Many of us get confused about the work profiles of ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians. To clear things up, an ophthalmologist is a medical professional who is responsible for diagnosing and treating complications related to the eyes. An optometrist, although not a physician, is qualified to practice optometry, carry out vision tests, and suggest the use of appropriate glasses or contact lenses to clients. On the other hand, an optician helps one choose the right kind of eye-wear.
An optician recommends appropriate frames or contact lenses to the patients depending on what has been prescribed by their optometrist. They also examine broken glasses to determine the original prescription to make a duplicate pair, without you having to go to the optometrist again. Opticians make sure that the eye-wear enhances the client's facial features and provides them with clear and correct vision. They are generally employed in eye care centers, hospitals or retail stores. Opticians, like other healthcare professionals, have to meet certain licensing requirements in most countries; for example, American Board of Opticianry in United States. They may choose to work independently, or in a joint practice, with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Their average salary ranges from $20,000 to $47,000 including bonus and commission.
Coming to the career outlook of this profession, opticians have comparatively more job security with lesser impact of any global financial crisis. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median optician salary was $32,940 in the year 2010. The number of jobs that year were around 62,600 and the employment is expected to grow by 29% from 2010 to 2020. Following is an overview of an optician's pay scale.
Salary According to Location
Job location is an important factor when it comes to an individual's salary. Similarly, opticians are paid higher in major states such as New York, California, Massachusetts, etc., as compared to the others. New York ranks highest with an approximate salary of $41,000 as of Jan 2013. The table below shows state-wise optician salary.
Salary According to Experience
As a fresher in the industry, you can expect a starting salary of $16,000 per year which can go up to $60,000 with increased experience and skills. The table below shows the salaries of opticians according to experience.
|1 to 4 years||$16,000 - $45,000|
|5 to 9 years||$20,000 - $46,000|
|10 to 19 years||$28,000 - $63,000|
Salary According to Degree
Although there are no such educational requirements to become an optician, holding an associate's or bachelor's degree in opticianry may prove beneficial to bag a higher pay package. Here's how salaries vary according to your degree.
|Bachelor's Degree||$15,000 - $67,000|
|Associate's Degree||$29,000 - $60,000|
|Associate of Applied Science, Opticianry||$29,000 - $55,000|
Salary According to Certification
The requirements for certification vary from state to state. But it is compulsory in most states that the applicants pass a practical or written examination. Employers may also require applicants to be certified by American Board Of Opticianry (ABO) or National Contact Lens Examiner (NCLE). Here is a table providing optician salary according to certification.
|American Board Of Opticianry (ABO) Certified Optician||$20,000 - $63,000|
|Licensed Optician||$28,000 - $61,000|
|National Contact Lens Examiner (NCLE)||$19,000 - $63,000|
As an optician, one has to make sure that he/she keep himself/herself updated with latest developments in this field. With an ever-increasing demand, this profession is bound to be rewarding for those who have a keen interest, great communication skills and an ability to work hard.
- All the above figures are mentioned in US dollars.
- All the above figures are as per Indeed and PayScale as of Jan, 2013.
- The figures are subject to change depending on employer, educational qualification, experience and several other factors.