Becoming an Optician in Minnesota

Job growth for opticians in Minnesota is strong right now and should be strong for years to come, making this a great career choice for anyone looking for an interesting job with stability. Opticians work with patients, most often in optometry practices, helping them fill their contact or lens prescriptions, choose frames, fix frames and learn how to use contact lenses.[En Español]

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How to Become an Optician in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota has no requirements for becoming an optician. There is no statewide licensing, and it is not necessary to complete any specific type of educational program to begin working in this field. Most employers, however, prefer to hire opticians who have either completed a certificate or degree program or completed on-the-job training, or both. To become an optician in Minnesota you can start by seeking an entry-level position and being trained on the job, or you can start with classroom learning. There are a few options for the latter if you live in Minnesota:

  • St. Catherine University. Located in the Twin Cities, St. Catherine does not have an optician program, but it offer students an associate degree program in ophthalmic technology. The program includes two years of coursework and one year of hands-on experience. This degree provides all you need to choose between a career as a technician or an optician.
  • University of Minnesota. The campus in Minneapolis does not have an optician program, but it does offer an optometry program. Optometrists conduct eye examinations and prescribe lenses. They may also work with ophthalmologist to assist with patients needing surgery.
  • Penn Foster Career School. While there are no campus programs in the state for opticianry, students anywhere in Minnesota can complete an online optician program through Penn Foster. It provides all the coursework and knowledge needed to begin working as an optician and to be ready to take and pass national certification exams.

National Certification for Opticians

Anyone hoping to work as an optician in Minnesota may not need to complete any specific requirements, but it helps for employment opportunities to hold the appropriate national certifications. You can take the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry examination and the American Board of Opticians examination in order to achieve certification and be a stronger candidate for any job.

Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Minnesota

The outlook for optician careers in Minnesota is very good. There is currently a 7 percent growth in the number of jobs that need qualified opticians to fill them. There were 2,240 employed opticians in the state in 2018, and there are projected to be 200 more by 2028, positions that will require qualified professionals who are training for the jobs right now.

Opticians in Minnesota earned, on average, $39,200 in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This amounts to $18.85 per hour, but there is room to earn more with experience and certification. Related careers also come with great salaries in the state. Ophthalmic technicians earned an average of $50,150 per year, while optometrists who go through much more education and training, earned $127,010 in 2020.

Salaries in Minnesota by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing1,960$19.06$39,640
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians840$23.45$48,770
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians1,740$15.77$32,810
Optometrists970$61.34$127,590

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Minnesota by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Duluth, MN-WI110$16.36$34,030$25,780$27,900$31,500$37,310$49,260
Fargo, ND-MN110$15.81$32,890$25,260$27,990$32,560$37,210$41,840
Grand Forks, ND-MN70$13.72$28,550$21,560$23,840$27,750$31,860$37,470
La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN80$12.79$26,600$16,820$18,490$23,530$32,380$44,200
Mankato-North Mankato, MN40$18.69$38,870$24,420$29,470$36,130$49,710$60,760
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI1,070$20.51$42,670$31,270$34,770$40,530$50,650$59,650
Rochester, MN120$18.75$39,010$28,260$32,850$36,750$43,570$57,200
St. Cloud, MN60$18.73$38,950$31,300$33,890$37,920$43,880$49,140

Working as an Optician in Minnesota

An optometry office or practice is the most common workplace for an optician, and there are plenty of these in Minnesota that will need qualified individuals in the coming years. Opticians are also needed in eyeglass shops, retail stores, hospitals, clinics, and the private practices of physicians and ophthalmologists. Regardless of the setting in which you choose to seek a job, you can expect to have plenty of opportunities, most of which are in the big population centers of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, and Duluth. Training now will put you in a good position to land a great job anywhere in the state.

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College Programs

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Area

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

100 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455-0213
(612) 625-5000
Optometry – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Optometry at University of Minnesota is offered at their Twin Cities campus in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Of the 50,678 students, about 33% are postgraduates. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are broadly around $14,417 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,000, depending on the program.

* Tuition fees and colleges’ accredition status are, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm directly with college before applying.

Neighbor States

Students may also wish to review their options in Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.