Becoming an Optician in Texas
An optician is a healthcare professional working alongside optometrists and ophthalmologists to improve the quality of care and service for patients getting prescription lenses. They measure patients for frames, fill prescriptions, and guide patients in selecting frames and learning how to use their eyeglass and contact lenses. Growth in the industry is strong everywhere, including in Texas where it doesn’t take years of school to be able to start working as an optician.[En Español]
How to Become an Optician in Texas
Opticians were licensed in Texas until a new law passed in 2015 making it unnecessary. Beginning on July 1, 2015, the Texas Department of State health Services stopped licensing opticians and no longer renewed existing licenses. To become a new optician in the state of Texas you only have to be hired for the job.
While there are now no official state requirements, employers are still likely to have minimum hiring qualifications. Without licensing there are two choices for becoming an optician: seek a job in an entry-level position and be trained by an optician, optometrist or physician, or complete an opticianry or related degree or certificate program at a post-secondary institution.
Texas Optician Programs
There are a few programs in Texas that can help you launch a career as an optician and that can also give you the option of choosing a related career, such as ophthalmic medical technology or assisting. An ophthalmic medical technician works with ophthalmologists, assisting with patients, exams and procedures.
- San Jacinto College, Pasadena. San Jacinto has two programs in eye care technology, one for a two-year associate degree and the other for a certificate, which takes less time to complete. Both are good starting points for learning how to become an optician, but the associate program is best for being prepared to pass the exams for national certification, a requirement some employers may have.
- Tyler Junior College, Tyler. The ophthalmic medical assisting certificate at Tyler prepares students to work with and assist ophthalmologists and optometrists in a clinical setting. It can also be a jumping-off point for a career as an optician. The program includes 40 credit hours of coursework over two semesters and one summer session.
- Lamson Institute, San Antonio. The San Antonio campus of the Lamson Institute includes a program in optometric assisting. Graduates of the program will be prepared to be hired by and work for optometrists or to work as a technician in a lab setting.
Certification for Opticians
Texas does not require that opticians pass national certification exams, but many employers may. It may either be a requirement of hiring or something that must be achieved by a certain point in time after being hired. Either way, there are two important certification exams for opticians: the American Board of Opticians examination and the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Contact Lens Registry Examination.
Outlook and Salaries for Opticians in Texas
Growth in careers for opticians in the state is robust at over 26 percent between 2014 and 2024. This outpaces the national average for overall job growth and growth in optician careers. The statistics indicate that the 6,160 opticians working in Texas in 2014 will grow to 7,790 by 2024. This means that the more than 1,500 new positions will need to be filled by those who are training right now to become qualified opticians.
If you are training now to become an optician, you have a rewarding and lucrative career to look forward to. In 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opticians in Texas earned an average of $33,360 per year and $16.04 per hour. Ophthalmic medical technicians in the state earned $33,280 per year and $16.00 per hour.
Salaries in Texas by Occupation
|Profession||Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
|Ophthalmic Medical Technicians||5,230||$16.00||$33,280|
|Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians||2,840||$14.98||$31,170|
Certified Dispensing Optician Salaries in Texas by Region
|Region||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||10% Percentile||25% Percentile||Median||75% Percentile||90% Percentile|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX||350||$16.32||$33,940||$22,690||$27,090||$33,200||$38,360||$47,340|
|Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX||100||$15.89||$33,060||$23,350||$26,280||$31,930||$39,360||$46,510|
|College Station-Bryan, TX||40||$16.29||$33,890||$23,970||$26,980||$30,800||$38,360||$51,470|
|Corpus Christi, TX||120||$14.46||$30,090||$21,240||$23,410||$28,790||$35,710||$39,740|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||1,910||$17.20||$35,770||$24,660||$28,740||$35,050||$40,570||$49,730|
|El Paso, TX||**||$14.59||$30,350||$24,290||$26,700||$29,290||$31,860||$38,180|
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX||1,470||$15.82||$32,900||$24,670||$27,440||$31,740||$37,130||$42,390|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||470||$15.57||$32,390||$21,610||$25,010||$29,450||$38,020||$48,970|
|Wichita Falls, TX||30||$15.31||$31,850||$19,760||$25,070||$32,320||$37,060||$40,220|
Working as an Optician in Texas
Opticians most often work in optometry practices. They assist patients with prescriptions, lenses and frames. An optician may also be hired by any type of retail store that sells frames and fills optometry prescriptions. Less often, opticians work in doctors’ offices and other medial settings. They may also be hired by medical laboratories. The biggest number of opportunities for opticians in the state will be in and around the large cities, like Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and El Paso.
- Amarillo, TX
- Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
- Corpus Christi, TX
- Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division
- Eastern Texas Nonmetropolitan Area
- El Paso, TX
- Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Division
- Gulf Coast Texas Nonmetropolitan Area
- Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
- Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX
- Longview, TX
- Lubbock, TX
- North Central Texas Nonmetropolitan Area
- Northwestern Texas Nonmetropolitan Area
- Odessa, TX
- San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
- Tyler, TX
- Waco, TX
212 E. Cullen Building, Houston, Texas 77204-2018
Optometry – Doctor Program
The University of Houston’s Doctor-level Optometry program is based at their campus in the city of Houston, TX. This is a full, 4-year public college with 42,704 students, of which 82% are undergraduates. The University of Houston has institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Tuition fees are around $9,706 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,300, depending on the program.
4301 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas 78209
Optometry – Doctor Program
The University of the Incarnate Word’s Doctor-level Optometry program is offered at their campus in the city of San Antonio. This is a full, 4-year private college with 8,666 students, of which 74% are undergraduates. The University of the Incarnate Word has institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition is in the order of $29,990 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,400, although this varies from program to program.
1801 Martin Luther King Dr, San Antonio, Texas 78203-2098
Vision Care Technology – Associate Program
The Associate’s program in Vision Care Technology at St Philip’s College is offered at their campus in the city of San Antonio, TX. This public college has round 11,198 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $2,760 and are $7,170 and $7,170 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,190, although this varies from program to program.
San Jacinto Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and two Certificate programs. All programs are taught at their campus in Pasadena in Harris County, TX. The college has approximately 28,326 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $1,500 and are $2,580 and $2,580 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost about $1,566, although this will vary with the program.
1400 East Fifth Street, Tyler, Texas 75701
Ophthalmic Medical Assisting – Associate Program, Ophthalmic Medical Assisting – Certificate Program
Tyler Junior College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Tyler, TX. Most of the school’s 10,934 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $2,784 and are $4,524 and $4,524 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost about $1,800, although this will vary with the program.
5819 NW Loop 410-Ste 160, San Antonio, Texas 78238
(210) 520-1800 x102
Optometric Assistant – Certificate Program
Lamson Institute’s Certificate program is offered at their campus in the city of San Antonio. The college has roughly 174 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees for the Optometric Assistant program are in the order of $14,073 for each academic year. The typical program completion time is 9 months.
* 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.