The average Optician in the United States earns approximately $14.93 per hour. The final incomes of Opticians generally vary between $22K and $50K; higher pay grades include potential for bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions as high as $5K, $4K, and $8K, respectively. While tenure and geography impact pay for this group, the particular firm is the most influential factor. Health benefits are not claimed by all — approximately two in five lack any form of coverage — but a little less than half have medical insurance, and just under one in three have dental, too. Most Opticians survey respondents are women (78 percent). Most Opticians report high levels of job satisfaction.
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.
- Design, measure, fit, and adapt lenses for patient according to written optical prescription.
- Adjust frame and lens position to fit patient.
- 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.
Common Career Paths for Optician
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Popular Employer Salaries for Optician
Known for taking on a considerable number of Opticians, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, LensCrafters Inc., Visionworks, Sam's Club, and Pearle Vision Center are leading firms in the industry. For Opticians, comfortable salaries can be found at Costco Wholesale Company; in fact, median earnings sit around $51K, the highest in the area. Opticians can also look forward to large paychecks at U.S. Vision, Inc. ($39K), Luxottica Retail Group ($36K), and Visionworks ($35K).
Other low-paying employers include National Vision, Inc. at $23K and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc at $26K, though some Opticians there earn up to $40K.
Popular Skills for Optician
Opticians report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Lucky workers who know Office Management can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 34 percent above average. Optical Fabrication and optician are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 6 percent and 34 percent. Scheduling and Inventory Management, on the other hand, are typically associated with much lower pay. Those proficient in Customer Service are, more often than not, also skilled in Insurance.
Pay by Experience Level for Optician
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Opticians. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $27K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $33K on average — a distinctly larger sum. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $36K in this role. Seasoned workers who boast more than two decades of relevant experience enjoy a median salary of $42K, which is substantially larger than the medians reported by folks with fewer years on their resumes.
Pay Difference by Location
For Opticians, New York provides a pay rate that is 31 percent greater than the national average. Opticians will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+22 percent), Denver (+21 percent), Phoenix (+21 percent), and Portland (+15 percent). Trailing the national average by 10 percent, Chicago is the market with the smallest paychecks. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are San Antonio (7 percent less) and Dallas (5 percent less).
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Key Stats for Optician
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