How Much Does Dispensing Optician Program Cost?

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$ On-the-Job Training: Free; Study Programs Cost About $400 $ $ High: Community Colleges Average $600-$5,400 a Year

The role of the dispensing opticians is to select and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses for patients by following prescriptions written by ophthalmologists or optometrists.

Duties of the dispensing opticians include grinding and inserting lenses into a frame, as well as preparing the order for a laboratory technician.

Opticians then need to verify the lenses have been made to specification and reshape them as necessary to fit the patient.

Programs and license requirements also vary by state.

Currently, 22 states come with licensing boards.

Popular Programs

The training can occur on the job or through an associated applied science program at a community college.

Typical Costs

Degrees are not required for becoming an optician.

On-the-job training programs usually last for two years to complete and are often paid positions.

The trainees can start as receptionists, then according to interests and skill levels, can learn how to grind lenses and how to fit frames at in-house labs.

The states where licensing is required, students can study for the exam by using audiotape/workbook packages, which cost about $400.

The average annual Community College costs are priced at $600-$5,400.

The tuition fees at 21 schools accredited through the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation are approx. $4,670-$9,590 for residents during the two-year program.

For example, the Community College of Southern Nevada provides the 73-credits course for $64 per one credit or $4,670 for the entire program.

The non-residents need to pay $70 per unit totalling $5,090.

Hillsborough Community College in Florida, for example, provides a 72-hour degree course at about $78 per credit or $5,600 for the two-year program for residents.

Additional Costs

  • The American Board of Opticianry provides a voluntary certification program for dispensing opticians.
  • Twice a year the opticians can take the National Opticianry Competency Exam or the Contact Lens Registry Examination for the sum of $150 each.
  • The certificates require renewal every three years with continuing education requirements.
  • The needed books and supplies vary by school around $300-$800 annually.
  • The study package, which includes audiotapes and workbooks, costs around $400.


  • The users learning on the job should know that some corporations provide to pay for courses or program materials which is necessary to study for and pass the voluntary national exam.
  • There is also financial aid for community college courses available for residents.
  • The first step for student loans and grants is often through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

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