Becoming an Optician in Nevada
Becoming an optician in Nevada requires licensing, but the steps needed to get there are not difficult. With an apprenticeship and some classroom time, you can soon begin working and earning as an eye professional. Opticians help patients fill prescriptions, pick out frames, learn how to use their lenses, and make repairs. It is a rewarding career and a stable one in Nevada, where growth in the industry is strong.[En Español]
Licensing for Opticians in Nevada
The prerequisite for starting a career in opticianry in Nevada is obtaining a high school diploma or GED. After that, you must take the National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE) and complete a state-approved apprenticeship program.
Once you have completed those steps, you will need to fill out an application with the Nevada State Board of Opticians and pay a fee. The board will review your qualifications and provide you with a license if you meet all the requirements.
To work as an optician in Nevada you must be licensed through the Board of Dispensing Opticians. The first step in becoming licensed is to apply to the Board to become an apprentice. You can then choose one of two pathways:
- A one-year apprenticeship that includes at least 1,000 hours of work experience and completion of an associate degree program in ophthalmic dispensing
- A three-year apprenticeship with a minimum of 2,000 hours of work experience and the completion of a home-study or certificate program in ophthalmic and contact lens theory
Both options must include at least 100 hours of experience working with contact lenses. Some of the hours or coursework may be covered by prior experience on a case-by-case basis.
National Optician Certification in Nevada
After completing these requirements, you must pass three examinations to become licensed. These include the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry examination and the American Board of Opticians examination. Applicants must also take and pass a Nevada laws and ethics exam.
National Contact Lens Examiners Examination (NCLE): This exam tests your knowledge of the safe and effective fitting, design, and use of contact lenses.
American Board of Opticians Exam: This is a multiple-choice examination designed to test your general eye care knowledge in topics such as optics, frames, lenses, materials, optometric instruments, and other related information.
Optician Certification Training Programs
There is one school in Nevada with approved programs for future opticians. The College of Southern Nevada (CSN), with campuses in Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, offers a two-year associate degree program in ophthalmic technology. This program meets the requirements for the one-year apprenticeship licensing option. It includes 22 general education credits and 46 special topic credits.
CSN also has certificate programs that meet the requirements for the three-year apprenticeship option. These include the ophthalmic dispensing certificate and the contact lens technician certificate. Other approved programs for the three-year option are the National Academy of Opticianry and Contact Lens Society of America home-study programs.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Nevada
Jobs for licensed opticians in Nevada are quickly increasing in number. In 2020, 760 licensed opticians were working in the state, while there are predicted to be 840 by 2030, a growth of more than 11 percent. Those additional positions represent a need for more qualified professionals in the state. People in training now will be filling the new jobs in the coming years.
The average annual salary for an optician in Nevada in 2021 was $36,860, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ophthalmic medical technicians earned an average of $37,540 that year. And, if you are interested in continuing your education and training, you could become a licensed optometrist. The average salary for these professionals in 2021 was $123,870.
Salaries in Nevada by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||230||$16.82||$34,980|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||190||$14.64||$30,440|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Nevada by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV||370||$19.16||$39,840||$30,190||$33,150||$36,510||$40,470||$63,560|
Working as an Optician in Nevada
The future for opticians in Nevada is positive, with 40 percent more jobs that will need to be filled in the next six years or so. If you are interested in this career you can expect to find most opportunities in and around Las Vegas in the south and around Reno and Lake Tahoe in the north. Most opticians work for optometrists in practices and eyeglass shops, but they are also hired by medical labs, clinics, hospitals, and doctor’s offices. With a few years of training, you could be a working, licensed optician in Nevada, earning a great living in this rewarding career.
6375 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada 89146-1164
Ophthalmic Dispensing Technician – Certificate Program, Ophthalmic Dispensing Technician – Associate Program
College of Southern Nevada offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Las Vegas, NV. This public college has about 33,313 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees are around $3,285 annually, while books and supplies may cost around $1,061, 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 (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm directly with the college before applying.