How to Become an Optician in Arizona

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How to Become an Optician in Arizona

Maintaining optimal vision is crucial for performing various daily tasks effectively.

Opticians hold a significant position in assisting individuals with impaired vision, and there is a widespread demand for these professionals nationwide.

If you are seeking employment opportunities and contemplating a career path, explore the prospects of becoming an optician in Arizona by delving into this article!

Optician Job Tasks in Arizona

Ensuring clients receive the optimal eyewear tailored to their specific needs and preferences is the primary focus of opticians.

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This involves executing various responsibilities, including:

  • Preparing eyewear
  • Conducting fitting and adjustments of eyewear
  • Providing education to customers on eyewear-related issues and maintenance
  • Maintaining sales records
  • Determining insurance co-pays
  • Managing inventory
  • Collaborating with lens-manufacturing labs

It’s important to note that opticians in Arizona do not engage in eye inspections or prescription writing for eyewear.

Optician Qualifications and Prerequisites in Arizona

While Arizona does not impose specific licensing prerequisites for opticians, possessing proper certification significantly enhances job prospects in the state.

Many employers prefer candidates who have successfully passed the American Board of Opticians (ABO) exam.

Additionally, some positions, particularly those involving contact lenses, may require candidates to pass the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam.

Optician Education Opportunities in Arizona

Despite the absence of mandatory education and licensing requirements in Arizona, several post-secondary institutions offer programs designed for aspiring opticians.

Below are some of the institutions in Arizona providing such educational programs.

Before selecting a school, it’s essential to review the enrollment prerequisites for the program.

Prospective students may be required to provide:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Completion of specific classes with a minimum grade of C
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation
  • OAT scores (not older than 5 years)
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75

Arizona College of Optometry

This college is part of the Midwestern University.

Through its program, you can earn the Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree.

The program is designed for face-to-face training and exposes the students to clinical settings at an early stage.

For this doctoral degree, only 60 students are accepted per year.

There are some prerequisites to meet, such as:

  • Passing a criminal background check
  • Having a GPA of at least 2.75 in science-related classes
  • Completing some mandatory courses with a grade of at least C
  • Pass an entrance exam
  • Having 2 letters of recommendation

Gateway Community College

For those aspiring to become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant, the Gateway Community College program provides a unique opportunity.

This program includes a 120-hour externship as an integral part of the seven-month duration.

Throughout an optometry educational program, students delve into various subjects such as:

  • Introduction to Optometry
  • Ocular Anatomy
  • Systems 1: Neuroscience
  • Ocular Microbiology
  • Ophthalmic Imaging
  • Public Health Optometry
  • Glaucoma
  • Physics
School Name Address
Arizona College of Optometry 5865 W Utopia Rd, Glendale, AZ 85308
Gateway Community College 108 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
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Optician Certification in Arizona

In Arizona, the regulatory authority overseeing optician licensing is the State Board of Dispensing Opticians.

To obtain a license, individuals must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Hold a license in a reciprocal state.
  • Accumulate a minimum of 3 years of experience
    • This may include a 3-year apprenticeship within the past 6 years or relevant work as an optician in a state without licensing requirements.
  • Graduate from an approved post-secondary optician program and complete a year of apprenticeship.

Successful completion of the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) administered by ABO is a mandatory requirement.

The NOCE comprises three difficulty levels:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced,
    • This difficulty level focuses exclusively on spectacles.

Topics for the beginner level include reading prescriptions, fitting and dispensing spectacles, and using standard ophthalmic equipment.

Employers often cover the approximately $200 exam fee.

Those wishing to dispense contact lenses must pass the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE), which mirrors the difficulty levels of ABO.

The CLRE fee is also around $200, typically covered by employers.

Exam topics encompass:

  • Pre-fitting for lenses
  • Diagnostic fitting
  • Dispensing of lenses
  • Patient Education
  • Delivery
  • Follow-up

Both certification exams are available in English or Spanish.

Applicants for these exams are required to:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete an application
  • Pay necessary fees
  • Maintain a clean criminal record
  • Pass the State Practical Examination
  • Provide proof of completed training, education, or a minimum of 3 years of experience

Opticians in Arizona must renew their licenses every three years by fulfilling 12 credit hours of continuing education.

Optician Salary in Arizona

Nationally, the median salary for opticians is $53,000 per year.

In Arizona, opticians earn an average salary of approximately $51,800 per year.

It’s essential to consider that multiple factors can impact individual earnings.

The following table highlights cities in Arizona where opticians may potentially earn higher salaries.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Yuma $53,800
Oatman $53,000
Gilbert $52,300
Phoenix $52,300
Chandler $52,300
Tempe $52,300
Glendale $52,300
Peoria $52,200
Avondale $52,100
Surprise $51,800

Regional Salary in Arizona

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ50$38,930$18.71$61,440$29,120
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ1,250$46,400$22.31$64,050$33,280
Prescott, AZ40$44,740$21.51$64,050$32,600
Tucson, AZ200$44,920$21.6$64,600$31,890
Yuma, AZ40$39,470$18.98$65,730$29,780
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Opticians, Dispensing, OCC Code 29-2081, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the skills needed by an optician in Arizona?

Opticians have the following abilities:

  • Attention to details
  • Good communication skills
  • Adaptable to new situations
  • Business skills
  • Physical stamina
  • Ability to perform repetitive tasks

Where can I find work as an optician in Arizona?

Here are some of the places hiring opticians:

  • Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation
  • Low Birth Weight Clinic
  • Nursing homes
  • Private optician practices

How can I stay updated on changes to the regulations regarding opticians in Arizona?

Many organizations change their rules and regulations.

Here are some institutions that can help you stay up-to-date with changes in the industry:

  • American Board of Opticianry & National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • American Optometric Association
  • Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
  • National Optometric Association
  • Arizona Association of Dispensing Opticians
  • Arizona State Board of Dispensing Opticians
  • OptiCon

USA Optician Schools by State

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