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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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.

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.

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.

Kentucky Optician Programs

As of now there aren’t any on-campus programs in Kentucky that are dedicated to opticianry, but there are online programs, such as the Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma Program offered by the 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.

Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Kentucky

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 1,120 people 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 opticianry.

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 Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia and Illinois.