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 12 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 helping select, fit, or fix frames, fill prescriptions, and answer any questions.[En Español]
Licensing Requirements for Opticians in Oregon
To become a qualified optician in Oregon, you must have earned your high school diploma before obtaining the necessary license.
However, Oregon has no licensing requirements for opticians. There are also no official requirements for training or education. Employers may have their 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.
Optician Certification Training Programs in Oregon
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 College. Penn Foster’s online optician exam prep 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. Request enrollment information to get started.
Apprenticeship Programs in Oregon
Another route to becoming an optician is through the completion of the apprenticeship program. These on-the-job training programs are offered by employers or organizations in specific areas of eye care, such as ophthalmology. In Oregon, only two optometric clinics are approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to provide apprenticeship programs for opticians. If you are interested in this option, contact the clinic directly to inquire about their requirements and application process.
Once you have taken some type of formal education and/or completed an apprenticeship program, it is time to start applying for jobs as an optician in Oregon.
National Optician Certification in Oregon
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.
The national contact lens examiners offer two certifications: the NCLE-Certified Contact Lens Fitter (CCLF) and the NCLE-Certified Ophthalmic Manager (COMT).
The American Board of Opticians offers three different certificates. They are the Certified Paraoptometric Assistant, the Certified Paraoptometric Technician, and the Certified Dispensing Optician. Whichever certificate you choose, if you pass the exam you will be able to prove your capability to employers and other professional contacts.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Oregon
The outlook for optician careers in Oregon is strongly positive. The current growth in jobs is over 12 percent and is responsible for the projected increase in jobs from 1,010 in 2020 to 1,130 in 2030. Those 90 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 17 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 2021 was $46,300. There are opportunities to earn more with experience and years on the job. Ophthalmic medical technicians earned $46,300 on average in 2021.
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|
Job Opportunities 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, doctor’s offices, and any other type of medical setting that includes eye care and lens prescriptions.
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Area
2043 College Way, Forest Grove, Oregon 97116
Optometry – Doctor Program, Pre-Optometry & Vision Science – Bachelor Program
Pacific University offers multiple training options, including a Doctor program and a Bachelor’s 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’ 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.
Residents of Oregon may also wish to review their options in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California.