Opticians are essential figures in the healthcare industry, improving people’s vision, helping them to see, and leading them towards happier, more fulfilling lives through the gift of sight. Great satisfaction and reward comes with a job in opticianry, and for this reason, it is becoming an increasingly popular field.
Opticians are also in high-demand. By the year 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of opticians will grow 24 percent – much faster than the average for all other occupations. If you are considering becoming an optician, rest assured you are choosing a thriving, gratifying profession. There are, however, a number of prerequisites you must fulfill before diving in.
As a leading optician training program in Connecticut, Goodwin has recapped the education and training requirements, as well as the licenses, certifications, and qualities needed, to become an optician today:
Education & Training Requirements
Opticians generally need to have a high school diploma and some specialized training or instruction before earning their licensure. Today, however, most employers will look to hire opticians who hold a postsecondary degree or certificate.
In a postsecondary education program, students obtain practical training and technical instruction that put them ahead of the competition when applying for jobs. In Goodwin College’s associate degree program, for example, students have the opportunity to not only learn essential optician skills, but also use them in a true job setting. In addition to completing coursework in optics, eye physiology, and mathematics, they gain unmatched clinical experience in our state-of-the-art Optical Laboratories and Training Store. Here, students work side-by-side with a dedicated team of eye care professionals, learning how to design, fit, and dispense corrective eyeglass and contact lenses.
Educational requirements for opticians vary state to state. To become an optician in Connecticut, it is required that you graduate from an associate degree program that is approved by the Connecticut Board of Examiners for Opticians and accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA). As of 2015, only 22 optician and ophthalmic programs have been accredited nationwide. Goodwin’s ophthalmic science program – the only optician school of its kind in the Capitol Region – is one of the 22.
License & Certification Requirements
Nearly half of all states today require opticians to be licensed, including the state of Connecticut. According to the Opticians Association of America, licensure typically requires completing formal education through an approved program, as well as passing any state licensure or certification exams.
Becoming an optician in Connecticut comes with great preparation. The state requires that prospective opticians pass the following exams before obtaining their license:
- The American Board of Opticianry’s (ABO) National Opticianry Competency Examination
- The National Contact Lens Examination (NCLE)
- The Connecticut State Board Practical Examination and Jurisprudence Examination
After completing Goodwin’s Ophthalmic Science program, students are fully prepared to sit for (and successfully complete) the ABO, the NCLE, as well as the state licensing examinations.
Important Qualities Needed to Become an Optician
Becoming an optician requires more than good grades and certification, it also requires having a positive, professional demeanor, an effective and communicative skillset, and a knack for working with people. On the day to day, opticians carry out both technical work and customer service, evaluating prescriptions as well as finding the best suited lenses for patients’ needs. As a result, opticians must hold a certain set of skills, including:
- Communication skills, in order to listen to customers and explain options or instructions clearly
- Customer service skills, since most opticians work in stores and interact with customers regularly
- Critical thinking skills, to assess patients’ prescriptions as well as lifestyle and visual needs
- Management skills, to run the business sales, inventory, and decision-making in their optical store
- Manual dexterity, as opticians use several specialized tools to adjust and repair eyeglasses
The mission of Goodwin’s Ophthalmic Science and Optician College is to fully equip our students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to become licensed opticians in Connecticut. We can also help you pursue your goal of becoming an optician.
To learn about our Ophthalmic Science program, laboratories, and facilities, please visit goodwin.edu/majors/ophthalmic-science or call 800-889-3282 today.