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]
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.
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
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||180||$17.38||$36,140|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||290||$13.50||$28,080|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Kentucky by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Bowling Green, KY||40||$19.39||$40,320||$22,030||$31,700||$39,600||$51,750||$59,110|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||480||$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.