Becoming an Optician in Missouri

Job growth for dispensing opticians in Missouri is strong, and there will continue to be new jobs added for qualified professionals over the next several years. If you are interested in working with people and having a meaningful career in the healthcare industry, consider working toward becoming an optician. In this role you would be responsible for filling eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions, helping customers select frames, measuring for frames, and educating patients about eyewear and lenses.[En Español]

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Licensing Requirements for Opticians in Missouri

Missouri does not have any requirements for education or training for opticians, and it does not license opticians. This leaves the door open to taking any path you choose to become an eye care professional. One way to get into the career is to find an optometrist or ophthalmologist willing to hire you as an entry-level worker or apprentice and to train you to do optician work on the job.

Another option is to start with a post-secondary education program. A diploma, certificate, or degree program in opticianry will give you the basic knowledge you need to be a good candidate for a job. You may continue training on the job, or you could choose to work and train while you complete an educational program.

Optician Certification Training Programs

There are no campuses in Missouri that offer a program in optician studies, but there are other options. For instance, if you are willing to spend a few more years in school there is a great program for optometry at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. It prepares students to go on to earn a doctor of optometry degree. Optometrists work with patients to perform routine exams, prescribe lenses and diagnose eye conditions.

Alternatively, if optometry is not for you, an online optician program is another option. Penn Foster’s online optician exam prep program is accessible from anywhere in the state and provides enough coursework to prepare students to work in the field right away and to pass certification exams. You can complete the courses at your own pace and take as little or as much time as you need.

National Optician Certification in Missouri

Because Missouri has no state licensing for opticians, it makes sense to become nationally certified. Many employers may require it and, even if they do not, having these certifications will make you a better job candidate. You can be certified by taking the American Board of Opticians examination and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry examination.

National Contact Lens Examiners Examination

The NCLE Contact Lens Registry examination is a comprehensive four-hour exam that covers contact lens theory, practice, and patient care. To be eligible to take the test you must have completed an accredited opticianry program or have been employed in the field of opticianry for at least three out of five years before your application date.

American Board of Opticians Examination

The American Board of Opticians examination is a multiple-choice exam that covers topics such as vision science, frame selection, fitting, optics, and lensometry. You must be at least 18 years old to take the test and must have completed an accredited opticianry program or two years of work experience in the optician field

Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Missouri

In 2020 in Missouri, there were 1,000 opticians employed, and job growth is continuing at a rate of 2 percent. This means there will be 80 more jobs available in the state for professional opticians between now and 2030. The growth in similar careers is also strong: 15 percent for ophthalmic technicians and over 4 percent for optometrists.

The salary for qualified opticians in the state was $31,440 on average in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those opticians who have spent more years on the job can expect to earn even more. Ophthalmic technicians in Missouri make $29,460 on average, while with their extra years of training and education optometrists earn an annual average of $126,000.

Salaries in Missouri by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing1,590$18.37$38,220
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians1,150$16.08$33,450
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians570$15.57$32,380

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Missouri by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Columbia, MO**$12.79$26,610$19,470$21,550$24,670$29,320$35,900
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO80$16.92$35,190$22,920$26,500$32,560$40,600$51,710
Joplin, MO**$15.24$31,710$23,680$27,430$32,150$36,610$39,500
Kansas City, MO-KS580$15.39$32,000$24,000$27,230$31,510$36,560$39,920
Springfield, MO120$17.38$36,150$20,470$25,780$31,440$36,670$42,130
St. Louis, MO-IL970$20.52$42,690$21,660$25,990$30,450$37,200$56,260

Working as an Optician in Missouri

If you train or learn to become an optician and pass the national certification exams, you will be in a good position to land a great job in Missouri. While most opticians work in optometry practices, there are other options too. You may be hired to work in a lab or a clinic, in a hospital, or as an ophthalmologist or other type of physician. Career growth in opticianry is expected to remain strong for years to come, so there will be plenty of opportunities for employment in this rewarding field.

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College Programs

St. Louis, MO-IL Area

University of Missouri-St Louis

One University Boulevard, Saint Louis, Missouri 63121-4400
(314) 516-5000
Optometry – Doctor Program

The Optometry Doctor’s program in Optometry at the University of Missouri can be taken at their St Louis campus in Saint Louis in Saint Louis County, Missouri. This is a full, 4-year public college with 16,738 students, of which 81% are undergraduates. The University of Missouri-St Louis has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are usually about $9,590 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,000, depending on the program.

Southeast Missouri Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Three Rivers Community College

2080 Three Rivers Blvd, Poplar Bluff, Missouri 63901
(573) 840-9600
Pre-Optometry – Associate Program

Three Rivers Community College’s Associate program is based at their campus in the town of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. This public college has around 3,856 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-district students are likely to be about $3,810 and are $5,250 and $5,250 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,900, although this varies from program to 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.

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