dispensing optician.
Job Description of an Optician
The job of an optician is built upon helping and assisting their clients who are in need and require vision tests, repairs, prescriptions. There are some cases in which these professionals intervene for minor eye surgeries. They also help their clients to establish which prescription they need and be there to answer any question that they might have as well as to assist them in their needs.
An optician will measure each customer’s vision how depth it is by using a piece of equipment called phoropter. Based on the measurements they will be able to determine the exact prescription that each client needs. As professionals, they can perform glaucoma tests that involve another piece of equipment called a tonometer that usually has the role of injecting a small amount of air pressure in the eyeballs.
Some opticians are also familiar with the laser surgeries machines that are used for the outpatient correction procedures. Those opticians that are working in a clinic office will perform as well administrative duties such as scheduling an appointment. Their work involves being able to work with two types of personnel one is comprised of the administrative staff and the other is the laboratory staff.
The first one will work with opticians concerning the schedule for appointments as well as to resolve the schedule conflicts in a timely manner, and as well as the billing or in other financial concerns that might arise from the patient. The laboratory staff is the one that has the job to create the prescriptions and in some cases the frames that are going to be received and used by the customer as part of the final product.
The daily tasks of an optician involve getting the right work order for the optical laboratory that usually contains the grinding and mounting lenses in the frames. They will measure the patient size for eyeglasses, and they will coordinate frames and the optical prescriptions. As optician, you are able to design lenses, measure and fit them as well as adapt them, according to the written optical prescription.
How to Become an Optician?
In order to become a great optician, you’ll have to follow a few educational steps. To be sure that this is the job that you really want to have and to enjoy start by doing a little research in this area. Find out what the role of an optician is and what daily duties he or she has to fulfill as well as search for the available opportunities in your area. See if you have what it takes for this job by checking out the required skills, as well as the typical payment that will certainly vary a lot according to several factors.
It is highly advisable that you’ll gain knowledge upon the educational requirements. Before getting all the info make sure that you’ve graduated from an entry-level education that usually involves a high school diploma or a GED. Do some research upon the license that is granted if you’ll needed or not, and if you need an internship for the practical experience. There are some states in which all that you need is a license that grants you the opportunity to practice.
After you’ve decided if this is the career you want to follow, start by enrolling into an optician program. Not all the institutions have the courses for this kind of program so there is a possibility that you’ll have to go to another city to complete it. Check the local higher educational institutions in your area for course details. There are some college communities that will grant you with the opportunity of earning an Associate’s degree and a practical experience in the field of optometry as future optician.
The Associate’s degree length program is for two years, and it can be completed in optometric technology or ophthalmic dispensing. There is also the alternative that in some states you can pursue only one year program. When you enroll in a training program, make sure that this training program has accreditation.
The course work for an optician program will cover typically the area of basic ocular science this including subjects such as anatomy, contact lenses, optics and other. Getting a license will assume first passing an exam, that is why it is important first to check all the options and find one that suits you the most. For instance, if you want to dispense contact lenses and glasses then you might need to sit for separate exams. It is the best practice to check the state regulations.
After obtaining the license, if required, you should complete a national certification test for opticians. Such a test is usually conducted by the NCLE else known as the National Contact Lens Examiners or by the ABO that is the American Board of Opticianry.
Obtaining a certificate is mandatory, but having one can mean a significant improvement in the job prospects as well as a boost in your career. Based on these types of certifications you will sit in for separate exams since they have their individual examinations. In addition to NCLE or ABO certifications, the Optician is indicated to have 2 or even three years of experience in the practical field.
Work Environment and Schedule
An optician can find work in various settings in the health care industry such as clinical offices, eye clinics, retailers or contact lens shops and other. As an optician, you must provide the customers the best aid as well as you’ll have to project that professional image that will gain the customer’s confidence. Your appearance must be groomed and very neat since you are dealing with patient’s health and their well-being.
You can find work as full-time or part-time when it comes to this field. As a part-time job, you might need to work only on Saturdays and Sundays to supplement for the other full-time jobs. Those who are working on a full-time basis will have the regular and traditional working schedule. It might vary according to the type of industry in which you find work.
As an optician, you might also find work in a laboratory where the prescriptions are usually created and modified, or you may work outside in the field. For instance this can happen during wars, where soldiers might need eye care but they don’t have access to an institution that might provide them with that.
Pros and Cons of Being an Optician
When it comes to a career as an optician, you can always have a future view of what it means to be one. Here are some pros and cons that will make you understand better what is like to be one. Right from the start your working hours can be classified as regular with a time base from 9 and up to 17.30. The best news that can be added to this one is the little or not at all overtime that will be required, ever.
You can enjoy if a day schedule where you won’t have to do night shifts or to be on call unlike the norm of a doctor is. The downside when you think of your work is that you’ll have to be present on Saturdays, and this is recorded and acknowledge by many other professionals as being one of the busiest days of the week.
