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]
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 of time usually determined by the place of employment. There are no established requirements in Maine regarding 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 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).
Maine Optician 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, the 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.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Maine
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 370 people working as opticians in Maine in 2018. Additionally, there were 200 people working as ophthalmic medical technicians and 200 people employed as optometrists in the same year.
As of May 2020, the average salary for licensed opticians in Maine was approximately $44,630, while ophthalmic medical technicians made an average of $43,110. If you are someone who would like to further your education, optometrists in Maine earned an average salary of $110,040 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.