Vision Care
Optician

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Salary: $19,435 - $32,076
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Hourly: $9.52 - $15.16
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Outlook: 2 Stars
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Length of Training: up to 2 years
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Roadmap
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Opticians make prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses according to the specifications of optometrists or ophthalmologists. Dispensing opticians help patients select the size, color, and shape of their frames, and then measure the patient’s face to decide exactly where the lenses should be placed. After the eyeglasses have been made, the dispensing optician measures and adjusts the glasses for proper fit. Optical laboratory technicians generally work in laboratories that fill orders from dispensing opticians. In general, they grind, polish, measure, surface, finish, inspect, mount the lenses into frames, and make sure the lenses and frames fit properly.

Areas of Specialization

Opticians may be dispensers, laboratory technicians or optician apprentices.

Work Environment

Opticians may set up private practices or they may work for optometrists, ophthalmologists, clinics or eyeglass stores. Most dispensing opticians work in stores that sell eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optical laboratory technicians work in laboratories and have limited contact with the public. Some retail stores have laboratories on their premises and employ both types of opticians.

Advancement
Some opticians specialize in fitting contact lenses, artificial eyes or cosmetic shells to cover blemished eyes. With experience, dispensing opticians can become managers or open their own businesses. The optical technician may advance to a supervisory position.