Dispensing opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. They also help customers decide which eyeglass frames or contact lenses to buy.
About half of opticians worked in offices of optometrists or offices of physicians in 2014. Other opticians worked in stores that sell eyeglasses, contact lenses, visual aids, and other optical goods. These stores may be stand-alone businesses or parts of larger retail establishments, such as department stores.
How to Become a Dispensing Optician
Opticians typically have a high school diploma or equivalent and some form of on-the-job training. Some opticians enter the occupation with an associate’s degree or a certificate from a community college or technical school. About half of the states require opticians to be licensed.
Employment of opticians is projected to grow 24 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and increasing rates of chronic disease are expected to lead to greater demand for corrective eyewear.
This occupation supported 67,600 jobs in 2012 and 75,200 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 11.2%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 23.5% in 2022 to 83,500 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 70,700, compared with an observed value of 75,200, 6.4% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 26.3% in 2024 to 93,000 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 86,600 jobs for 2024, 6.9% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.