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Important Facts About the Optician Industry
An optician is an eye care professional who helps customers choose and fit their glasses. Opticians are most commonly found in stores and clinics that specialize in the sale of eyeglasses and contact lenses. Some major eyewear stores nationwide do not employ opticians because they do not offer corrective lenses or frame modifications. People who assist customers in these stores may or may not have formal optical training.
For this reason, opticians are more often found in optometrists’ offices and eye clinics. Opticians can also open their own stores that accept prescriptions from independent optometrists and ophthalmologists. In this type of situation, the optician chose to operate his own retail establishment. Opticians who operate their own stores will generally need to receive lens prescriptions from ophthalmologists before they can provide prescription glasses.
At first glance, the profession of optician may seem simple. Upon further investigation, you will often find that many opticians require extensive training before practicing on their own. A career as an optician requires many skills that take time, education and experience to develop. Since eye care is a sub-specialty of health care, it is important that opticians be competent in all required skills.
Some states allow employers to train their own opticians without following any state regulations, while other states have very specific regulatory requirements. These laws generally state that opticians must complete either a 2-year diploma program in vision technology or an apprenticeship. Many states additionally require opticians to pass the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exam and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) exam. These exams are nationally recognized as the standard for evaluating the skills of opticians.
In addition to the technical skills required to be an optician, there are many personality traits that one must possess to do the job well. Opticians interact directly with customers and must be enthusiastic, outgoing, able to listen, able to educate, genuinely concerned about the needs of others and able to multi-task.
Sometimes opticians have to work in lens labs where they prepare and modify eyeglass lenses. If you plan to work in a state that does not regulate the optical industry, your employer will likely train you to perform the necessary tasks. If you complete a diploma or apprenticeship program, you will acquire these skills as part of the training program.
When someone asks, “What is an optician?” it can be difficult to give a complete answer. This is due to the many roles an optician must fulfill. An optician must be proficient in eyeglass fitting, lens modification, frame repair, fashion trends, and customer service. They spend a lot of time with clients and must be adept at resolving conflicts as they arise. Opticians must be excellent in providing the products and services that customers are looking for.
A career as an optician is very rewarding, but you should be aware that it may take time and effort to acquire the necessary skills. The best advice is to be patient and strive for excellence in everything you do. If you take this to heart, you will do very well and be highly sought after in the optical industry.
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