In this field of optometry, one other great news is that after you are done with the work on the site you don’t have to take any other work at home for the rest of the day. You won’t have any reports that need to be completed or any other activities such as meetings. Another plus point to all this is the fact that you’ll have time for your family life if you have one or just for you.
A contrast to all careers in the medicine and dentistry field that will relief you is the fact that after you’ve qualified as an optician you can say goodbye to study or continuous education requirements. Yes, no more extra learning to be mandatory for the rest of your life.
However like in any other fields you can expect to various cons that unavoidable will be revealed. The bad news that exist in this career is the fact that after a few years in this chain of industries everything becomes very predictable. If you are a person, that will be quickly bored then this might not be the perfect job for you.
With this job, you cannot expect at any career progression since as an optician that has been in this field for ten years your work is not different than to an optician, who is new in this field. The only distinction is that you are working faster. If from this point of view you’ll see all these as frustrating, then you can orient yourself for getting a medical degree.
Optician job growth
The employment growth for an optician is projected at 24% rate of increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The main factor that impacts this increase is the aging population as well as the increase of the chronic disease that leads individuals to appeal more and more to corrective eyewear. This leading to a strong increase in the number of demanding and the services of these professionals due to the nature itself of the job. There are plenty of job opportunities with a favorable future outlook in optometrist’s offices or physician’s offices as well as other working facilities or larger retail establishments.
The average annual salary that is received in the United States for an optician usually reaches about $45,529 per year. Those who are working as self-employed and are on the top positions can expect to an annual income around $52,742 per year and even more. At the same time, those who are among the bottom 10 percent of professionals can expect an income less than $21,032 per year.
One of the factors that influence and affect the earnings is the type of industry in which you are working for. For instance, those who are hired in health and personal care stores can expect to take home an earning that usually reaches about $35,472 per year. Also, those who are working in the physician offices will earn around $33,982 per year.
According to the working site, you can always expect to higher points as well as lower points. Being hired as optician in a department store you can expect to a lower income that is estimated at $29,662 per year and even less.
Every state has its specific laws and legislation. Due to the differences, according to every state the income will differ. However, there are still best-paying states for a career as an optician. You can find great working places and well-paid in states such as Connecticut where the salary for one of these professionals is estimated at $60,305 per year. Other states are good choices as well. For example, you can work in New Jersey where the income reaches an average of about $51,312 per year. Other states that will hire Opticians and pay well can be found in New York, District of Columbia, Rhode Island and a few more.
An optician can expect in the US to an average yearly salary that is estimated at $32,943 per year with an hourly wage that reaches about $15.86 per hour. The starting hourly wage for these professionals has an average that is comprised between $9.76 and up to $20.46 per hour. Gradually this hourly wage will increase by $1.48 and up to $5.05 per hour leading over time to a wage that can even exceed $30.05 per hour.
You can also add to the salary of an optician a yearly bonus that usually reaches at about an annual average of $3,623. This will lead to an estimated total payment that will vary from $20,886 per year and up to $47,816 per year.
One of the most common factors that in this field has a varied influence when it comes to the salaries are the years of experience. For instance, an optician with less than 1 and up to 4 years in the working field can expect to an income estimated to be ranging from $17,116 per year and up to $44,694 per year. Those who are already working for 5 and up to 9 years of experience can expect to an income that ranges from $22,409 and up to $45,431 per year. At the same time, having 10 and up to 19 years of experience you can take home an income that will range from $28,359 and up to $62,032 per year.
An optician who is already a veteran in this field can expect to an income that is comprised between $29,492 per year and up to $57,706 per year. If as an optician you have a license then you can expect to an increased salary. For instance, a licensed optician can expect in the US at an hourly wage that has an average from $12.83 per hour and up to $25.49 per hour. These payments will increase to $15.03 and up to $35.72 per hour in time.
The yearly premium that is granted, in this case, reaches about $3,936 per year, this bonus being included in the annual salary package. It will lead to a total annual income of a licensed optician estimated between $27,643 per year and up to $56,471 per year. With a license, you can also add the years of experience that will gradually modify your income.
For instance, a licensed optician with 1 and up to 4 years of experience in the field can expect to a salary that is between $35,804 and up to $40,712 per year. At the same time, an individual who has been working in this field for more than 5 years and up to 9 years can expect to take home an income that reaches between $30,427 and up to $43,467 per year.
As a licensed optician that has between 10 and 19 years of experience, the salary is estimated to be comprised between $38,510 per year and up to $62,410 per year. Also, those who are veterans in this field working for more than 20 years can expect to an income estimated to reach from $32,683 and up to $61,442 per year.
