Average Opticians in the United States make around $14.91 per hour. Cash earnings for Opticians — including $5K in bonuses and $4K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $22K to $50K depending on individual performance. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the company, but years of experience and geography are influential factors as well. While some workers in this profession — approximately two in five — do not have any health coverage, a little less than one-half do receive medical benefits and just under one in three have dental insurance. Work is enjoyable for Opticians, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Female Opticians make up most of the survey respondents at 78 percent. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Job Description for Optician
Opticians assist customers who require vision tests, prescriptions, repairs, and, in some cases, minor eye surgery; essentially, they helps customers determine which prescription they require and assist with any other questions or needs that they may have. Opticians use a piece of equipment called an phoropter to measure the depth of vision that each customer has, and then they are able to determine exactly which prescription the customer needs. Other equipment is also used, including a tonometer, which injects a small amount of air pressure into the eyeball to test for glaucoma. All opticians should be familiar with this equipment, and some may also be able to operate laser surgery machines for outpatient correction procedures.Read More...
Opticians also work in an administrative capacity in the clinic office and perform various other duties in the day-to-day running of a clinic. Most opticians will work during traditional business hours, although this will vary depending on the clinic's hours. Traditionally, an administrative assistant handles customers' appointments, but it's not unusual for an optician to schedule appointments, particularly in a smaller business. In most cases, opticians work inside a clinic where eye exams are performed. Some opticians may also work at the laboratory where the prescriptions are created and modified. Some, however, may work out in the field, particularly during wars, where soldiers may need eye care but do not have safe access to an optician's clinic.
An optician typically works with two types of staff: administrative staff and laboratory staff. The administrative staff work with the optician to schedule appointments and resolve scheduling conflicts in a timely manner; they may also help with billing and other financial concerns patients may have. Laboratory staff create the prescriptions and sometimes the frames that the customer ends up receiving as the final product.
To enter this career, potential opticians must first have a bachelors degree in optometry, and should also be certified by whichever optometry board governs their area of practice. Experience is also helpful.
- Prepare work order for optical laboratory containing instructions for grinding and mounting lenses in frames.
- Measure patient for size of eyeglasses and coordinate frames and optical prescription.
- Design, measure, fit, and adapt lenses for patient according to written optical prescription.
- Adjust frame and lens position to fit patient.
Optician Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Optician
Opticians fill the offices of leading firms Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, LensCrafters Inc., Pearle Vision Center, Visionworks, and Sam's Club. Opticians seeking a sizable paycheck can earn the most at Costco Wholesale Company, where the average salary comes to $51K. Other employers shelling out big bucks include U.S. Vision, Inc., The Vision Source, and LensCrafters Inc., where Opticians typically earn around $39K, $37K, or $35K, respectively.
The lowest pay by far can be found at Shopko Eyecare Center — this employer offers a median salary of $21K, less than half of the top paying company's rate. Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include National Vision, Inc. at $23K, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc where $26K is the norm, but it is worth noting that some Opticians there earn up to $40K.
Popular Skills for Optician
Opticians seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Patient Education, Inside Sales, and Optical Fabrication are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 40 percent, 37 percent, and 14 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Inventory Management. The majority of those who know Customer Service also know Insurance.
Pay by Experience Level for Optician
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $27K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $33K. Opticians see a median salary of $36K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Average wages for folks with more than 20 years of experience come out to around $42K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Opticians, New York provides a pay rate that is 30 percent greater than the national average. Opticians can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+29 percent), Phoenix (+21 percent), Portland (+21 percent), and Denver (+21 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 13 percent south of the national average, can be found in Chicago. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in San Antonio and Austin (7 percent lower and 4 percent lower, respectively).