How to Become an Optician in Florida

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How to Become an Optician in Florida

Without opticians, people’s eyesight would decline fast, especially in older age.

Do you want to work as an optician in the state of Florida?

If so, check out this article to learn more about this profession!

Optician Job Duties in Florida

Opticians play a crucial role in providing tailored eyewear solutions that cater to the needs and preferences of their clients.

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This involves executing various tasks such as:

  • Crafting customized eyewear
  • Perfecting the fit and adjustments of eyewear
  • Enlightening customers on eyewear-related concerns and upkeep
  • Maintaining detailed sales records
  • Calculating insurance co-pays
  • Managing inventory
  • Collaborating with lens-manufacturing laboratories

It’s important to note that opticians do not conduct eye examinations or issue eyewear prescriptions.

Optician Training in Florida

In Florida, specific educational requirements for opticians are not mandatory.

Yet, various post-secondary institutions offer specialized training programs for aspiring opticians.

Hillsborough Community College

The program offered here has a duration of 6 semesters.

It is a hybrid program, with some of the classes offered only online.

Clinic and laboratory classes are also included.

Manatee Technical College

The duration of the program available here is about 10 weeks, in a full-time format.

It also includes 200 hours of clinical practice,

Upon graduation, students earn the AOA Certified Paraoptometric Assistant (CPOA) certification.

Classes start at 8 am.

The tuition is around $4195.60, but the final amount varies based on various factors.

William T McFatter Technical College

Depending on whether you’re a resident of Florida or not, you’ll have different tuitions to pay.

Resident students will pay around $3,000 while out-of-state students will pay a bit over $13,000.

However, there are some other fees you’ll need to cover, such as for the TABE test, supplies, and more.

The program lasts for 10 months, or 1,080 hours.

The classes are hybrid, full-time, and start at 8 am on weekdays.

Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible for the Paraoptometric Assistant certification.

Additionally, you also can earn credits towards other programs that award associate degrees.

Nova Southeastern University

This university offers a Doctorate Degree in Optometry.

Through this degree, you can also help patients rehabilitate their eyesight if needed or where possible.

Additionally, if you need to continue your education, this University also has classes designed for this purpose.

School Name Address
Hillsborough Community College 1206 N Park Rd, Plant City, FL 33563
William T McFatter Technical College 6500 Nova Drive, Davie, Florida 33317
Manatee Technical College 5520 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34211
Nova Southeastern University 3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796
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Before selecting a school, aspiring opticians should review the program requirements, which typically include:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Completion of specific classes with a minimum grade of C
  • Submission of 2 letters of recommendation
  • OAT scores (not older than 5 years)
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75

Some schools incorporate a 120-hour externship as part of the training, and the duration of these programs generally spans around 7 months.

During the program, students delve into subjects such as:

  • Introduction to Optometry,
  • Ocular Anatomy,
  • Neuroscience,
  • Ocular Microbiology,
  • Ophthalmic Imaging,
  • Public Health Optometry,
  • Glaucoma,
  • Physics

Certification or Licensure for an Optician in Florida

Obtaining a license in Florida is exclusively reserved for individuals enrolled in a qualifying program.

The State Board of Dispensing Opticians oversees the licensure process and grants licenses to candidates meeting at least one of the following criteria:

  • Holding a license in a reciprocal state
  • Accumulating a minimum of 3 years of relevant experience
  • Completing a 3-year apprenticeship within the past 6 years
  • Working as an optician in a state with no licensing requirements
  • Graduating from an approved post-secondary optician program along with a year of apprenticeship

To obtain licensure, candidates must pass the National Opticianry Competency Examination administered by the American Board of Opticianry.

The NOCE assesses proficiency in spectacle-related skills at three difficulty levels:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Beginner-level subjects include reading prescriptions, fitting and dispensing spectacles, and utilizing standard ophthalmic equipment.

Typically, employers cover the exam fee, which is around $200.

Individuals desiring to dispense contact lenses must pass an additional exam, the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) conducted by the National Contact Lens Examiners.

This exam, also with difficulty levels mirroring the ABO, requires a $200 fee usually covered by the employer.

The CLRE assesses competencies in pre-fitting for lenses, diagnostic fitting, lens dispensing, patient education, delivery, and follow-up.

These license exams are available in both English and Spanish.

Before taking the exams, candidates must submit necessary paperwork, including:

  • Proof of age over 18
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • A completed application
  • Requisite fees
  • A clean criminal record
  • Passing the State Practical Examination
  • Evidence of completed training or a minimum of 3 years of experience.

Florida opticians are required to renew their licenses every three years, involving the completion of an additional 20 hours of education.

Optician Salary in Florida

In Florida, opticians can anticipate an annual salary ranging from $44,700 to $58,000.

Notably, residing in major urban centers such as Miami or Stuart increases the likelihood of securing a more lucrative salary.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Stuart $51,900
Port Salerno $51,900
Palm Beach $51,800
Miami $51,500
Fort Lauderdale $51,500
Miami Beach $51,500
Margate $51,500
Hialeah $51,300
Tavernier $51,100
Saint Petersburg $50,500

Regional Salary in Florida

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL170$50,350$24.21$73,130$29,490
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL60$52,790$25.38$74,070$30,940
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL120$47,550$22.86$65,760$29,210
Gainesville, FL40$47,300$22.74$64,480$29,750
Jacksonville, FL270$48,140$23.14$73,450$30,300
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL100$49,570$23.83$63,560$30,550
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL840$47,930$23.04$68,860$25,140
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL90$52,480$25.23$75,380$32,250
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL310$50,720$24.39$73,130$36,400
Ocala, FL80$47,700$22.94$65,820$29,180
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL570$46,440$22.33$70,620$28,520
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL110$50,580$24.32$72,800$30,130
Panama City, FL50$49,070$23.59$74,280$29,560
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL90$49,470$23.79$72,800$30,160
Port St. Lucie, FL90$52,640$25.31$65,260$33,280
Punta Gorda, FL60$48,640$23.39$64,990$30,160
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL40$47,470$22.82$73,940$24,660
Tallahassee, FL50$49,500$23.8$71,070$28,580
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL610$50,180$24.13$70,720$30,970
* 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

Where can I find work as an optician in Florida?

Opticians typically find employment in diverse settings, including:

  • Retail stores
  • Professional offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Medical clinics

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

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 and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • Florida Board of Opticianry
  • Florida Optometric Association
  • National Commission on State Opticianry Regulatory Boards
  • Professional Opticians of Florida

What are the skills needed by an optician in Florida?

Opticians have the following abilities:

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

USA Optician Schools by State

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