Becoming an Optician in New York

There are 23 states that require opticians to become licensed, and New York State is one of them. The rules and regulations are established by the New York Department of Education Division of Professional Licensing Services Ophthalmic Dispensing Unit. An individual looking to become a licensed ophthalmic dispenser must have either graduated from an approved two-year associate program or complete a two-year on-the-job traineeship under the supervision of a licensed ophthalmic dispenser, physician or optometrist.[En Español]

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If a person is going the on-the-job training route, he or she must apply for a trainee permit. Once the training/education component is completed, one must pass a national and state written exam and a state practical exam. In order to fit contact lenses, one must also become certified as a contact lens practitioner by passing the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry Examination.

Job Outlook for Optician in New York

In May 2018, there were 3,450 people working as opticians in New York as detailed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Furthermore, there were 2,470 people working as ophthalmic medical technicians, as well as an additional 2,370 working as optometrists. There were also 2,850 people employed as ophthalmic laboratory technicians. Employment for certified dispensing opticians in New York is predicted to increase by 15 percent up until 2028, which is higher than the national average of 4 percent growth. New York is one of the top five employers of opticians in the United States.

Optician Salaries in New York

In May 2020, the average salary for opticians in New York was $54,550 (BLS). This is equal to an hourly wage of $26.23. Optometrists earned an average annual salary of $130,000, or $62.50 per hour, while ophthalmic medical technologists earned $35,820 per year or $17.22 per hour.

Salaries in New York by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing3,440$26.19$54,470
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians2,470$18.97$39,460
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians3,040$17.95$37,330
Optometrists2,410$59.49$123,730

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in New York by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY210$27.22$56,620$31,620$50,090$55,840$61,460$85,580
Binghamton, NY50$19.31$40,170$26,160$31,320$40,750$48,950$56,430
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY380$24.74$51,460$34,300$41,940$51,310$60,810$71,660
Glens Falls, NY30$21.00$43,680$28,360$35,090$44,900$51,550$58,980
Kingston, NY40$24.79$51,560$30,850$41,840$49,570$62,870$73,940
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA3,160$27.43$57,060$29,180$45,920$58,120$69,670$78,920
Rochester, NY140$25.73$53,520$41,890$49,770$55,560$60,350$63,330
Syracuse, NY170$23.43$48,720$20,240$42,090$52,290$59,590$64,100
Utica-Rome, NY**$21.45$44,620$32,060$34,900$39,620$55,470$61,730

Optician Training and Certification in New York

While there are many options for optician training programs in New York, there are few that are registered with the state that meet their certification requirements.

  • Erie Community College (ECC). Their Vision Care Technology AAS program includes classroom, clinical and laboratory training. Students participate in two clinical externships at local private practices and vision centers. This program has over 70 affiliated and approved sites in the Buffalo area. Second-year students also get the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at the Community Eye Clinic at Friends of the Night People by offering eye examinations to those in need.
  • NYC College of Technology. Located in Brooklyn, NY, this Ophthalmic Dispensing AAS program requires 62 credits of training. Their education program prepares students to become ophthalmic dispensers, contact lens fitters, ophthalmic assistants, ophthalmic sales representatives and optical research technicians.

Where to Find Work as Optician in New York

Most opticians in New York work at independent optical chain stores, private practices, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and ophthalmology and optometric practices. Individuals can work under certified opticians in traineeships for two years before obtaining their own certification. Due to the growth expected in the next 10 years, along with New York state being one of the top places to be employed in the optical field, choosing this field would be a smart choice.

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College Programs

New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division Area

CUNY New York City College of Technology

300 Jay St, Brooklyn, New York 11201
(718) 260-5500
Ophthalmic Dispensing – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Ophthalmic Dispensing at CUNY New York City College of Technology can be taken at their campus in the city of Brooklyn. The majority of of the school’s 17,424 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition are usually about $6,920 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,364, depending on the program chosen.

Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY Area

Erie Community College

121 Ellicott St, Buffalo, New York 14203-2698
(716) 851-1322
Vision Care Technology – Associate Program

The Vision Care Technology Associate’s degree program in Vision Care Technology at Erie Community College is based at their campus in the city of Buffalo, NY. The majority of of the school’s 12,022 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition are about $5,575 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,100, depending on the program.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division Area

Pace University-New York

1 Pace Plaza, New York, New York 10038-1598
(212) 346-1200
Optometry – Bachelor Program

The Optometry Bachelor’s program in Optometry at Pace University is offered at their New York campus in the city of New York, NY. Of the 12,843 students, about 32% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $43,986 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $800, although this will vary with the program.

SUNY College of Optometry

33 West 42nd Street, New York, New York 10036-8003
(212) 938-4000
Vision Science – Doctor Program, Vision Science – Master Program

SUNY College of Optometry offers various Doctor program options for future opticians, a Doctor program and a Master program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of New York. This is a full, 4-year public college with 381 students, of which 0% are undergraduates. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $10,870 for each academic year.

* 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

See options in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont.