At a Glance
Years in School (after high school graduation):
2 or more
$13.75-$29.86 (Mean $21.52)
*based on 2016 Alaska DOL data
One-page Description (PDF):
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.
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.
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
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
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