Becoming an Optician in Hawaii
Opticians are primarily responsible for filling eyewear prescriptions, helping patients select frames and instructing them on how to use and care for their eyewear. Optician jobs are on the rise in Hawaii, with a predicted growth rate of 12.3 percent by 2024. If having a high-demand job that involves helping people daily interests you, you may want to consider becoming an optician in Hawaii.[En Español]
Licensing Requirements for Opticians in Hawaii
Opticians are required to be licensed to practice in 23 states—Hawaii is one of those states. The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs handles optician training requirements and licensing rules. To become licensed as an optician in the state, you must complete one of the following requirements:
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent and two years of work experience in opticianry
- Graduate from an accredited opticianry program
- Have a valid dispensing optician license from another state
The following exams must also be taken to become licensed: The National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) given by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO), the National Contact Lens Registry Examination (NCLRE) given by the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) and a Hawaii Professional and Vocational license (PVL). The Hawaii PVL must be renewed every two years, and the NOCE and NCLRE must be renewed every three years to stay current. Hawaii does not have license reciprocity with any other states.
Optician Training and Apprentice Programs in Hawaii
Another requirement to become an optician in Hawaii is to complete either an apprenticeship or an opticianry educational training program. You must have a high school diploma or GED for either option. Dispensing optician apprenticeships in Hawaii involve working as an optician for two years under the supervision of a licensed optician, optometrist or physician. If you are more of a hands-on learner rather than a visual or auditory learner, an apprenticeship is probably the best option for you.
If you would rather complete an educational program, there currently are no programs offered in Hawaii that are accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA). However, you still do have options. You could complete your training and become licensed in another state before practicing in Hawaii. You could also complete an opticianry program online.
Penn Foster Career School offers an optician career diploma program that can be taken online at the student’s pace. This program is usually completed in less than a year. Coursework covered in this program includes optical terminology and anatomy, contact lens dispensing, business English and optician math. Students in this program also get to complete an externship.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Hawaii
In May 2017 there were 300 opticians employed in Hawaii, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That number is steadily increasing each year. Two hundred of the state’s 300 licensed dispensing opticians can be found working in urban Honolulu.
The 2017 BLS data also showed that opticians in the state made an average of $18.55 hourly and $38,590 yearly at the time. Depending on where you work in the state and how long you have been working, you could potentially earn more than this annual average. Opticians working in urban Honolulu averaged $39,160 yearly. Those practicing in the cities of Kahului, Waikiki and Lahaina reported an annual average of $42,210.
Salaries in Hawaii by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||180||$19.33||$40,210|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Hawaii by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Urban Honolulu, HI||200||$18.83||$39,160||$23,610||$32,900||$37,500||$46,910||$57,740|
Working as an Optician in Hawaii
Dispensing opticians may find work in hospitals, clinics and private optometry and ophthalmology practices. They may also work at eyewear retailers like LensCrafters or wholesale stores that sell eyewear, such as Costco. In Hawaii, the cities of Honolulu, Kahului, Lahaina and Waikiki are great places to seek employment, since they are the highest paying and have the highest concentration of opticianry jobs. However, with the proper training, certification and a state license, you should be able to find work as a dispensing optician anywhere within the state.