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How to Become an Optician

Updated on June 14, 2011

Being an optician can be a very rewarding and challenging profession. Employers typically include optometrists, ophthalmologists, and retain chains such a LensCrafters. Communication and fine motor skills are a must, the rest can be taught. If you are interested in learning more or pursuing the training needed to become an optician, here you will find the steps needed in your pursuit.



Step 1: Visit OAA.org

The first step is to find out the licensing requirements of your particular state. Some states require you to be licensed through an apprenticeship or a trade school, where as other allow on-the-job training. To find your state's requirements, visit the website of the Optician Association of America at www.OAA.org and click on the "links" tab in the left column. There you will find a link for "state licensing boards". Clicking on that link will take you to a page which lists every state that requires opticians to be licensed and what they require for licensure. You can also click directly through to your state's licensing website for more information.

If your state does not require you to be licensed, you may be able to begin your career simply by finding an employer willing to offer on-the-job training. To get off to a quick start, you can find several study guides for opticians, such as that found at www.OpticianTraining.com. (see link below) Books such as that are designed for the optician obtaining on-the-job training.

Step 2: Visit NAO.org

NAO.org is the home of the National Academy of Opticianry. The academy is "an international organization dedicated solely to education and training for ALL opticians." Even though you may have discovered that in step 1 your state does not require a formal license or education, you could be well served to obtain an optician degree from an accredited trade school. Such schools can provide you with a degree in opticianry in about a year. The benefits of obtaining a degree from such a trade school are numerous. You will enter the job field much more prepared for what the career will throw at you, you will be able to command a higher salary, you will be able to utilize the school's job placement programs to find better employment than searching on your own, and you will be much better prepared for the state licensing test (if required) and pursuing becoming a "certified" optician if you desire.

To find a list of accredited schools in your area, click on the "links" button in the right column of the NAO.org website and then click on the link for "National Federation of Opticianry Schools" The complete list is attached for you at the bottom of this hub.

Step 3: Visit ABO-NCLE .org

A website for opticians with experience looking to become "certified", ABO-NCLE.org also has a wealth of information on the field of opticianry and state requirements. Once you gain on-the-job experience, you can become "certified" through taking the ABO test (certified in fitting eyeglasses) or NCLE test (certification in fitting contact lenses). Although not a requirement, becoming ABO or NCLE certified certainly is look upon favorably with employers and can increase your earning potential.

Accredited Optician Programs

American Career College          Los Angeles, CA      (213) 383-2862
Baker College                           Jackson, MI               517-789-6123
BC College of Optics                B.C., Canada             (604) 581-0101
Ben Franklin Institue of Tech    Boston , MA.              617-423-4630 
Broward Community College    Coconut Creek, FL.    954-201-2017 
Camden County College          Blackwood, NJ             856-374-5058 
College of Southern Nevada    Las Vegas, Nevada    (702) 651-5834   
Comm. College of Rhode Is.     Newport, RI                 401-851-1691   
Cuyahuga Comm. College       Cleveland, OH.            216-987-4454  
Dekalb Technical College         Clarkston, GA             (404) 297-9522 x1207 
Durham Tech. Comm. College  Durham, NC 27703     (919) 686-3485   
Erie Community College            Williamsville, NY         (716) 851-1570  
Essex County College               Newark, NJ                 (201) 877-3367   
Georgian                                   Barrie, Ontario           705-728-1968 x 1450   
Hacienda La Puente Adult Ed.  La Puente, CA            626-934-2940   
Highline Community College     Des Moines, WA.        (253) 830-5408

Hillsborough Comm. College    Tampa, FL                   (813) 253-7430
Learning Curve                        Sevierville, NY.             865-453-3450 
Miami Dade Comm. College     Miami, FL                    (305) 237-4267
Middlesex Comm. College        Middletown, CT           (860) 343-5845   
New York City College of Tech. Brooklyn, NY               (718) 260-5298   
No. Alberta Insitue of Tech.      Alberta, Canada          780-418-2763   
Ogeechee Technical College   Statesboro, GA           (912) 681-5500  
Raritan Valley Comm. College  Somerville, NJ             (908) 526-1200 x8277   
Reynolds                                  Richmond, VA             (804) 786-3415 
Roane State                             Harriman, TN              (865) 354-3000 x 4319  
Seattle Central Comm.College  Seattle, WA                (206) 344-4321   
Soutwestern Indian Poly Tech    Albuquerque, NM       (505) 897-5359 x5360  
TCI college of Technology         New York, NY              646 772 5130
Tri-Service Opticians School     Yorktown, VA               (757) 887-7148   
Tyler Junior College                  Tyler, TX 75798          (903) 510-2020
University of Indiana                  Bloomington, IN           (812) 335-1298  

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