Optician Assistant Training and Degree Program Information

Many future optician assistants learn their trade on-the-job, but some may choose to enroll in an optician assistant certificate program. Learn about what subject matter is taught in these programs, as well as continuing education, career information and admissions requirements.

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Essential Information

Optician assistant certificate programs are vocational programs offered through community colleges and technical schools. They are primarily designed to provide students with the practical training necessary to help clients pick frames or contact lens.

Students enrolled in an optician assistant certificate program examine the basics of eye anatomy and physiology. They learn to take instruction from opticians and provide customer assistance. Many programs include courses in sales and customer relations. Specific tasks may include recommending lens coatings, frames and types of lenses.

Education Prerequisites

A high school diploma or GED is the standard educational prerequisites for gaining admission into most optician assistant certificate programs. Some schools also require students to meet certain scores on standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT.

Program Coursework

Optician assistant certificate programs are likely to include courses with practical, step-by-step instruction for working in a laboratory, fitting frames and working with customers. Some specific courses include:

  • Ophthalmic optics
  • Ocular anatomy
  • Optical laboratory techniques
  • Business mathematics
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Contact lens instrumentation
  • Frame fitting and selection
  • Glasses components

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Opticians are responsible for selling glasses and contact lenses. According to PayScale.com, optical assistants made a yearly salary ranging between $17,495 and $34,605 in October 2013. The job outlook for opticians and ophthalmic laboratory technicians is anticipated to be good. A large percentage of the population is entering their senior years and will need assistance (eyeglasses) in order to see properly, creating jobs for opticians and ophthalmic laboratory technicians (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education

To move up in the field from optician assistant to optician, individuals might consider completing an associate's degree program in opticianry. Additionally, 22 U.S. states require opticians to gain licensure by passing either a state examination or an examination given by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).

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