Becoming an Optician in Kentucky

Becoming an Optician in Kentucky can be a rewarding and stable career choice. As an optician you will work closely with customers, attending to their vision care needs whether it’s choosing new eyeglass lenses and frames or learning how to use contacts or other vision care products. Depending on the place of employment, licensed opticians may also take part in cutting and grinding lenses for eyeglasses in the lab. Opticians are often employed in retail vision care chains, private ophthalmology practices, hospitals, and local clinics where ophthalmologists or optometrists are employed for vision care emergencies.[En Español]

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Optician Certification in Kentucky

The prerequisite for getting certified in Kentucky is getting a high school diploma and graduating from an accredited optician program. In addition, the state requires that future opticians complete a minimum of 425 hours (approximately 17 weeks) of supervised training after graduation and pass a national examination administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).

Optician Certification Training Programs

As of now, there aren’t any on-campus programs in Kentucky that are dedicated to opticians, but there are online programs, such as the Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma Program offered by Penn Foster College, that can be completed in as little as seven months. This program will cover topics such as:

  • Optical principles, terminology and anatomy of the eye
  • Math for opticians
  • Ophthalmic and contact lens dispensing
  • Business English
  • Professional practices

Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to sit for both the ABO and NCLE exams. Request enrollment information to get started.

Licensing for Opticians in Kentucky

Licensure for opticians in Kentucky is granted by The Kentucky Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers. To become certified you will either need to enroll in an opticianry training program or complete a formal apprenticeship under a licensed optician, physician, osteopath, or optometrist. The apprenticeship is required to be no less than two years. If you’re interested in an apprenticeship you will need to complete and submit the Application for Apprenticeship along with the $50 fee.

Licensing Requirements

Upon completion of an opticianry training program or apprenticeship, you will be eligible to take both the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exam and the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam. A grade of 70 percent or higher is required to pass both exams. Before taking the practical exam you will need to fill out and submit an application along with the exam fee.

Once licensed, opticians in Kentucky are required to complete a minimum of six hours of continuing education every year. In addition, optician licenses will need to be renewed annually.

National Contact Lens Examiners Exam

The NCLE exam is a certification exam for opticians that covers all aspects of contact lens fitting and care including materials, measurements and analysis, problem diagnosis, patient evaluation, dispensing safety, and practical application. Passing the NCLE exam will allow you to practice as an advanced-level optician in Kentucky.

American Board Opticianry Exam

The ABO exam is a theoretical and practical exam designed to test opticianry knowledge. This exam covers topics such as refraction, frames, lenses, eye anatomy and physiology, ocular pathology, ophthalmic optics, and contact lenses. Passing the ABO exam will allow you to fit eyeglasses in Kentucky.

Board of Optometric Examiners.

The Board determines if applicants have met all requirements and issues a license once they’ve been verified. Licenses are renewable annually and all opticians need to keep up with continuing education to maintain their certification.

Opticians in Kentucky can also become members of the Kentucky Optometric Association which offers a variety of resources and network opportunities to develop their professional skills. Additionally, optometrists and ophthalmologists may choose to hire certified opticians at their practice which is an excellent way to gain experience in the field.

By completing the necessary training, passing the required examinations, and obtaining licensure, opticians can look forward to a rewarding career providing quality care for their patients.

This is especially important if they offer urgent care services or have on-call personnel available where ophthalmologists or optometrists are employed for vision care emergencies.

Check the State Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers website for more information about certification requirements in Kentucky.

The website provides forms and applications for licensure as well as contact information for the board office.

Featured School

Penn Foster College – Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma

Complete this program in as little as seven months. Format designed by board certified and state-licensed opticians. Opportunity to complete a practicum before graduation. The program will help you prepare for dispensing optician national certification exams, administered by ABO and the NCLE, by providing you with exam prep materials. Call 1-800-851-1819 today.

Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Kentucky

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 1,120 people were working as licensed opticians in Kentucky in 2018. In addition, there were 290 persons employed as ophthalmic medical technicians and about 540 working as optometrists in the same year. The BLS predicts that jobs for licensed opticians in Kentucky will increase by at least 5 percent by 2028.

The average salary for licensed opticians in Kentucky was $35,620 in 2020. Ophthalmic medical technologists earned an average of $30,730 in the same year, and with their extensive schooling and training, optometrists earned approximately $116,200.

Salaries in Kentucky by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing1,040$19.73$41,050
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians180$17.38$36,140
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians290$13.50$28,080

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Kentucky by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Bowling Green, KY40$19.39$40,320$22,030$31,700$39,600$51,750$59,110
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN490$18.83$39,180$26,670$30,530$38,910$46,210$50,650
Clarksville, TN-KY60$19.66$40,900$24,370$29,120$40,210$53,590$59,680
Evansville, IN-KY**$15.65$32,560$24,490$27,490$32,920$37,160$39,920
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH**$15.75$32,760$21,470$24,590$30,200$39,550$48,860
Lexington-Fayette, KY110$17.71$36,840$26,960$29,670$35,450$42,870$49,990
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN480$20.05$41,710$26,040$31,710$39,880$53,660$60,390

Working as an Optician in Kentucky

The job outlook for licensed opticians in Kentucky is good. Most dispensing opticians in the state can be found working in private ophthalmic practices and vision stores like The Eye Group, VisionFirst, and Target Optical. Job opportunities are most plentiful in Lexington, Louisville, and Bowling Green, with Louisville being the highest-paying city for opticians.

If you are ready to jumpstart your career as an optician, sign up for the Penn Foster diploma program or fill out an application for an apprenticeship. Soon enough you will be ready to land a great job as a licensed optician in Kentucky.

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Get information on Optician Certification Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Neighbor States

Residents of Kentucky may also wish to review their options in TennesseeOhioVirginiaIndianaMissouriWest Virginia, and Illinois.