Dispensing Optician Career

dispensing-optician-500With on-the-job training and some class work, optician dispensing technicians learn basic optics and eye physiology to help customers choose the best pair of glasses for their lens prescription and ensure optimal fit. These technicians use a variety of instruments to take measurements before placing an order with the ophthalmology lab.

This career involves a great deal of customer service, both before ordering the glasses and when performing the final fitting. Clear communication skills are essential as the technician is the point of contact for the optometrist or ophthalmologist, customer and laboratory. Also, optician dispensing technicians perform accounting, marketing and management roles in the retail setting.

Dispensing Optician Career Snapshot

Every place that sells glasses employs optician dispensing technicians including large department stores, ophthalmologist offices and specialty stores that only sell glasses. Depending on location, hours vary from strictly Monday through Friday day shifts to a schedule including evening and weekend shifts. These technicians spend the majority of their time performing customer service related activities.

Further details on a career as a dispensing opticians are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly salary for dispensing opticians.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have an Associate’s degree while 27% have a Post-secondary certificate.

Dispensing Optician Education

State laws vary regarding licensure for technicians. In some states, there are no distinct laws regarding this occupation, so a high school diploma and on-the-job training is sufficient. In other states, though, potential candidates complete a 1-to-2-year program, earning a certificate or associate’s degree, or alternatively finish a 2-year apprenticeship to become eligible for a state license. Then, after passing the Boards, they can become licensed.

Dispensing Optician Job Duties

Optician dispensing technicians help customers choose the glasses frame that best fits their face and that also works with their particular prescription lens shape and thickness. They take precise measurements of multiple dimensions of the face to help adjust the glasses, reporting all of this information to the ophthalmic laboratory. Upon receiving the finished glasses from the lab, the technician makes the final adjustments with the customer.

Dispensing Optician Salaries

According to the BLS.gov May 2015 statistics, optician dispensing techs earn a median salary of around $35,000, but this varies a bit depending upon specific location, be it the glasses department of a retail store or inside an ophthalmologist’s office. Earnings range between the bottom 10% making about $22,000 and the highest earnings at the top 10% at $55,530.

Dispensing Optician Job Outlook

Between 2014 and 2024, job opportunities in this field most likely will rapidly increase as the mean population age gets older, and more people begin requiring glasses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of 24% by 2024.

Dispensing Optician Skills & Traits

Dispensing Optician Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Dispensing Optician:Typical Work Activities:
• Speaking
• Active Listening
• Reading Comprehension
• Critical Thinking
• Service Orientation
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Near Vision
• Speech Clarity
• Written Comprehension
• Calipers
• Lens Measuring Equipment
• Ophthalmic Lensometers
• Opticians Tools
• Screwdrivers
• Working with the Public
• Decision Making
• Using Relevant Knowledge
• Getting Information
• Documenting Information

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