Becoming an Optician in Oklahoma
If you enjoy working with people and helping improve their vision, becoming an optician could be the perfect career choice for your interests. While ophthalmologists and optometrists test vision and write the necessary prescriptions for vision correction, opticians use these prescriptions to help patients find the correct eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision improvement products to fit their needs.[En Español]
Licensing for Opticians in Oklahoma
While some states in the U.S. require opticians to be licensed before becoming employed, Oklahoma is not one of them. This means the requirements you must meet to become an optician in Oklahoma will be set by your employer.
Though there are no official licensing requirements for this state, it is a good idea to learn as much as possible if you’d like to advance in this career field. You can become a nationally certified optician through the American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE). Aside from a high school diploma or GED, there is no formal education required to take the ABO-NCLE exam. However, to prepare for the test, it is recommended that you have two to three years of hands-on experience or complete an opticianry program.
The ABO-NCLE certification can result in higher pay and faster career advancement. This voluntary certification will show that you are qualified to work as an optician and are serious about your career. Without this certification, you can still become an optician in Oklahoma by following the requirements set by your desired employer.
Optician Certification Training Programs in Oklahoma
Since there are no official licensing requirements for opticians in Oklahoma, there aren’t many schools offering on-campus opticianry courses. There are several undergraduate programs as well as entire schools dedicated to education for optometrists and ophthalmologists, but aspiring opticians do not require the same kind of in-depth knowledge to be successful. Below are a couple of educational options that Oklahoma opticians can consider:
- Tulsa Technology Center offers a vision care program that currently costs a total of $3,735. The program grants students a certificate upon completion and will allow them to assist ophthalmologists with patient procedures and perform various vision/diagnostics tests. This program takes one year for high school students to complete and can be completed by adult students in as few as five months.
- Penn Foster College is another option for opticians in any state because the program is entirely online. You can complete the Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma Program in just under seven months. Customized payment plans allow you to complete this program at a total cost of $1,179 or less.
National Optician Certification in Oklahoma
The basic certification exams that are administered by the ABO-NCLE and accepted in Oklahoma include:
• The National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE), which must be completed within three years of your first job as an optician.
• The Advanced Competency Exam (ACE) is available to those opticians who have at least two years of experience in the field.
• The Journeyman-Level Exam (JLE) is only available to those opticians who have at least five years of experience.
National contact lens examiners (NCLE) contact lens registry exam is taken by opticians who wish to become certified in Oklahoma. To be eligible to take the exam, you must be at least 18 years old and have completed a state-approved education program or have at least two to three years of hands-on experience. The exam consists of a written test on contact lens theory and a clinical skills evaluation.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Oklahoma
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2021 opticians earned an average of $29,960 for the year, which breaks down to $14.41 per hour. During the same year, the BLS shows that ophthalmic medical technicians made $36,360, or $17.48 per hour.
Salaries in Oklahoma by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||690||$16.20||$33,700|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||270||$15.13||$31,480|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Oklahoma by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK||50||$19.75||$41,090||$20,840||$29,090||$36,440||$46,460||$58,140|
|Oklahoma City, OK||390||$16.09||$33,470||$22,930||$27,670||$33,010||$38,120||$46,320|
In 2020, there were 770 optician jobs in Oklahoma, and by 2030 there are expected to be a total of 930 positions within the field. This career also sees an average of 80 new job openings per year in this state alone. This large number of annual openings is something to look forward to if you are thinking about entering the field.
Working as an Optician in Oklahoma
This job field in Oklahoma is expected to grow by 4% in the next 10 years from 2020 to 2030. You can take your career as far as you would like by choosing to go above and beyond in your endeavors to learn as much as possible about being an optician. An entry-level position requires you to be able to correctly measure customers’ eyes and fit them for the contacts or glasses they need. As your experience grows, so can the responsibility of your role. Those who have more advanced skills may find themselves managing optical practices or performing more complex procedures.
Opticians need a comprehensive understanding of frames frame adjustment basics, multifocal lens considerations prisms, eye care practices, glasses prescription lens materials, and corrective eye care solutions.
You can also expect to receive the highest pay in the cities of Fort Smith, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa, respectively. Opticians can find work in a variety of environments, including retail eyeglass stores, optometry and ophthalmology offices and clinics, and anywhere else that provides eye-related medical care.
- Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Lawton, OK
- Northeastern Oklahoma Nonmetropolitan Area
- Northwestern Oklahoma Nonmetropolitan Area
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Southeastern Oklahoma Nonmetropolitan Area
- Tulsa, OK
Northeastern Oklahoma Nonmetropolitan Area Area
600 N Grand, Tahlequah, Oklahoma 74464-2399
Optometry – Doctor Program
The Optometry Doctor’s program in Optometry at Northeastern State University can be taken at their campus in the town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Of the 8,251 students, about 15% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are, as a rough guide, around $6,327 annually, while books and supplies may cost around $1,260, 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.
Students may also wish to review their options in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri.