A dispensing optician is an individual who specializes in the eye wear selection and fitting process. An optician spends the majority of their day working in the optical dispensary where eyeglasses are displayed and sold. The primary role of the optician is to help customers find a pair of frames that match their unique sense of style and that fit comfortably. An optician may also collect face measurements, interpret lens prescriptions, repair frames, perform lens alterations, and help to resolve customer complaints.
In order to be a successful dispensing optician, one must possess specific personality traits. An optician must be able to get along well with people, be outgoing, have a genuine concern for the needs of customers, and be able to resolve issues that might arise. These character traits are critical to the success of an optician and can have a dramatic impact on the financial performance of the office in which they work. For this reason, many optical employers will assess an applicant’s personality before considering their level of education and training. They know that the health of their business hinges on the hiring of individuals with a personality that gets along well with others. In most optical establishments, the optician will spend more time with customers than anyone else on the eye care team. This means that a large part of the customer experience depends on how well they serve the customer.
While a dispensing optician spends most of the day with customers, there are general office tasks that they may be expected to perform. An optician may be asked to help keep track of inventory, assist with general upkeep, and offer suggestions on office layout and design. Many optical employers like to take opticians to vision expos and conferences in order to keep them up-to-date on current standards and practices. While attending these events, it is important for opticians to take note of new fashion trends and frame styles as well as attend breakout sessions on marketing to customers, making sales, and resolving conflicts. There may also be training events that allow opticians to learn about new techniques used to make frame and lens alterations. There is a wealth of information available at these events and opticians are encouraged to become actively involved.
Education and Training
As outlined in other posts on this site, a dispensing optician may be required to complete formal education and training depending on the state in which they work. States that have no opticianry requirements generally allow employers to train their opticians however they see fit. Despite the differences in training and education, opticians will generally be expected to be able to interpret eye wear prescriptions, fit frames properly, make lens alterations, keep track of inventory, and create work orders for lens laboratories. Many optical stores are now outsourcing lens customization orders to specialized laboratories. This has reduced the amount of in-office customization which means that fewer and fewer opticians are performing these tasks. Some employers may assign their opticians to the job of retail sales only. This is commonly done to improve office efficiency and increase financial performance.
As you can see, a successful dispensing optician has a friendly personality and the knowledge to perform all required tasks. It is very important to evaluate whether one’s personality is suitable for the optician career before completing formal education, training, and certification. Opticians who enter the profession without performing this self-assessment may find it difficult to enjoy their job. Those who enjoy working with people are encouraged to learn more about the regulations in their state and start looking for potential job opportunities.