Becoming an Optician in Indiana
An optician is a professional who works with customers and patients to fit glasses, pick frames, and fill lens prescriptions. They are knowledgeable in eye anatomy, in how glasses and contacts work and can help patients learn what they need and how to use it for better vision. To become an optician in Indiana you don’t have to meet any specific requirements, but a post-secondary education will help you land that first job.[En Español]
Optician Certification in Indiana
Getting an optician certification in Indiana is not mandatory, but it will certainly help you stand out. The American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners both offer examinations that certify opticians in Indiana. Passing one of these certifications will give you an advantage over other applicants and demonstrate your professional level of expertise.
Optician Certification Training Programs
Indiana is one out of about half of all states that has no state-mandated licensing for opticians. While there are no official requirements, most employers hire people who have some kind of training or education. You can become a better candidate for jobs by completing a degree or certificate in optician studies or by finding a doctor or optometrist willing to let you apprentice and train with them. There are a few programs to choose from in the state:
- Indiana University, Bloomington. The Indiana Bloomington campus offers students a certificate program in optometry science and opticians. This gives students two options for a career after graduation. The program should take two years or less to complete and prepares graduates for entry-level positions and to pass the appropriate national certification exams.
- Ivy Tech Community College, Bloomington. At Ivy Tech, students can complete the optometry technology program, which prepares them to become opticians and to take and pass certification exams. Students may also choose between a 33-credit-hour certificate program, which is adequate for certification, or the 60-credit associate degree program.
- Penn Foster College, online. For students who cannot easily access the other campuses, there is an online option that anyone can complete from any location. Penn Foster offers an optician exam prep program that is entirely online and provides all the education needed to pass certification exams and begin working in the field.
Becoming a Certified Optician in Indiana
There is no state requirement in Indiana to become licensed or certified in any way before working as an optician. However, having both an education and national certification will place you in the best position to land a job with a great employer. Any of the programs below will prepare you to pass the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry examination and the American Board of Opticians examination. These are the two most important types of certification for opticians.
National Contact Lens Examiners Contact Lens Registry Examination
This exam is the most common certification for opticians and tests both knowledges of contact lenses and patient care. To prepare for this certification, opticians must possess a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an accredited program in contact lens science.
American Board of Opticianry Examination
The ABO certification exam is the second most common certification and tests both knowledge of basic optical principles and patient care as well as hands-on skill sets. To be eligible to take the ABO exam, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an accredited program in optical sciences.
Once you have successfully passed both of these exams, you will be qualified for entry-level positions as a certified optician in Indiana. With the right education, certification, and experience, you can expect to find work with optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, and more.
National Opticianry Competency Examination
The National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) is an additional certification that many employers may prefer. The NOCE evaluates the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of opticians working in retail settings. To qualify to take this exam, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and three years of experience as an optician or successful completion of an accredited program in optical sciences. Upon passing the NOCE, individuals will be recognized as Certified Dispensing Opticians (CDO).
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Indiana
Growth in optician jobs in Indiana is huge right now. The number of jobs is expected to grow by 6 percent by 2030, a rate that is much faster than average job growth. In 2020, 1,760 opticians were working in the state, but there are expected to be 1,870 by 2030. Related fields are also growing, with ophthalmic medical technician careers at a rate of 15 percent and optometrist careers at a rate of 11 percent.
With a career as an optician or related job, you can also expect to get a great salary in Indiana. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists opticians as having made an average annual salary of $33,450, or $14.93 per hour, in 2020. Ophthalmic technicians earned $36,370 on average, and optometrists averaged $103,600 per year.
Salaries in Indiana by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||1,160||$17.79||$37,000|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||360||$17.01||$35,390|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Indiana by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Fort Wayne, IN||250||$14.62||$30,410||$22,190||$25,260||$29,500||$35,270||$39,280|
|Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN||180||$16.17||$33,630||$22,950||$26,860||$31,820||$41,140||$47,780|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||480||$20.05||$41,710||$26,040||$31,710||$39,880||$53,660||$60,390|
|South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI||40||$15.83||$32,930||$26,580||$28,950||$32,960||$36,930||$39,360|
Working as an Optician in Indiana
Most opticians work in optometry offices, helping patients fill their prescriptions, find the right frames, adjust and repair frames and educate patients about their eyewear. Opticians may also be hired to work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, surgery centers, clinics, and ophthalmology practices. Wherever you choose to work, you can expect to have plenty of opportunities and options as a qualified optician in Indiana in the coming years.
107 South Indiana Ave., Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000
Optometric Technology/Opticianry – Certificate Program, Optometry – Doctor Program, Vision Science – Master Program
Indiana University offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, a Doctor program, and a Master’s program. Classes are taken at their Bloomington campus in the city of Bloomington. This is a full, 4-year public college with 48,514 students, of which 79% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is 89%. The cost of tuition is in the order of $10,533 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,034, although this will vary with the program.
* Tuition fees and colleges’ accreditation status are, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm directly with the college before applying.