Becoming an Optician in Pennsylvania

An optician is a great career choice if you are interested in a job that will impact the lives of others. Vision and eye health can have a significant effect on someone’s quality of life, and as an optician you will take part in that process, ensuring that patients and customers are happy with their vision care, whether it’s from a health standpoint or simply making them feel satisfied with their new eyewear. In Pennsylvania, opticians can be found working in hospitals, private ophthalmic and optometry practices, and vision care chains.[En Español]

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National Optician Certification In Pennsylvania

Similar to other U.S. states, Pennsylvania does not have any laws that govern the licensing or certification of opticians. This means that employers regulate their requirements regarding employing and hiring new opticians or trainees. However, should you decide to take the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exam and/or the National Contact Lens Examiner’s (NCLE) exam, some employers will offer reimbursement and study materials for these tests. While it is not a requirement to secure a job in the field, employers will generally pay higher salaries to opticians who are certified, which means that getting your license as an optician in Pennsylvania will work in your favor.

National Contact Lens Examiners Exam

The National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) certifies opticians in the contact lens fitting. The exam covers the basics of corneal anatomy and physiology, as well as contact lens design, custom-fitting techniques, and troubleshooting. Additionally, you’ll be tested on your knowledge of the materials used in contact lenses.

Contact Lens Registry Exam

The Contact Lens Registry Exam (CLRE) is a comprehensive exam that covers all aspects of contact lens fitting and care. This exam will ensure you are knowledgeable about the most current advances in the contact lens industry and will help you demonstrate to employers your expertise in this area.

ABO Certification Exam

The American Board of Opticianry (ABO) certifies opticians in the areas of dispensing and fitting eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optometric services. The exam covers techniques for prescribing and dispensing eyewear, as well as establishing a successful business practice within the industry. As with the NCLE exam, you’ll be tested on your knowledge of the materials used in eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Once you have passed either or both exams, you can display certification credentials (e.g., ABO-C, NCLE-C). Not only does this show that you are a well-trained optician, but it also may increase your chances of job success.

In conclusion, becoming an optician in Pennsylvania is a worthwhile career path that can lead to an exciting and rewarding career.

Optician Certification Training Programs

There are currently no on-campus optician programs offered in the state. Since Pennsylvania does not set any requirements for working opticians, the decision to enroll in an educational program dedicated to opticianry is entirely up to the individual. Many private ophthalmic practices and vision care chains offer on-the-job training for opticians, so post-secondary education is not a necessity.

Penn Foster College does offer an online Optician Exam Prep Career Diploma Program that can be completed in as little as seven months. While many places of employment do provide on-the-job training, having a diploma from Penn Foster will give you the upper hand as you seek out an entry-level job as an optician.

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 Pennsylvania

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 2,420 people employed as dispensing opticians in Pennsylvania in 2020. Additionally, there were 1,590 persons employed as ophthalmic medical technicians and approximately 1,660 people working as optometrists in the same year. The BLS predicts that jobs for licensed opticians in Pennsylvania will grow by 7 percent through the year 2030.

The average salary for opticians in the state of Pennsylvania was $36,060 in 2021. In the same year, ophthalmic medical technologists earned an average salary of $46,390, while optometrists earned an average of $121,580.

Salaries in Pennsylvania by Occupation

ProfessionEmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Wage
Opticians, Dispensing2,970$18.11$37,660
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians1,560$17.96$37,350
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians1,090$15.96$33,200

Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Pennsylvania by Region

RegionTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary10% Percentile25% PercentileMedian75% Percentile90% Percentile
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ210$18.09$37,630$25,750$30,910$37,660$45,180$50,020
Altoona, PA**$17.44$36,270$25,460$29,610$35,800$42,830$48,930
East Stroudsburg, PA50$17.43$36,250$25,310$30,130$36,200$43,150$48,780
Erie, PA90$15.24$31,690$25,520$27,030$29,540$34,470$42,760
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA160$17.92$37,260$21,180$23,490$40,310$46,990$51,560
Lancaster, PA190$18.32$38,100$20,790$25,730$39,000$47,520$55,090
Lebanon, PA30$21.81$45,360$33,350$41,210$46,280$51,590$59,360
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA3,160$27.43$57,060$29,180$45,920$58,120$69,670$78,920
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD1,100$19.61$40,800$26,240$32,420$38,580$49,450$59,410
Pittsburgh, PA610$18.38$38,230$24,490$27,870$36,390$48,610$57,750
Reading, PA**$18.62$38,740$25,940$31,750$38,170$46,410$52,430
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA70$15.38$31,980$21,520$24,380$30,130$37,210$46,040
State College, PA40$17.69$36,790$25,690$31,750$36,280$41,560$49,790
York-Hanover, PA140$17.78$36,990$26,680$30,170$35,750$40,950$50,420
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA190$17.53$36,470$24,300$31,760$36,240$41,240$49,200

Working as an Optician in Pennsylvania

Job opportunities for opticians are plentiful across the state, but most employment opportunities can be found in the greater Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Allentown areas. These are also the highest-paying cities for opticians in the state. Many opticians in The Commonwealth can be found working in chain vision care centers and private ophthalmic practices, but it is not uncommon for opticians to be employed in local hospitals or clinics across the state as well.

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College Programs

Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA Area

Luzerne County Community College

1333 South Prospect Street, Nanticoke, Pennsylvania 18634-3899
(570) 740-0200
Pre-Professional Studies – Associate Program

Luzerne County Community College’s Associate program is taught at their campus in Nanticoke in Luzerne County, PA. Most of the school’s 5,788 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually about $5,160 and is $9,300 and $9,300 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost in the order of $2,000, depending on the program.

Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division Area

Salus University

8360 Old York Rd, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027-6262
(215) 780-1400
Optometry – Master Program, Optometry – Doctor Program

Salus University offers multiple training options, including a Master’s program and a Doctor program. Classes are taken at their campus in Elkins Park in Montgomery County, PA. Of the 1,121 students, about 100% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $31,719 yearly.

* 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 ( Confirm directly with the college before applying.

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