Becoming an Optician in Delaware
As an optician in Delaware you will work closely with customers to help select, fit, measure and adapt eyeglass frames and contact lenses based on any prescriptions or specifications provided by the doctor. Because a large portion of the job is customer service, licensed opticians usually are naturally outgoing individuals who enjoy helping others, especially when it comes to making the ideal decision regarding their eyewear for eye health, vision and, of course, style. Dispensing opticians can be found working in hospitals, private optometry and ophthalmic practices, vision care chains and clinics.[En Español]
Licensing for Opticians in Delaware
Similar to other states, Delaware does not have any laws that govern the licensing and certification of opticians. This often means that optical employers are left to determine their own requirements regarding hiring and employing new apprentices and/or opticians. That said, many opticians gain their knowledge of the field during on-the-job training.
Since some employers require certification, licensing is a good idea even if it isn’t a requirement for the state. Obtaining your license before seeking employment will help you stand out from the crowd, but to do so you will need to take some classes to get a better understanding of the job and its requirements. At minimum, study the information that’s available on the Delaware chapter of the American Optometric Association website.
Once you have studied, completed a certification course or trained on the job, you can take the necessary exams including the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exam and National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam. These exams are offered at three levels: beginner, advanced and master. So, for example, if you’re new to the field and studied at home, you might want to start with the beginner’s exam and work your way up. Each exam costs $225, but if you’re employed and receiving on-the-job training, it is not uncommon for employers to pay exam fees.
Delaware Optician Programs
As of now, there are no on-campus optician programs offered in Delaware. Many individuals opt instead for on-the-job training opportunities or online courses to obtain the training necessary to sit for the licensing exams.
The Penn Foster College offers an online Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma Program that can be completed in just seven months. While many places of employment do provide on-the-job training, having a diploma from Penn Foster will allow you to take licensing exams before seeking employment.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Delaware
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 440 people employed as Opticians in Delaware in 2018. Additionally, there were 190 people working as ophthalmic medical technicians and approximately 100 optometrists working in the same year. The BLS predicts that jobs for licensed opticians in Delaware will grow considerably, up to 9 percent by 2028.
As of May 2020, the average salary for Delaware licensed opticians was $38,310. Ophthalmic medical technologists earned approximately $38,480 in 2020, and optometrists earned an average of $135,230 in the same year. Those who are working as unlicensed opticians can expect to earn considerably less to start, sometimes as low as $25,670 per year. This is another reason why obtaining licensure will better your career as an optician, providing you with more financial stability.
Salaries in Delaware by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||190||$18.30||$38,070|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Delaware by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
Working as an Optician in Delaware
The job outlook for opticians in Delaware is great, with many job opportunities throughout the state, especially in the cities of Wilmington and Newark. Opticians in the state of Delaware are frequently hired to work in private ophthalmic practices and vision chains, but opticians can also be found employed in local hospitals or clinics. Additionally, it is not uncommon for experienced opticians to be promoted to Optical Manager of private optical groups or optical retail chains.