How to Become an Optician in Iowa

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How to Become an Optician in Iowa

Do you want to start your new career as an optician in Iowa?

If so, all you have to do is read on and learn more about the qualifications to make your dream come true.

Remember this occupation allows you to help others improve their eyesight.

Optician Job Duties

Opticians play a crucial role in assisting individuals in selecting the perfect eyewear that aligns with their preferences and needs, all while being mindful of their budgetary constraints.

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Key responsibilities of opticians encompass a range of tasks, including:

  • Crafting eyewear to specifications
  • Expertly fitting and adjusting eyewear
  • Providing valuable insights to customers on eyewear concerns and upkeep
  • Maintaining meticulous sales records
  • Calculating insurance co-pays
  • Managing inventory
  • Collaborating with lens-manufacturing labs

It’s worth noting that the outlined duties are not exhaustive, as additional responsibilities may be assigned based on the specific work environment.

Opticians, however, do not engage in two distinct actions:

  • Conducting eye inspections
  • Issuing eyewear prescriptions

Optician Training in Iowa

In Iowa, opticians are not required to obtain a license to practice their profession.

Nevertheless, obtaining certifications proves advantageous when seeking employment or aspiring to advance in one’s career.

While Iowa lacks specific laws or regulations for opticians, there is a notable institution offering a program in this field.

Iowa Central Community College 

The program at Iowa Central Community College spans two years.

It is a pre-optometry-type program.

It culminates in an Associate’s degree in optometry.

Highlighted classes in the program include:

  • Introduction to Optometry
  • Ocular Anatomy, Systems 1: Neuroscience
  • General Biology I
  • General Chemistry I
  • Ophthalmic Imaging
  • Public Health Optometry
  • Glaucoma,
  • Ethical Conflicts
  • Physics

To be accepted into this program you must study harder in these subjects:

  • Physics,
  • Chemistry,
  • Biology,
  • Mathematics
  • English

Borough of Manhattan Community College

This community college provides a fully online course without fixed start dates.

Enrollment has no specific requirements.

Upon completion, students will be prepared for the ABO certification exam.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Simple math and algebra
  • Soft contact lenses
  • Gas-permeable contact lenses
  • Legal responsibilities and ethics
  • The parts of the eye
  • Refractive errors
  • Strabismus and amblyopia
  • Other common ocular conditions
  • Prism basics

Otero College

While situated in Colorado, this college provides a fully online optician training program.

Enrollment is open at any time, and no specific requirements are necessary.

However, having a high school diploma or its equivalent is recommended as the minimum requirement for the ABO exam.

Completion of the program results in obtaining a certificate.

For those seeking a degree, there’s an option to enroll in the Bridge to Bachelor’s degree, which can be selected during the initial enrollment or the first semester.

It is advisable to check with the college and the department to confirm the inclusion of the optometry program.

School Name Address
Iowa Central Community College 1 Triton Cir, Fort Dodge, IA 50501
Borough of Manhattan Community College online
Otero College online
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For those seeking more options, explore online training courses or programs available in different states, all designed to adequately prepare you for the licensing exams.

Commencing these programs may pose some challenges, as schools typically admit individuals meeting specific criteria, including:

  • Possession of 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)
  • A minimum GPA of 2.75

Many individuals opt to initiate their careers through apprenticeships under experienced or licensed opticians before attempting the required certification exams.

Optician Certification in Iowa

Although Iowa lacks licensing requirements for opticians, professionals can enhance their qualifications through certifications.

Interested individuals can take the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) organized by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO for short).

Opticians can also choose to take the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) offered by the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) if they want to dispense contact lenses.

The CLRE is not mandatory but the former one is.

Both exams are available in English and Spanish, lasting approximately 2 hours and consisting of three levels:

  • Beginner,
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced.

NOCE evaluates skills such as:

  • Reading prescriptions,
  • Fitting and dispensing spectacles,
  • Using standard ophthalmic equipment.

CLRE subjects include pre-fitting for lenses, diagnostic fitting, lens dispensing, patient education, delivery, and follow-up.

Candidates must pay around $200 for each exam and must score at least 70% to pass.

The exams are administered through Prometric testing centers across the state.

Optician Certification Renewal

Certifications must be renewed every 3 years, involving a renewal fee and participation in additional classes to stay updated in the field.

Optician Salary in Iowa

Several factors contribute to determining your income as an optician in Iowa:

  • Job Title
  • Geographic Location
  • Specific Job Responsibilities
  • Certification(s) Attained
  • Leadership Positions
  • Distinctions between Sales and Technician Roles
  • Professional Experience

To illustrate, novice opticians typically earn an average annual salary of $53,100.

Those with advanced expertise, credentials, and increased responsibilities may command an annual income of around $50,800.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Toeterville $52,700
Berwick $51,300
Des Moines $51,300
Ackworth $51,000
Van Meter $51,000
Cedar Rapids $50,800
Badger $50,800
Brooklyn $50,300
Sigourney $50,300
Council Bluffs $50,200

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA40$38,790$18.65$50,580$31,370
Cedar Rapids, IA120$39,270$18.88$48,020$29,240
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL90$36,230$17.42$49,770$29,300
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA240$39,610$19.04$52,580$29,670
Dubuque, IA50$35,960$17.29$46,570$28,290
Iowa City, IA70$37,790$18.17$50,750$28,650
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD50$37,240$17.91$49,440$28,540
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA40$37,950$18.24$51,490$28,040
* 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 Iowa?

Opticians nationwide, encompassing more than just Iowa, are employed in various settings, including:

  • Retail Stores
  • Corporate Offices
  • Optometry Practices
  • Hospitals
  • Medical Clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Clinics

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

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
  • Optician Association of Iowa

What are the skills needed by an optician in Iowa?

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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