Salary of an Optician in 2015
An optician salary in 2015 in the US has an estimated hourly wage that reaches only at $14.79 per hour. On the other hand, the hourly rate can start from $10.08 per hour and go up to $20.78 per hour. With overtime work, you can expect to be paid from $13.21 and up to $30.71 per hour. The yearly bonus that is conferred in this field usually reaches at about $4,063 per year, while the profit sharing that is granted is comprised between $204.27 and up to $4,897 per year.
In this field, the pay can reach up to $6,637 per year this leading in the end to a total annual package salary estimated to be from $21,619 and up to $48,682 per year. The income of an Optician is also influenced according to the type of industry that hires these professionals. For instance, the highest salaries are gained at LensCrafters Inc. where the median revenue is estimated at $35,010 per year.
However like in any other paid economy there certain lower points. At Wal-Mart Stores, the median income for these professionals is about $25,010 per year. The earnings here are ranging between $19,010 per year and only up to $39,010 per year.
Optician Salary in 2016
The median wages, in the United States, for the year 2016, for an optician usually reach at an estimated hourly rate of $14.02 per hour, with a starting point that stretches from $10.21 and up to $21.24. The annual median income of an Optician has an average that reaches at $39,389 per year, according to the salary data information offered by PayScale.
The salaries in this job start at $25,658 per year and can reach up to $58,542 per year, with bonuses that can climb up to $4,124 and profit sharing that is estimated from $290.88 and up to $3,489. The commissions attributed for opticians can reach up to $6,467, this will lead in the end with all the benefits added at a total payment that starts from $22,043 and $49,329.
The main factors that affect and impact the incomes of these professionals are linked with the specific type of employment, followed by the demographic factor-the geographical location and the years of experience in the field. In this job according to the surveys provided by PayScale that are more female opticians than male opticians.
The years of experience in the field tend to offer various incomes to these specialists, and the earnings increase with more years gathered at the working site. For instance an entry-level optician, with less than five years of experience in the field will earn around $27,010 per year, while a mid-career specialist, with 5 and up to 10 years of work practice will take home around $32,010 per year.
An experienced optician, with 10 and up to 20 years of practice and more experience can expect to gain around $36,010 per year while a late-career professional, that is also considered to be a veteran in this field with more than 20 years of experience can expect to take home around $41,010 per year.
The national average salary of opticians reaches at $32,519 per year. The best payment for these professionals can be encountered in regions such as San Francisco that offers incomes above the national average. An optician located in San Francisco can expect at a median total payment that usually reaches at $48,685 per year. Great earnings with above the national average status, can also be found in New York where the median total payment reaches at $42,616 per year, followed by San Diego with 37,791 per year and Portland with $37,456 per year.
On the other hand you can find regions that offer an income that is estimated to be below the national average. For instance, Sacramento where the median payment reaches only at $31,210 per year, Huston and Atlanta, where the gained earnings tend to reach at $30,569 per year and $30,545 per year, and other as well.
According to Salary.com, the median earnings provided to an Optician, reach at an annual value of $42,583, with a range that is situated between $39,342 per year and up to $51,347 per year. These figures vary according to the up mentioned factors and other specific as well such as the costs of livening and the living expenses that are found in each particular area.
Optician Salary in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom
- In Canada, the starting hourly wage for an optician has an average estimated between C$13.32 per hour and up to C$27.62 per hour. In time, this hourly wage will increase by C$0.76 per hour reaching up to C$50.96 per hour. On the other hand, the annual salary bonus has an average estimated to reach at C$2,556 per year. This bonus is usually included in the annual salary leading it to a total payment between C$30,289 and up to C$61,356 per year.
- An optician salary in Australia has a yearly average that ranges from AU$50,571 per year and up to AU$70,594 per year. You can add to all these figures a yearly bonus that can reach up to AU$10,074 per year, this leading to a total salary that ranges from AU$52,673 per year and up to AU$77,432 per year.
- In the UK the average income for an optician usually reaches up £33,916 per year while the hourly wage has an average estimated at £16.94 per hour. In this country, the salary is influenced according to the age of an individual. For instance, those who are in their 20s can expect to an earning that is up to £25,436 per year while those who are in their 30s will earn an income that reaches at about £33,238 per year. The income in this field gradually increases with the age. Those who are in their 40s and their 50s can enjoy an income estimated to reach at £ 39,343 per year.
Conclusion on Optician Salary
The salary of an optician is influenced by several major factors. The percentage of these salaries has lower and higher points. For instance based on many surveys in the US, the lowest income that an optician can receive is estimated at $21,072 per year and even less. The highest income is estimated at $50,782 per year.
With the number of demanding raising in this job, it becomes more and more valuable and appreciated because there are a lot of men, women and children who are in need for an optician.
- First Published Date: 14 July, 2015
- Last Updated Date: 27 November, 2016