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]
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.
Maryland Optician Programs
While Maryland is not a state that requires a license, obtaining a 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 at a cost of $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.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Maryland
As of May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that there were 1,130 licensed opticians working in Maryland. It is expected for the growth of certified opticians throughout the state to be 17 percent by 2024, 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 2017, the average annual salary for an optician in Maryland was $39,020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while ophthalmic medical technicians earned an average of $42,120. 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
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||1,170||$20.25||$42,120|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||840||$18.15||$37,750|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Maryland by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
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.