Becoming an Optician in Mississippi

An optician is a health care professional who works with optometry and ophthalmology patients to help them pick out frames, fill prescriptions and learn about their contact lenses. It is a career that mixes technical expertise with excellent customer service. In Mississippi this career is growing, and there will continue to be plenty of opportunities for qualified opticians.[En Español]

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How to Become an Optician in Mississippi

Mississippi is one of several states that have no licensing, training or educational requirements for opticians. This means you don’t have to go to school, complete an apprenticeship or become certified to do this job in the state. However, most employers who hire opticians will only consider those with some education or experience.

This gives you two simple ways to become an optician in Mississippi. One is to complete a post-secondary program in opticianry or ophthalmic technology and to then look for a job as an optician. Another option is to seek out an entry-level position with an optometrist or optician and be willing to be trained on the job.

Mississippi Optician Programs

An educational program is a great way to start out a career as an optician. A good certificate or degree program will give you a foundation of knowledge of eye anatomy, lenses, ophthalmic technology and working with patients. It will also prepare you to work as an optician and to pass national certification exams.

  • East Mississippi Community College, Scooba. At the Scooba campus of East Mississippi, students can choose to complete the career technical program in ophthalmic technology. This associate degree program prepares students to work as opticians or as technical assistants to ophthalmologists.
  • Northeast Mississippi Community College, Booneville. At Northeast Mississippi, students may choose an associate degree program in optometry. This can serve as an introduction to optometry, leading to further study in this field, or it can prepare a student to work immediately after graduation as an optician.
  • Penn Foster Career School. For students who cannot access either of the above campuses, the Penn Foster program in opticianry is an alternative option. This program is online and can be completed at each individual’s own pace. It prepares graduates for positions as opticians and to pass national certification exams.

National Optician Certification in Mississippi

Mississippi opticians are not required to pass national certification exams, but being certified can make you more employable and prove you have the skills needed to do the job. There are two important certifications for opticians: the American Board of Opticians examination and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry examination.

Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Mississippi

Becoming an Optician in Mississippi opens a lot of doors for career options. The outlook for opticians in the state is positive right now, with 6-percent growth in jobs. There were 520 opticians employed in Mississippi in 2018, and projections are that there will be 550 by 2028. Those additional positions will need to be filled by opticians who are training and learning right now.

Opticians working in Mississippi in 2020 earned an average salary of $30,500 per year or $14.66 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ophthalmic medical technicians, those professionals who assist ophthalmologists, earned $28,720 in 2020. Optometrists in the state who receive more years of training earned $111,940 that year.

Salaries in Mississippi by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing470$15.34$31,900
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians470$15.64$32,530
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians220$15.31$31,830
Optometrists240$64.84$134,870

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Mississippi by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS100$15.33$31,880$22,240$26,320$30,710$37,100$45,430
Hattiesburg, MS**$15.37$31,970$22,240$25,670$29,620$38,610$47,060
Jackson, MS70$15.52$32,280$21,250$25,560$30,110$40,300$47,250
Memphis, TN-MS-AR220$17.34$36,080$25,840$28,190$33,170$40,010$53,330

Working as an Optician in Mississippi

The most typical place of employment for an optician is an optometry practice. Optometrists examine patients and write prescriptions. They hire opticians to fill those prescriptions and work with patients to select and fit frames and lenses. Opticians also work in retail stores that sell frames, in ophthalmology practices, and in hospitals and other medical settings. The most opportunities for jobs will be found in and around Jackson and Gulfport, but there is a need for qualified opticians in all areas of Mississippi.

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College Programs

Southeast Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area Area

East Mississippi Community College

1512 Kemper Street, Scooba, Mississippi 39358-0158
(662) 476-5000
Ophthalmic Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Ophthalmic Technology at East Mississippi Community College can be taken at their campus in Scooba in Kemper County, MS. The majority of of the school’s 4,259 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees are around $3,240 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

Northeast Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Northeast Mississippi Community College

101 Cunningham Blvd, Booneville, Mississippi 38829
(662) 728-7751
Optometry – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Optometry at Northeast Mississippi Community College is offered at their campus in the town of Booneville, MS. Most of the school’s 3,569 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition is about $3,232 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,000, depending on the program chosen.

Memphis, TN-MS-AR Area

Northwest Mississippi Community College

4975 Hwy 51 N, Senatobia, Mississippi 38668-1714
(662) 562-3200
Pre-Optometry – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Pre-Optometry at Northwest Mississippi Community College is offered at their campus in the town of Senatobia, MS. Most of the school’s 7,809 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition is broadly in the order of $3,000 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,500, 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

Residents of Mississippi may also wish to review their options in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama.