At a Glance

Years in School (after high school graduation):

2 or more

Hourly Wage:

$13.75-$29.86 (Mean $21.52)
*based on 2016 Alaska DOL data

One-page Description (PDF):


Professional Activities

Dispensing opticians, also known as opticians, make and fit eye glasses and lenses prescribed by ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) or optometric physicians. Dispensing opticians take facial measurements and assist in frame and lens selection. Although optical laboratories usually produce the actual lens, some opticians grind lenses according to the prescription and patient’s measurements. The dispensing optician adjusts the eye glasses to the customer.

Dispensing opticians can also dispense contact lenses from the prescription provided by an ophthalmologist or optometric physician. Opticians often teach about the use and care of contact lenses.

Opticians often have their own businesses or work with large retail optical chains or in private practice. In rural Alaska, most opticians work in regional hospital eye clinics. They generally work closely with the optometric physician or ophthalmologist.

Educational Requirements

Dispensing opticians can receive training through college and technical school-based programs, or through an apprenticeship.

  • High school diploma or GED and an aptitude for science, manual dexterity, and the ability to work with people.
  • Completion of at least 1,800 hours of training as an apprentice or graduation from an associate degree program in a recognized school or college of opticianry.
  • Registration as an apprentice is required by the State of Alaska. Apprentices must spend a minimum of 1800 hours working under a licensed optician.
  • Successful completion of the Career Progression Program for Opticians through the National Academy of Opticianry.
  • Pass the National Certification exam by the American Board of Opticianry and/or the National Contact Lens Examiners.
  • Alaska requires a license to be a dispensing optician. A license in Alaska is issued for 1) dispensing contact lenses, 2) dispensing other lenses, eyeglasses, spectacles, artificial eyes, and their appurtenances, or 3) both.

Academic Programs

There are no opticianary schools in Alaska. The following website lists U.S. programs by state: http://www.eyecareprofessions.com/opticians/schools.html The closest program is at Seattle Central College, which has a two-year program leading to an associate of applied science degree in Opticianry. The program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation.

Seattle Central College
The School of Opticianry, Allied Health Division
1701 Broadway, Room BE3210
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 934-4347
Email: Info.Central@seattlecolleges.edu
Website: http://seattlecentral.edu/programs/opticianry/


State Contact:

Opticians Association of Alaska (OAAK)
c/o Golden North Optics Inc.
1521 Stacia Street
Fairbanks, AK 99701
President: Christi Brand
Email: framed@gci.net
Website: http://www.oaak.org/

For licensing information, contact:
State of Alaska
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development
Division of Occupational Licensing, Board of Dispensing Opticians
PO Box 110806
Juneau, AK 99811-0806
Phone: (907) 465-2588
Fax: (907) 465-2974
Email: laura.carrillo@alaska.gov
Website: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/DispensingOpticians.aspx

National Contact:

Opticians Association of America (OAA)
3740 Canada Road
Lakeland, TN 38002
Phone: (901) 388-2423
Fax: (901) 388-2348
Email: chris_allen14@att.net
Website: http://www.oaa.org/

National Academy of Opticianry
8401 Corporate Drive, Suite 605
Landover, Maryland 20785
Toll free: (800) 229-4828
Fax: (301) 577-3880
E-mail: http://www.nao.org/contact/
Website: http://www.nao.org/

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