Becoming an Optician in Oregon
Growth in careers for opticians is strong around the country, including in Oregon. Here, jobs are increasing at a rate of nearly 30 percent. You can expect to be able to find employment and enjoy job security and a good income if you take the steps needed to become an optician in Oregon. Opticians are healthcare professionals who work with optometry patients and clients. They meet with patients who have prescriptions to help select, fit or fix frames, fill prescriptions and answer any questions.[En Español]
How to Become an Optician in Oregon
Oregon has no licensing requirements for opticians. There are also no official requirements for training or education. Employers may have their own requirements for new hires, but the state does not set any.
To become an optician here you can seek employment with an optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist. You will likely be hired for entry-level work while you train on the job in opticianry. Another option is to complete an educational program to learn what is needed to work as an optician. Some employers may prefer to hire opticians who have a post-secondary degree or certificate in a related subject.
Oregon Optician Programs
Getting an education before looking for work as an optician is a smart strategy, as it will make you a more desirable job candidate, even though there are no official educational requirements. Oregon has no schools with on-campus programs specific to becoming an optician, but there are some related options as well as online optician classes.
- Portland Community College. In Portland, students interested in eye care professions can choose to complete this associate degree program in ophthalmic medical technology. The program is geared toward students who want to become ophthalmic technicians and assistants, but it can be a good jumping off point for opticians too and can prepare you for more than one career.
- Portland State University. Portland State offers a pre-optometry program, which is a great choice of degree for anyone considering a career as an optician, but who also wants to leave the door open for other opportunities. This kind of program can lead to a career right after graduation but can also be used to go on to graduate school.
- Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster’s online optician program is tailored exactly to the needs of someone who knows they want to be an optician. Complete it at your own pace, from anywhere in Oregon, and you will be a great job candidate and prepared to pass national certification exams in opticianry.
National Certification for Opticians
There are no requirements for certification in Oregon, but it helps make you more marketable as an optician if you have recognized national certificates. The National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry and the American Board of Opticians are the organizations that are most recognized across the country for offering comprehensive exams that prove those who pass the tests have the skills and knowledge to work as opticians.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Oregon
The outlook for optician careers in Oregon is strongly positive. The current growth in jobs is over 29 percent and is responsible for the projected increase in jobs from 1,150 in 2014 to 1,490 in 2024. Those 340 new jobs will need to be filled, and anyone learning to become an optician now is in a great position to do just that. There is also strong growth of 27 percent for ophthalmic medical technicians in the state.
Opticians in the state also earn a good living. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the annual average salary for opticians in Oregon in 2017 was $35,180. There are opportunities to earn more with experience and years on the job. Ophthalmic medical technicians earned $39,500 on average in 2017.
Salaries in Oregon by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||440||$18.53||$38,550|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||410||$15.94||$33,160|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Oregon by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
Working as an Optician in Oregon
Job prospects are strong in Oregon for individuals who are trained as or willing to be trained as opticians. Most work in optometry offices, helping patients who have been prescribed new lenses and need to select frames or learn how to use contact lenses. Opticians may also work in retail shops, doctors’ offices and any other type of medical setting that includes eye care and lens prescriptions.
Pacific University offers multiple training options, including a Doctor program and a Bachelor program. Classes are taken at their campus in Forest Grove in Washington County, OR. This is a full, 4-year private college with 3,810 students, of which 50% are undergraduates. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees are usually around $42,594 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,050, depending on the program chosen.
* 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.