The World of An Optician
The field of Opticianry is filled with a wide range of people from all different sorts of backgrounds. Female or Male the occupation is an equal field with plenty of opportunities for growth. Dispensing opticians typically work with patients to help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses based on their needs and prescriptions provided by optometrists and ophthalmologists. They also work as stylists to find frames that look and feel right for the patients to buy. Not all lenses can be fit into any pair of glasses so it is important that opticians know what will be aesthetically pleasing and what will not be so that the patient can leave with good vision, happy and also looking good.
To become an optician you have to have a high school diploma or equivalent to start your training which can be obtained one of two ways. The first is long term on the job training which takes upward of three years of full time work, and the second is a two year Associates degree program at a local college. Although it does depend on which state you live in. In Massachusetts you are required to take the American Board of Opticianry Exam and the National Contact Lens Exam and become certified nationally before you are eligible to take the State of Massachusetts Practical Exam to receive your state license. (Opticians Association of Massachusetts, 2012)
As a dispensing optician you can work in a variety of environments, ranging from part time at a mall kiosk or large retail chain store or department store to full time in a doctor’s office or hospital and everything in between. Opticians have a lot of opportunities to work different schedules depending on who you work for and where you work. An optician can work nights and weekends or a Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm schedule. It all depends on the optician and what he chooses to do. Jobs for opticians are on the rise, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, “employment of opticians is expected to grow by29 percent from 2010 through 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-11)
Some important skills to have to make a good dispensing optician would be most importantly communication skills to work closely with patients and understand their needs and wants, also to explain a variety of options and care instructions so the patient can understand fully. Good customer service skills are another important quality to have, selling products and knowing how to deal with patients properly because most opticians work in a store. Management skills are important to have because as an optician you will usually run the business aspect of an optical shop even if it is a doctor’s office setting. Manual dexterity is also important because as an optician you will be working with special tools to make fine adjustments and repairs to eyeglasses so you must have good hand eye coordination to do the work in a timely manner and accurately.
As an optician in the United States you can expect to make an average salary of $32,940 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-11) which is slightly lower than the national average for all occupations, but as a Massachusetts state licensed optician you can expect to make more since the northeast is the region with the highest paid opticians including the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. (Opticians Association of Massachusetts, 2012) “The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,070 and the top 10 percent earned more than $50,780” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-11)
For anyone looking to work in the field of opticianry it is important to do your research and find out what kind of opportunities could be available for you. There are a lot of people out there willing to help you and they love when new people take interest in the occupation that dates back to the sixteenth century....
Cited: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Optician, Dispensing, on the internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Opticians-dispensing.htm (visited 14 April 2012)
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