How to Become an Optician in Pennsylvania

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How to Become an Optician in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, there is a high demand for opticians.

This means that the industry is going strong, and you will be able to find a job fast.

But, how can you go about becoming an optician?

Read on to find out more!

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Optician Job Duties

Opticians play a crucial role in helping clients select the most suitable eyewear based on their specific requirements.

It’s important to clarify that opticians do not issue glasses prescriptions.

The daily responsibilities of an optician include but are not limited to:

  • Skillfully preparing eyewear for optimal use
  • Ensuring precise fitting and adjustments to enhance comfort
  • Providing customers with insightful education on eyewear concerns and effective maintenance practices
  • Maintaining accurate sales records for seamless transactions
  • Determining insurance co-pays to facilitate smooth financial transactions
  • Efficiently managing and organizing inventory to ensure a diverse selection
  • Collaborating closely with labs responsible for crafting high-quality lenses

Optician Training in Pennsylvania

Embarking on a training program in your local area stands out as the most straightforward route to gaining the necessary skills.

Luzerne County Community College

Opting for Luzerne County Community College offers the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree.

The program lasts for 2 years.

By the end of the training, students would have accumulated 64 credits.

Salus University

Salus University provides the option to pursue either a Master’s degree or a Doctorate.

The program has a duration of 4 years.

However, students can also choose the shorter program for the same degree.

The accelerated program lasts for 36 months.

This course takes place entirely on campus.

School Name Address
Luzerne County Community College 1333 South Prospect Street, Nanticoke, Pennsylvania 18634-3899
Salus University 8360 Old York Rd, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027-6262
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Enrollment criteria set by these institutions often include:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • Successful completion of specified classes with a minimum grade of C
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation
  • OAT scores dated within the last 5 years
  • Maintenance of a minimum GPA of 2.75

Typically, the duration of an optician program is around 7 months.

If you decide to attend a graduate program, the program could last for a couple of years.

Throughout the program, you will delve into various topics, including:

  • Introduction to Optometry
  • Ocular Anatomy
  • Systems 1: Neuroscience
  • Ocular Microbiology
  • Ophthalmic Imaging
  • Public Health Optometry
  • Glaucoma
  • Physics

This unique curriculum ensures a well-rounded education to prepare aspiring opticians for a successful career in the field.

Certification or Licensure for an Optician in Pennsylvania

To qualify for the exam, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:

  • A license in a reciprocal state
  • At least 3 years of experience
  • Can be an apprenticeship of 3 years in the past 6 years
  • Can be from working as an optician in a state with no licensing requirements
  • Graduate from an approved post-secondary optician program with a year of apprenticeship

Additionally, passing the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) with the ABO is a prerequisite.

The NOCE has three levels of difficulty:

  • Beginner,
  • Intermediate,
  • Advanced.

The beginner level covers topics such as reading prescriptions, fitting and dispensing spectacles, and using standard ophthalmic equipment.

There is a $200 fee associated with the NOCE, typically covered by the candidate’s employer.

For those aspiring to become lens dispensers, passing the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) is mandatory.

This examination covers topics like:

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

Similar to the NOCE, the employer often covers the examination fee.

Required documents include:

  • Age over 18
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • To fill out an application
  • To pay some fees
  • A clean criminal record
  • Passing the State Practical Examination
  • Proof of completed training, education, or at least 3 years of experience

Optician Certification Renewal

Pennsylvania mandates opticians to renew their licenses every 3 years.

This also means that you have to take 30 additional hours of classes for renewal.

This ensures that opticians stay current with evolving practices and advancements in the field.

Optician Salary in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, opticians typically command an annual salary of around x.

Comparatively, at the national level, the median salary for opticians stands at $53,000 per year.

For a more localized perspective, the table below highlights cities in Alabama where opticians are likely to enjoy higher earning potentials.

It’s important to note that several factors can impact your overall earnings.

The most important ones are your experience level and the area where you live.

Usually, you can expect to earn more in a big city compared to a rural region.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Warrington $56,900
Abington $56,300
Wyncote $56,300
Ambler $56,200
Unionville $55,600
West Chester $55,600
Stroudsburg $54,400
Whitehall $53,500
Analomink $53,400
Adamstown $52,800

Regional Salary in Pennsylvania

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ170$39,590$19.03$53,860$29,490
Altoona, PA50$35,220$16.93$45,010$27,490
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA30$35,290$16.97$44,900$28,490
East Stroudsburg, PA60$36,580$17.59$47,640$28,500
Erie, PA90$36,780$17.68$51,450$28,040
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA160$38,900$18.7$51,150$29,120
Johnstown, PA50$31,650$15.22$43,660$24,010
Lancaster, PA150$40,390$19.42$52,000$29,440
Lebanon, PA40$37,690$18.12$48,970$28,020
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD1,030$43,610$20.97$66,810$30,260
Pittsburgh, PA650$36,990$17.78$45,980$29,460
Reading, PA80$38,600$18.56$49,690$29,150
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA120$36,390$17.5$47,310$28,120
State College, PA60$35,950$17.29$47,630$28,610
York-Hanover, PA130$35,160$16.9$45,840$28,620
* 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 Pennsylvania?

Some of the facilities you can work in include:

  • Stores
  • Offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

What are the skills needed by an optician in Pennsylvania?

Opticians have the following abilities:

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

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

Many organizations change their rules and regulations.

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

  • National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO)
  • Pennsylvania Optometric Association
  • American Board of Opticianry & National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • American Optometric Association
  • Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
  • National Optometric Association
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation

USA Optician Schools by State

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