Becoming an optician can be a very rewarding profession. Employers typically include optometrists, ophthalmologists, and retail chains such as LensCrafters. Communication and fine motor skills are a must, the rest can be taught. Most opticians receive on the job training, many times learning from programs such as our OptiQuick Rapid Optician Training Program. However, if you are interested in learning more about your state requirements or pursuing the training needed to become an ABO certified optician, here you will find the steps needed in your pursuit.
The first step is to find out the licensing requirements of your particular state. Some states require you to be licensed through a trade school, however most allow on-the-job training. Keep in mind many times a state’s licensing requirements can be confusing. They may require you be licensed to OWN your own optical boutique, but not if you are employed by one. Essentially in this case, which is by far the most common case, the employee optician is working under the license of the owner. It will be best to actually speak to someone at the following certification / licensing agencies to learn the specifics in your particular state. 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 as an employed optician, you may begin your career simply by finding an employer willing to offer on-the-job training, however some prior training such as with the OptiQuick Rapid Optician Training System will be useful to help you get off to a goodstart.
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. There are several benefits of obtaining a degree from such a trade school. You will enter the job field with prior hands on training, you will be able to command a higher starting salary, and you will be able to utilize the school’s job placement programs to find better employment than searching on your own. In the rare cases your state requires a licensing test, these programs help you prepare.
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 page.
A website for opticians with experience looking to become “certified”, www.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 a “certified” optician through taking the ABO test (certified in fitting eyeglasses) or NCLE test (certification in fitting contact lenses). Although not a requirement for most employed opticians, becoming ABO or NCLE certified certainly is looked upon favorably with employers and can increase your earning potential.
Current List of Accredited Optician Training 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