How to Become an Optician in Virginia

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How to Become an Optician in Virginia

Maybe you want to change your career, and what would be better than the medical field?

Opticians are sought after in Virginia, so you will find your first job fast.

But, before that, you should have a look at the requirements for this profession.

Take a look at the article below for info!

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Optician Job Duties

A skilled optician guides individuals in selecting the perfect eyewear that complements their unique preferences and requirements.

Opticians refrain from providing eyeglass prescriptions and instead focus on a variety of essential tasks daily, including:

  • Determining insurance co-pays
  • Keeping the inventory
  • Interacting with the labs that make lenses
  • Preparing eyewear
  • Fitting and adjusting eyewear
  • Educating customers about eyewear issues and maintenance
  • Keeping sales records

Optician Training in Virginia

In Virginia, the licensing process for opticians is overseen by the Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians, which also acknowledges certification from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).

To obtain your license, certain steps must be followed, detailed later in this process.

Employers typically value candidates who possess:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Reliability
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • A clean criminal record
  • An optician license

Embarking on your journey to become an optician involves enrolling in a specialized training program within your locality.

J Sargeant Reynolds Community College

Opting for J Sargeant Reynolds Community College provides you with an Associate in Applied Science Degree.

This program spans around 2 years.

Another option is the Opticians Apprentice Career Studies Certificate program.

Southwest Virginia Community College

This Community College offers a specialized certificate program in Opticianry.

The classes for each course offer between 1 and 5 credits.

They’re held a few times per week until the program is completed.

Otero College

Despite the college being in Colorado, it offers a fully online optician training program.

Enrollment is open at any time, with no specific requirements.

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 pursuing a degree, there is 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
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College 1651 E Parham Rd, Richmond, VA 23228
Southwest Virginia Community College 635 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609
Southwest Virginia Community College (alternate campus) 369 College Road US Rt. 19, 6 Miles S. Claypool Hill, Richlands, Virginia 24641-1101
Otero College online
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Each institution sets its enrollment criteria, typically requiring:

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

Program durations vary, with the general timeframe for completion being around six months.

However, individuals seeking higher education options can pursue degree programs lasting approximately four years.

Optician training programs encompass a blend of theoretical and practical hours, covering topics such as:

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

Certification or Licensure for an Optician in Virginia

To secure an optician license in this state, meeting the following requirements is essential:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED
  • Completion of a degree program involving a minimum of two years of study
  • Pass the Virginia Opticians State Licensing exam

The subsequent step involves undertaking the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) administered by the ABO.

This examination comprises three phases:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The beginner level necessitates proficiency in:

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

The examination fee, approximately $200, can typically be covered by your employer.

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

Exam topics for lens dispensers encompass pre-fitting for lenses, diagnostic fitting, lens dispensing, patient education, delivery, and follow-up.

Candidates must also meet the following criteria:

  • 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

Notably, the state of Virginia does not impose additional educational prerequisites.

However, it is imperative to renew ABO and NCLE credentials every three years.

Optician Salary in Virginia

In Virginia, optician salaries exhibit variations influenced by credentials and geographical location.

However, the median salary for opticians in Virginia is around $52,800.

If you want a better idea of how high the salary can be, look at the next table!

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Annandale $59,100
West Mclean $59,100
Vienna $59,000
Aldie $58,800
Woodstock $58,800
Sterling $58,400
Zacata $55,500
Stratford $55,500
Rileyville $53,600
Banco $53,100

Regional Salary in Virginia

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA30$50,010$24.04$64,730$31,740
Charlottesville, VA60$54,300$26.11$70,620$37,480
Harrisonburg, VA30$58,330$28.05$68,280$43,410
Lynchburg, VA70$46,170$22.2$61,010$28,910
Richmond, VA310$51,000$24.52$64,660$29,970
Roanoke, VA110$47,280$22.73$60,750$31,520
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA30$50,160$24.11$60,250$30,210
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC470$49,180$23.64$61,150$29,220
Winchester, VA-WV40$50,890$24.47$71,240$29,870
* 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 Virginia?

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 Virginia?

Securing an optician license opens up diverse work opportunities, allowing you to thrive in various settings, including:

  • Retail stores
  • Professional offices
  • Optometry practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics

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

You may need more info, and if that is the case, have a look at the following:

  • American Board of Optometry and National Contact Lens Examiners
  • Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation-Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians
  • Optician Apprenticeships in Virginia
  • Virginia Board of Optometry
  • Virginia Optician Salaries

USA Optician Schools by State

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