Becoming an Optician in Ohio

Growth in careers for opticians in Ohio is strong and will continue to grow for years to come. For an exciting, rewarding and secure career in healthcare, working as a dispensing optician is a great choice. In Ohio there are specific requirements for education, training and licensing, but it only takes a couple of years to be ready to be licensed and to become a working professional in this field.[En Español]

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Licensing for Opticians in Ohio

Opticians work in settings in which patients and customers are getting lens prescriptions filled, selecting eyeglass frames and learning how to use their contact lenses. Opticians need to know how lenses work, how to fill prescriptions, how to fix frames and so much more. For this reason, Ohio requires that opticians be licensed as a way to prove they have the knowledge and expertise needed to help patients.

The Ohio Vision Professionals Board is responsible for licensing opticians. There are three possible paths you can take to qualify for licensing:

  • Complete an opticianry degree or certificate program at an Ohio school
  • Train as an optician apprentice for two years, including at least 1,000 hours of work supervised by a licensed dispensing optician
  • Complete two years of work, with at least 1,000 hours under the supervision of an ophthalmologist or optometrist

In addition to completing at least one of these options, you must also be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. You must also pass the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry Examination and the American Board of Opticians examination as well as a background check when applying for an Ohio optician license.

Ohio Optician Programs

An apprenticeship is a valid path to becoming an optician in Ohio, but it is also possible to get the knowledge you need and to be prepared to pass the required examinations by completing an appropriate education program.

  • Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland. In Cleveland, you can choose from either a certificate or an associate degree program in optical technology to learn how to become an optician. The certificate takes just one year to complete, with 32 credits, while the degree program is two years and includes 62 credits.
  • Hocking College, New Lexington. Hocking in southeast Ohio also offers a two-year associate degree program in opticianry. The courses are offered in the evenings to allow students to work during the day. Those who complete the program are prepared to pass the national exams and apply for state licensing.
  • Mercy College, Toledo. An alternative but similar career option is to work as an ophthalmic assistant. These healthcare professionals work with and assist ophthalmologists, or eye doctors. Mercy College offers a 32-week program to train students to be ready to work in the field and pass the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant examination.
Featured School

Penn Foster College – Online Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma

Complete this program in as little as seven months. Format designed by board certified and state-licensed opticians. Opportunity to complete a practicum before graduation. The program will help you prepare for dispensing optician national certification exams, administered by ABO and the NCLE, by providing you with exam prep materials. Call 1-800-851-1819 today.

Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Ohio

Working as a dispensing Optician in Ohio is a smart career move right now, as the number of jobs available is growing and will continue to rise over the coming years. From 3,210 employed opticians in 2018, there are expected to be 3,330 in 2028. The state will need 270 more qualified, licensed opticians to fill those positions. Growth is even stronger for ophthalmic technicians and assistants in Ohio.

Training to become an optician is well worth the salary you can expect to earn. The average annual salary for Ohio opticians in 2020 was $43,710, although there are opportunities to make more with experience. Ophthalmic assistants in the state earned $37,630 in 2020, while optometrists made $115,000 because they receive years of additional training.

Salaries in Ohio by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing3,240$18.08$37,600
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians1,910$17.59$36,600
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians1,150$14.50$30,160
Optometrists1,210$65.96$137,200

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Ohio by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Akron, OH120$19.25$40,030$32,210$34,810$39,120$45,700$50,700
Canton-Massillon, OH100$16.48$34,280$24,390$27,430$33,420$39,160$48,140
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN490$18.83$39,180$26,670$30,530$38,910$46,210$50,650
Cleveland-Elyria, OH630$18.91$39,330$32,320$34,550$38,270$44,540$49,550
Columbus, OH710$18.02$37,470$25,410$30,300$38,190$44,980$49,300
Dayton, OH240$17.50$36,400$23,860$29,650$36,990$43,540$48,470
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH**$15.75$32,760$21,470$24,590$30,200$39,550$48,860
Lima, OH**$19.25$40,040$32,960$35,170$38,860$44,720$49,340
Mansfield, OH90$19.35$40,260$29,720$34,040$40,150$45,870$49,220
Toledo, OH210$17.52$36,430$26,640$31,480$35,920$40,830$48,850
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA190$17.53$36,470$24,300$31,760$36,240$41,240$49,200

Working as an Optician in Ohio

Job opportunities for licensed opticians in Ohio are plentiful and are continuing to grow. If you train to become an optician now, you will most likely work in an optometry practice. Retail stores are also big employers for opticians, including any type of store that sells eyeglasses and fills prescriptions for lenses. Other possible employers are ophthalmologists and other physicians in their private practices, hospitals and clinics. In just two years you could be a licensed optician in Ohio, with your pick of great jobs helping people.

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College Programs

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH Area

Cuyahoga Community College District

700 Carnegie Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2878
(800) 954-8742
Optical Technology – Associate Program, Optical Technology – Certificate Program

Cuyahoga Community College District offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. This public college has approximately 25,449 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-district students are usually about $3,136 and are $3,953 and $3,953 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost about $1,700, although this will vary with the program.

Toledo, OH Area

Mercy College of Ohio

2221 Madison Avenue, Toledo, Ohio 43604-1132
(419) 251-1313
Ophthalmic Technology – Certificate Program

Mercy College of Ohio’s Certificate-level Ophthalmic Technology program is based at their campus in the city of Toledo, OH. The majority of of the school’s 1,243 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are usually around $14,710 annually. Study materials can cost around $2,000, depending on the program chosen.

Dayton, OH Area

Miami Valley Career Technology Center

6800 Hoke Rd, Englewood, Ohio 45315
(800) 716-7161
Eye Care/Ophthalmic Assistant – Certificate Program

Miami Valley Career Technology Center’s Certificate-level Eye Care/Ophthalmic Assistant program is based at their campus in Englewood in Montgomery County. The majority of of the school’s 345 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Fees for tuition are about $15,310 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $825, depending on the program.

Columbus, OH Area

Ohio State University-Main Campus

190 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, Ohio 43210
(292) 646-8600
Optometry – Doctor Program

The Optometry Doctor’s degree program in Optometry at Ohio State University is offered at their Main campus in the city of Columbus. Of the 58,663 students, about 23% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Fees for tuition are usually around $10,592 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,168, depending on the program chosen.

Ohio Wesleyan University

61 S Sandusky Street, Delaware, Ohio 43015-2370
(740) 368-2000
Pre-Optometry – Bachelor Program

Ohio Wesleyan University’s Bachelor-level Pre-Optometry program is offered at their campus in Delaware in Delaware County. Most of the school’s 1,671 students are on 4-year programs. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are generally around $44,690 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,500, although this will depend on the program.

* 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

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