Becoming an Optician in Maryland

Preparing to become an optician in Maryland does not require extensive formal training, which means that you can be on your way to working and earning as an eye care professional in as little as six months. Opticians can work in private ophthalmic practices or retail stores that sell eyeglasses and other optical products, helping patients fill prescriptions, pick out new frames and learn how to use their contact lenses. If you are a people person with great communication skills, pursuing a career as an optician can be a very stable and rewarding move.[En Español]

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Optician Certification in Maryland

The prerequisite for getting an optician certification in Maryland is to first get a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Once you have that, there are various paths to obtaining your optician certification in Maryland. You can pursue an associate degree from a college or trade school, take an accredited optician training program, or participate in a combination of on-the-job training and continuing education courses.

No matter which routes you choose, it is important to have a good understanding of basic scientific and mathematical principles, as well as the ability to apply them in various eye care settings. Optician certification typically requires you to demonstrate your knowledge and competency by passing a basic knowledge exam as well as a practical exam.

Maryland Optician Programs

While Maryland is not a state that requires a license, obtaining certification and licensure will set you apart from the competition. The following schools will prepare students to take and pass the American Board of Opticianry’s Certification (ABO):

  • Hagerstown Community College
  • Carroll Community College
  • Harford Community College

These three schools offer 150-course hours for $1,895. During the six-month program, students will learn the skills necessary to sit and pass the American Board of Opticianry’s Certification Exam. During the course you can expect to learn about the human eye, its functions, diseases, and conditions that could compromise ocular health, as well as different corrective eye care solutions and how various lenses work, how to take opticianry measurements for proper vision exams, prescriptions, medications, and more.

Licensing for Opticians in Maryland

Without official standards to govern training for the profession in Maryland, many prospective opticians opt for on-the-job training or an apprenticeship with a licensed optician. If you would prefer formal training, however, many vocational schools and community colleges in Maryland offer a six-month to one-year certification course or a two-year associate degree program.

In Maryland, an optician license can be obtained through the Maryland Board of Examiners in Optometry. You will need to achieve a passing score in all four sections of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) test and take an open-book exam on Maryland Optometry Law.

Featured School

Penn Foster College – Online 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 Maryland

As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that 1,320 licensed opticians were working in Maryland. It is expected for the growth of certified opticians throughout the state to be 4 percent by 2030, somewhat less than the predicted nationwide job growth for this field.

Maryland is among the few U.S. states where opticians enjoy comparatively higher salaries. In 2021, the average annual salary for an optician in Maryland was $134,900, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while ophthalmic medical technicians earned an average of $40,090. Cities, where opticians earn between $43,000 and $47,000 per year, include Baltimore, Columbia, Bethesda, Potomac, and Rockville.

If you are interested in continuing your education and training further, you could become a licensed optometrist. Maryland licensed optometrists earned an average of $127,330 annually in 2017.

Salaries in Maryland by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing1,130$18.76$39,020
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians1,170$20.25$42,120
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians840$18.15$37,750

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Maryland by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD320$19.52$40,590$26,950$31,230$37,500$49,680$60,070
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV40$16.37$34,050$25,860$27,970$31,970$38,950$47,120
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD1,100$19.61$40,800$26,240$32,420$38,580$49,450$59,410
Salisbury, MD-DE130$17.90$37,240$25,250$28,960$35,570$44,790$55,240
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV1,660$20.50$42,640$26,920$31,450$40,850$51,190$61,740

Working as an Optician in Maryland

The future for opticians in Maryland is positive, with opportunities for job openings and career advancement across the state. Most opticians in Maryland work for optometrists in small practices and eyeglass shops, but it is not uncommon to find opticians working in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and medical labs. Since formal training is not a requirement, seeking out a certification program or a vision center with on-the-job training would be a great way to get a head start in this rewarding career field.

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Neighbor States

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