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]
Job Outlook and Salary in Montana
For its 350 dispensing opticians as of 2017, 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 15-percent increase in employment of vision specialists from 2014 through 2024, somewhat lower than the expected 23-percent nationwide increase in this field.
According to the May 2017 BLS report, qualified opticians in Montana earned an average salary of $33,740 for the year. More experienced opticians, or those working for larger companies, earned up to $46,160 in 2017.
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|
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.
Where to Find work 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.