Becoming an Optician in Montana

Someone looking for a job in Montana with plenty of options and room for growth may be interested in opticianry. An optician fills prescriptions for contact lenses and eyeglass lenses, helping customers select their glasses, measuring and fitting eyewear and taking care of the process of getting the glasses to customers.[En Español]

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Optician Training Requirements in Montana

There are no licenses or other specific requirements for becoming an optician in Montana. Some companies that employ opticians will provide their own training, while others may not provide any training at all. Because there are no specific statewide requirements, it’s a good idea to have some training or education before searching for a job in the field. Some companies and health care practices will be willing to hire an entry-level optician to apprentice with their experienced optician.

Opticianry Programs in Montana

There are no on-campus programs for opticians to begin or receive continuing education in Montana. Alternatively, Penn Foster offers an online Optician Career diploma program that anyone can take. This 10-course program is flexible and can be completed at one’s own pace. Penn Foster’s optician program is nationally accredited.

For dispensing opticians who are looking to advance on their career path, they can decide to take the American Board of Opticians (ABO) examination or the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry Examination. The only eligibility requirements for taking either exam are that the individual must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. No certifications are necessary to be a dispensing optician in Montana, but these national credentials can open up possibilities for new, higher paying jobs.

There is an option for opticians to advance and shift careers altogether, by studying to get a medical degree in optometry (OD). This requires four years of medical school after completing an undergraduate degree program.

Job Outlook and Salary for Opticians in Montana

For its 360 dispensing opticians as of 2018, Montana is an excellent state in which to work, with competitive wages and plenty of job opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an 8-percent increase in employment of vision specialists from 2018 through 2028, somewhat higher than the expected 4-percent nationwide increase in this field.

According to the May 2020 BLS report, qualified opticians in Montana earned an average salary of $36,260 for the year. More experienced opticians, or those working for larger companies, earned up to $52,310 in 2020.

Salaries in Montana by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing350$16.22$33,740
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians70$16.57$34,460
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians110$15.12$31,460

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Montana by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Billings, MT110$18.47$38,410$24,280$29,360$35,340$41,480$60,120
Great Falls, MT40$14.53$30,220$24,540$26,520$29,960$34,740$37,710
Missoula, MT30$16.88$35,120$26,570$29,870$34,360$38,310$46,610

Working as an Optician in Montana

In Montana, it’s easier to find a job in one of the more populated areas, such as Billings, but there are jobs for vision care specialists all over the state. Dispensing opticians can work at retail stores that sell eyewear or optical dispensaries, in independent vision care offices or optometry or ophthalmology practices. Opticians with certifications from ABO or NCLE have even more opportunities available to them.

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