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]
Licensing 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 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 healthcare practices will be willing to hire an entry-level optician to apprentice with their experienced optician.
Optician Certification Training 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.
National Optician Certification In Montana
For dispensing opticians who are looking to advance on their career path, they can decide to take board-certified certification exams; 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.
National Contact Lens Examiners Examination
The National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) examination is a comprehensive exam that covers all the essential elements of contact lens fitting and care. It consists of both a written and practical component. This type of certification is recommended for those who are interested in specializing in contact lenses or seeking jobs at optical retail stores which specialize in contact lenses.
ABO Certification Exam
The ABO exam is a comprehensive exam that covers the essential elements of optics and eyeglass fitting. It consists of both a written and practical component, as well as an eye health inspection. Passing this exam is necessary for anyone looking to specialize in eyeglasses or seeking jobs at optical retail stores which specialize in eyeglasses.
Continuing Education Requirements for Opticians in Montana
Though there are no continuing education requirements for opticians in Montana, taking courses to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in the profession is highly recommended. Some employers may even require their opticians to maintain current knowledge on the job by providing any necessary training. Also, most states have laws that require opticians to maintain their certification, which helps ensure that they are providing quality service and protecting the public’s eye health. Additionally, some states have additional laws or regulations regarding continuing education for opticians. In Montana, it is important to check with employers regarding any policies on continuing education requirements.
Job Outlook and Salary for Opticians in Montana
For its 410 dispensing opticians as of 2020, Montana is an excellent state in which to work, with competitive wages and plenty of job opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 12-percent increase in the employment of vision specialists from 2020 through 2030, somewhat higher than the expected 4-percent nationwide increase in this field.
According to the May 2021 BLS report, qualified opticians in Montana earned an average salary of $37,510 for the year. More experienced opticians, or those working for larger companies, earned up to $57,630 in 2021.
Salaries in Montana by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||70||$16.57||$34,460|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||110||$15.12||$31,460|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Montana by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Great Falls, MT||40||$14.53||$30,220||$24,540||$26,520||$29,960||$34,740||$37,710|
Optician Employment 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 in optometry or ophthalmology practices. Opticians with certifications from ABO or NCLE have even more opportunities available to them.