Becoming an Optician in Michigan

Opticians work directly with optometrists and ophthalmologists to help people in need of vision correction. People without 20/20 vision will likely need assistance from opticians to find the correct products for their visual needs. As an optician, you will fill prescriptions written by eye doctors, and you’ll help customers find the appropriate contact lenses or eyeglasses that will best fit their facial structure and style. [En Español]

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Optician Certification in Michigan

The prerequisite for getting certified as an optician in Michigan is a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. After that, you can take a two-year program at an accredited opticianry school or complete an apprenticeship.

The two-year opticianry programs usually include coursework in anatomy and physiology of the eye, vision problems, corrective lenses, patient care techniques, optics theory, optical manufacturing techniques, and frame styling. After completing this formal education, you will need to pass an accredited optician exam and pass a practical exam showing your ability to correctly fit lenses and frames for patients.

Optician Certification Training Programs in Michigan

Taking an optician course is completely optional in Michigan, but it is a great choice for those looking to excel in this career. No matter where you choose to work, your education will follow you and serve as the foundation upon which you are sure to build more skills and expertise. These are a couple of educational options you should consider if you’re looking for longevity in this field:

  • Ferris State University is home to the Michigan College of Optometry, which offers a Basic Practical Training for Opticians course. Students will learn lens types and repairs, lens materials and measurements, dispensary best practices, and more. For $395, students receive 12 hours of instruction. There is also an advanced course available for students who already have basic knowledge in the field.
  • Penn Foster College offers an Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma Program that takes place entirely online. Students can complete the program in as little as seven months. Tuition will range from $999 to $1,179 depending on whether you choose a payment plan or decide to pay in full.

Licensing Requirements for Opticians in Michigan

Opticians in Michigan do not need any formal training or education, as this is one of 27 states without laws governing the practice of opticians. This means each employer will set its standards and regulations to follow to work as an optician.

While this lack of state regulation may make things easier for aspiring opticians, it’s always a good idea to learn as much as you can about your trade. For this reason, you might consider becoming a nationally certified optician by completing an exam offered by the American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE). This exam requires you to have a high school diploma or GED. It is highly recommended that you have at least two years of hands-on experience before signing up for the exam. To further prepare for a passing grade, you may also want to take some opticianry courses.

When you pass this exam, you will be granted a certificate that will serve as a testament to your level of expertise in the field of opticians. This certification is very likely to help you land higher-paying jobs. It could also possibly land you positions in vision care offices that require opticians to do more complex work than what is required in a retail eyewear establishment, for example.

National Contact Lens Examiners Exam

In addition to the ABO-NCLE exam, you may also choose to take the National Contact Lens Examiners Exam. This is an optional certification for those wanting to specialize in contact lenses and will provide you with a higher level of expertise when it comes to fitting contacts for patients.

Having both certifications can significantly increase your chances of gaining employment at a vision care office or eyewear boutique.

Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Michigan

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that in 2020 about 1,100 people were working as opticians in Michigan. By 2030, this number is expected to increase by 11 percent. Additionally, opticians in Michigan earned an annual average of $124,300 in 2021.

Salaries in Michigan by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing3,650$16.72$34,790
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians1,660$16.66$34,650
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians890$17.80$37,030

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Michigan by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Ann Arbor, MI140$17.81$37,050$25,190$29,480$35,750$43,840$54,970
Battle Creek, MI**$17.86$37,150$26,890$30,360$36,850$44,160$48,940
Bay City, MI50$14.42$30,000$23,580$26,300$29,100$32,020$38,610
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI1,640$16.86$35,060$23,060$27,780$34,480$40,460$49,260
Flint, MI210$16.49$34,310$25,190$29,260$34,430$38,680$44,920
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI340$17.87$37,180$26,870$30,400$35,400$40,840$48,490
Jackson, MI40$19.79$41,170$27,960$32,100$39,820$46,680$64,360
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI300$15.68$32,620$25,930$28,370$32,200$36,970$39,880
Lansing-East Lansing, MI110$18.30$38,060$27,790$32,750$38,830$43,980$48,060
Niles-Benton Harbor, MI50$15.59$32,420$23,470$26,680$31,080$38,120$44,890
Saginaw, MI70$15.19$31,590$21,840$25,950$29,990$37,160$43,280
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI40$15.83$32,930$26,580$28,950$32,960$36,930$39,360

Working as an Optician in Michigan

If a career in opticianry seems like the appropriate choice for you, it is a great idea to join an organization like the Opticians Association of Michigan. This organization can provide information about job opportunities, as well as training events and seminars to help increase your knowledge of the trade.

Michigan opticians will likely earn the highest salary in the cities of Jackson, East Lansing, and Grand Rapids. As vision problems can affect people of any background or age group, you can expect to work with a diverse group of people in this field, whether in a retail eyewear office, an optometry practice, or ophthalmology clinic, or any other establishment dealing in vision care.

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College Programs

Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Ferris State University

1201 S State St, Big Rapids, Michigan 49307-2251
(231) 591-2000
Optometry – Doctor Program

The Doctor’s program in Optometry at Ferris State University can be taken at their campus in the town of Big Rapids, Michigan. Of the 14,715 students, about 9% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition is in the order of $11,628 yearly, while study materials may cost about $914, depending on the program.

* Tuition fees and colleges’ accreditation status are, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics ( Confirm directly with the college before applying.

Neighbor States

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