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 9 percent by 2030. 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]
Optician Certification In Hawaii
Getting a certification in Hawaii as an optician requires completing a two-year program at one of the state’s four accredited schools. Those programs often include coursework in anatomy, optics, visual science, and contact lenses. Additionally, some opticians training schools offer field experience through internships at local optometry offices or optical stores.
Once the program is completed, potential opticians must pass a National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) licensure exam. The license needs to be renewed every two years and requires taking continuing education classes.
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 state.
Optician Certification Training Programs in Hawaii
Another requirement to become an optician in Hawaii is to complete either an apprenticeship or an optician 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 optician program online.
Penn Foster College offers an optician exam prep career diploma program that can be taken online at the student’s pace. This program is usually completed in less than a year. The 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.
Continuing education requirements
Opticians must complete continuing education throughout their careers to stay current with the latest technology and opticians’ practices. The two organizations that offer continuing education credits for opticians in Hawaii are the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). Both organizations require opticians to complete at least 12 credits of continuing education every three years to maintain their license.
Additionally, the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) imposes its continuing education requirements for opticians. Opticians must take a minimum of two credit hours of Continuing Education every year. These courses can be taken at an accredited optician school or through online courses. There are also optician associations in Hawaii that offer continuing education courses as well.
These requirements will ensure that opticians stay up to date on the current laws and practices of opticianry, allowing them to continue providing quality service to their patients.
Overall, if you want to become a licensed optician in Hawaii, you must first complete either an apprenticeship or an optician educational training program. You must then pass the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE), the National Contact Lens Registry Examination (NCLRE), and a Hawaii Professional and Vocational license (PVL). Additionally, you must maintain your license by completing continuing education credits from organizations like ABO and NCLE. With dedication and hard work, you can become a successful optician in Hawaii.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Hawaii
In May 2020 there were 350 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 170 licensed dispensing opticians can be found working in urban Honolulu.
The 2021 BLS data also showed that opticians in the state made an average of $61.19 hourly and $43,060 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 $38,490 yearly. Those practicing in the cities of Kahului, Waikiki, and Lahaina reported an annual average of $53,010.
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.