Opticians work on the front lines of vision care. They are one of the most important members of the eye care team because of the amount of direct interaction with customers. Customer loyalty is often won or lost based on how well the frame selection and eye wear fitting process goes. All optical employers should consider including a requirement for sociable personality traits in the optician job description. Qualities that clients appreciate are essential to a successful career.
Interviewing the Optical Employer
There are a wide range of requirements placed on opticians by different types of optical employers and it is important for applicants to review the optician job description with each employer prior to signing a contract. As you may have experienced in the past, the office environment and culture can have a tremendous impact on how well you are able to perform your job. If an employer places little value on the optician’s contribution to the team, then it could become a challenge for you to be successful in that position. Generally, you will want to make sure that you are agreeing to work for a business that values the services that the optician brings to the practice. It is also a good idea to ask about opportunities for career advancement and continuing education benefits.
General Optician Job Categories and Requirements
The optician job description will generally detail tasks that fall within two very specific categories. The first category addresses eyeglass and contact lens fitting while the second has to do with assisting clients with the frame selection process. In order to provide the highest levels of quality and care, an optician must possess detailed knowledge of current fitting standards and modern fashion trends. The technical skills involved in these activities are usually acquired through formal education, training, and experience. The materials that we list in the training resources section of this website provide an excellent foundation for opticians to build on. They are also frequently used to prepare for the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Certification Exams.
Tasks included in the optician job description may include:
- Interpretation of prescriptions written by ophthalmologists and optometrists
- Collection of eye measurements including corneal width and thickness
- Helping clients select eyeglass and lens treatments including tints and coatings
- Creating work orders for lab technicians to ensure delivery of the proper lenses
- Adjusting eyeglasses to ensure a proper fit
- Repairing broken frames
- Educating clients on proper eyeglass and contact lens care
- Keeping track of orders, prescriptions, and inventory
Important Career Considerations
There are many different types of optical employers that each have a slightly unique idea about which aspects of the business are most important. Opticians benefit from this diverse set of employers because it creates more job opportunities and allows individuals to select an establishment that complements their personality and career objectives. All opticians are encouraged to perform an honest assessment of the type of office that would be best suited for them prior to beginning the application process.
The majority of opticians work in offices owned by optometrists, but there are many other options available. Some opticians choose to work in medical practices or large optical retail chains. If you work in a medical setting, you may be expected to perform tasks that are more medically oriented; whereas, if you work in a retail environment, you will likely be expected to be good at customer interaction and product sales.
Your decision on where to work should factor in both the salary that you hope to receive as well as the types of people you will be working with and career advancement opportunities. If you hope to one day become part of the management team in a large regional optical business, then you may want to avoid seeking long-term employment at a small local boutique establishment. Alternatively, if you prefer to work in an environment that allows for more direct and personalized interaction with customers then you may want to avoid the large regional employer.
One of the most important things to understand is that there are a variety of options that work well for different people. The optician job description will always include the basic tasks, but it is the details relating to the types of products and services that a business provides that will allow you to make an informed decision about what is the most appropriate option for you. Some want to optimize their salary in a high volume store while others want the quality feel of a small boutique.