Becoming an Optician in Massachusetts

If you are thinking of becoming a licensed optician in Massachusetts, you will be transitioning into a rewarding career field in one of the few U.S. states where opticians earn significantly high salaries. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Massachusetts is the top-paying state for this occupation. Opticians can work in private ophthalmic practices or in retail stores that sell eyeglasses and other optical products. If you are a people person with great communication skills, pursuing a career as an optician in Massachusetts can be a rewarding, very stable move.[En Español]

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Licensing for Opticians in Massachusetts

Licensure in Massachusetts is granted by the Board of Registration of Dispensing Opticians. In order to qualify to test for an optician license in the state you must fulfill one of the following:

  • Graduate from a two-year training program that is accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
  • Successfully complete one year of an accredited opticianry program in addition to an apprenticeship of no less than 3,000 hours over a period of at least 18 months
  • Complete an apprenticeship of no less than 6,000 hours over a period of three years or longer

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree you can enter an accelerated program and complete the course in one year. Before you can enter any formal training program you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

To be eligible for licensure in Massachusetts, applicants must take and pass the American Board of Opticianry’s Certification (ABO) as well as the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) certification exam.

Massachusetts Optician Programs

If you will be attending an optician program in the state of Massachusetts, the only on-campus program available is through the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), located in Boston. BFIT offers a two-year Associate Degree in Optometry during which students will learn:

  • How to design, fit and dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • How to inspect eyewear for precision, proper fit and aesthetics
  • How to evaluate and troubleshoot optical concerns that patients might have
  • How to prepare for local, state and national licensing

After attending the program, BFIT offers job placement services with a 95-percent success rate. Additionally, 85 percent of opticianry students pass the NCLE certification exam. Alumni have gone on to become apprentice opticians, licensed opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists.

Another option for those in Massachusetts who do not wish to commute or relocate to attend BFIT for their Associate Degree in Optometry is Penn Foster Career School‘s online Optician Career Diploma program. This program can be completed in as little as seven months, covering topics such as:

  • Optical principles, terminology and anatomy
  • Math for opticians
  • Business English and professional practices
  • Ophthalmic and contact lens dispensing

Optician students will have the opportunity to complete a practicum before graduation. Graduates of the Penn Foster program will be eligible to sit for the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE), the ABO exam and the NCLE exam.

Job Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Massachusetts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that there were roughly 1,330 people working as certified opticians in Massachusetts in 2018, in addition to 2,000 ophthalmic medical technicians and 1,330 optometrists. The number of jobs for opticians in Massachusetts is expected to grow by 3 percent through the year 2028.

Also according to the BLS, Massachusetts is the highest-paying U.S. state for licensed opticians with an average annual wage of $51,940. If you decide you’d like to further your education after becoming a licensed optician, optometrists in Massachusetts earn an average annual wage of $114,480.

Salaries in Massachusetts by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing1,750$30.07$62,540
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians1,140$20.25$42,130
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians300$17.48$36,350
Optometrists1,080$70.54$146,720

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Massachusetts by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Barnstable Town, MA**$28.39$59,050$44,570$49,880$56,880$63,230$76,210
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH1,290$31.32$65,150$35,350$48,370$61,970$80,860$100,750
Leominster-Gardner, MA**$29.11$60,550$53,050$55,750$60,250$64,780$73,030
New Bedford, MA30$25.96$53,990$36,640$50,720$55,920$60,960$65,540
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA350$23.33$48,520$33,660$38,180$50,720$58,250$62,610
Springfield, MA-CT160$23.45$48,770$31,560$38,420$47,050$57,100$68,800
Worcester, MA-CT**$21.81$45,370$27,830$32,990$46,170$57,540$62,370

Working as an Optician in Massachusetts

In a state that is a national leader in healthcare and technology, the future for opticians in Massachusetts is very positive, with opportunities for job openings and career advancement across the state. Additionally, one can expect a salary increase over the next decade, maintaining a 20-percent higher salary than opticians in other states. While an optometry office is the most common workplace for opticians, these professionals are also needed in retail stores, hospitals, clinics and private ophthalmology practices, so you will likely have no problem landing a great job throughout the state.

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College Programs

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA Division Area

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology

41 Berkeley St, Boston, Massachusetts 02116
(617) 423-4630
Opticianry – Associate Program

The Opticianry Associate’s degree program in Opticianry at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is offered at their campus in the city of Boston. This private, not-for-profit college has about 596 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions. Fees for tuition are usually about $17,450 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,000, depending on the program chosen.

MCPHS University

179 Longwood Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5896
(617) 732-2800
Optometry – Bachelor Program

The Bachelor’s degree program in Optometry at MCPHS University can be taken at their campus in the city of Boston. This is a full, 4-year private college with 7,074 students, of which 56% are undergraduates. The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $32,590 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,172, although this varies from program to program.

New England College of Optometry

424 Beacon St, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
(617) 266-2030
Optics – Bachelor Program, Vision Science – Doctor Program, Vision Health Care – Certificate Program

New England College of Optometry offers multiple training options, including a Bachelor program, a Doctor program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Boston, MA. This is a full, 4-year private college with 511 students, of which 0% are undergraduates. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $20,319 yearly.

* Tuition fees and colleges’ accredition 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 college before applying.

Neighbor States

Residents of Massachusetts may also wish to review their options in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont.