Becoming an Optician in Maine
Many opticians in Maine acquire their skills by completing on-the-job training with a licensed optician, to learn how to prepare prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists, help customers pick out new frames, and educate them on vision care options. Depending on the place of employment, opticians may also be trained to cut and fit frames and lenses in the lab. Licensed opticians are employed in hospitals, clinics, private ophthalmic practices, and vision care chains.[En Español]
Optician Certification in Maine
The prerequisite for getting a certification as an optician in Maine is to have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, applicants must pass the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) exams for certification.
Optician Certification Training Programs
There are no on-campus optician programs offered in Maine, which is why many individuals opt for on-the-job training before becoming licensed. If, however, you’d like to take a formal education program, Penn Foster College offers an online Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma Program that can be completed in as few as seven months. While many places of employment do provide on-the-job training, having a diploma from Penn Foster would most definitely help you stand out from the competition.
Licensing for Opticians in Maine
Licensing is regulated by the Maine State Board of Optometry, and the exam is conducted four times a year, in February, May, August, and November. The exam is by appointment only. As for obtaining licensure, Maine does not have any regulations that establish optician training, certification, or licensing requirements.
That said, in the state of Maine it is not uncommon for new opticians to be hired by a vision center or private practice with zero experience under their belt. Upon hire, you would then be trained by a licensed optician for a period usually determined by the place of employment. There are no established requirements in Maine regarding the length of on-the-job training or apprenticeship.
Once you have obtained on-the-job training you can choose to sit for the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exam and the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam. Applicants for licensure will need to submit exam scores to the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO).
National Contact Lens Examiners Exam
The National Contact Lens Examiners Exam (NCLE) is a two-hour exam that tests candidates’ knowledge of contact lenses and their ability to correctly fit them. The NCLE consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, divided into four sections: lens theory and materials, fitting theory, patient assessment/counseling, and clinical problem-solving.
American Board of Opticianry Exam
The American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exam is a three-hour exam that tests candidates’ knowledge and understanding of optics, spectacle frames, lenses, and fitting principles. The ABO consists of 120 multiple-choice questions divided into four sections: optical theory, frame and lens, preparation and dispensing techniques, and customer service.
National Opticianry Competency Exam
The National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE) is a three-hour exam designed to assess competency in the field of opticians. It tests the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of optics, spectacle frames, lenses, contact lens fitting principles, and patient relations. The NOCE consists of 100 multiple-choice questions divided into five sections: optics, spectacle frames, and lenses, contact lens fitting principles, patient relations, and problem-solving.
On top of passing the exams mentioned above, opticians in Maine must also obtain a license from the state Board of Optometry to practice legally. On-the-job training is essential to become knowledgeable about relevant.
Renewal of Optician License in Maine
Opticians who are licensed in the state of Maine are required to renew their licenses biennially. To be approved for licensure renewal, opticians must be employed full-time as an optician and complete at least 24 hours of continuing education credits within the two years before renewal. The required continuing education units are available through various organizations such as the American Board of Opticianry (ABO), National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE), and National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE).
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Maine
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 410 people were working as opticians in Maine in 2020. Additionally, 380 people were working as ophthalmic medical technicians, and 250 people were employed as optometrists in the same year.
As of May 2021, the average salary for licensed opticians in Maine was approximately $37,710, while ophthalmic medical technicians made an average of $37,180. If you are someone who would like to further your education, optometrists in Maine earned an average salary of $126,520 in the same year.
Salaries in Maine by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||190||$16.63||$34,600|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Maine by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Portland-South Portland, ME||200||$22.17||$46,110||$31,120||$35,680||$42,530||$48,590||$69,110|
Working as an Optician in Maine
Job opportunities for opticians in Maine are quite plentiful, especially in Portland, South Portland, Bar Harbor, Friendship, and Bangor. In these cities and across the state opticians can be found working in small private ophthalmic practices as well as retail vision chains. If you are someone who would like to begin working as an optician, start looking online for optician jobs or optician assistant job listings in a city nearest you to begin on-the-job training. Or, you can choose to sign up for an online diploma program to jump-start the process.
Residents of Maine may also wish to review their options in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York.