How to Become an Optician in Tennessee

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How to Become an Optician in Tennessee

If you are looking to work as an optician in Tennessee, you should first have an idea of what you need to do.

Read on in order to learn more about the rules and regulations in this state.

This will help you get a clearer idea of the steps you need to take to become an optician in this state.

Optician Job Duties

An optician provides valuable advice to customers tailored to their unique eyewear needs and preferences.

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A typical day in the life of an optician encompasses the following tasks:

  • Crafting and preparing bespoke eyewear
  • Ensuring precise fitting and adjustment of eyewear
  • Enlightening customers on eyewear-related matters and maintenance nuances
  • Meticulously maintaining sales records
  • Skillfully determining insurance co-payments
  • Overseeing the meticulous management of inventory
  • Collaborating with lens-manufacturing labs to ensure the creation of high-quality lenses

However, an optician’s expertise does not extend to eye inspections or the prescription of eyewear.

An optician’s role revolves around providing personalized advice to customers, taking into account their specific needs and preferences.

Optician Training in Tennessee

In the state of Tennessee, prospective opticians can select from a few institutions to pursue their optician courses.

Let’s learn more about them!

Lipscomb University

At this university, students will enroll in a pre-optometry program.

Students have the chance of winning one of the 3 scholarships offered by this university.

The classes are small, so that teachers and students can get to connect better, and the education more efficient.

Job placements are also available to those who graduate.

Roane State Community College

Through this community college, you’ll be able to earn an AAS in Vision Care Technology.

The downside of this program is that you can’t be certain of how high the tuition is.

This is because it is decided by the Tennessee Board of Regents every year.

Additionally, books and other supplies are paid for, separately.

The program has a duration of 2 years.

Southern College of Optometry

The classes at this college are rather small, with a ratio of 9 students per 1 faculty member, in a year.

This is also why candidates are encouraged to apply early for a spot.

By the time students graduate, they will have seen about 2,500 patients, including during externships.

School Name Address
Lipscomb University One University Park Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37204-3951
Roane State Community College 276 Patton Lane, Harriman, Tennessee 37748
Southern College of Optometry 1245 Madison Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38104-2211
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These institutions offer programs leading to various degrees, including an Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, and even a Doctorate.

It’s noteworthy that the tuition for lower-degree programs tends to be more budget-friendly compared to higher-degree programs.

For those seeking a broader range of course options, exploring schools in other states is a viable alternative.

Depending on the chosen diploma, the duration of study ranges from a minimum of 7 months to 4 years.

However, gaining admission to these programs is not a walk in the park.

Prospective students should be prepared to meet certain expectations, including:

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

A glimpse into the curriculum reveals intriguing classes such as:

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

For those inclined towards a more hands-on approach, an apprenticeship lasting at least 3 years serves as an alternative to formal education.

Certification or Licensure for an Optician in Tennessee

The key assessments for future opticians include:

  • NBEO, with a comprehensive focus on Parts I, II, III, and the TMOD section
  • South Dakota Law and Ethics examination
  • National Commission of State Opticianry Regulatory Boards (NCSORB) evaluation
  • ABO-NCLE certification

The ABO-NCLE exams, available in both English and Spanish, are each priced at $200,

These present varying levels of difficulty, encompassing Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced tiers.

For the ABO exam, you need knowledge of:

  • Reading prescriptions
  • Fitting and dispensing spectacles
  • Proficiency in using standard ophthalmic equipment

Meanwhile, the NCLE examination allows you to dispense contact lenses.

The topics that this exam covers include:

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

Optician Certification Renewal

Ensuring the currency of your ABO-NCLE credentials needs renewal every three years.

This should be coupled with the completion of specified hours of continuous education.

This will help you keep up with the current trends and advancements in the field.

Optician Salary in Tennessee

In Tennessee, opticians enjoy a median salary of approximately $48,800 annually.

While larger cities tend to offer higher incomes, it’s crucial to note that various factors contribute to these variations.

Have a look at the below table to see what are the cities where optician salaries are higher.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Taft $50,400
Belfast $50,300
Belvidere $50,300
Shelbyville $49,700
Wartrace $49,700
Winchester $49,500
Alexandria $49,100
Silver Point $49,100
Rockvale $49,100
Adams $48,100

Regional Salary in Tennessee

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA90$46,060$22.15$68,540$28,130
Clarksville, TN-KY50$44,210$21.25$67,170$24,270
Jackson, TN30$42,600$20.48$72,800$27,510
Johnson City, TN50$40,170$19.31$59,630$23,230
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA70$42,190$20.28$61,870$27,830
Knoxville, TN190$44,140$21.22$64,520$28,270
Memphis, TN-MS-AR210$42,870$20.61$65,360$28,810
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN400$45,090$21.68$67,130$28,230
* 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

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

Many people still need help with extra classes and even with finding employment, and these are some of the best resources:

  • National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO)
  • Tennessee Department of Health
  • National Commission of State Opticianry Regulatory Boards (NCSORB)
  • Tennessee Dispensing Opticians Association
  • American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)
  • Tennessee Dispensing Technicians Association
  • Tennessee Board of Dispensing Opticians
  • Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA)

What are the skills needed by an optician in Tennessee?

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 Tennessee?

If you’re contemplating potential workplaces, consider exploring opportunities in diverse settings such as:

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

USA Optician Schools by State

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