Education & Training
To work as an optician, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or GED; and
- complete long-term on-the-job training.
Education after high school
Some opticians learn their skills through formal training programs. Professional-technical schools and two-year colleges offer programs in opticianry. Two-year programs usually grant an associate degree. One-year programs offer a certificate. Training usually includes courses in optical math, optical physics, and tool and equipment use.
Experience working as an ophthalmic laboratory technician is good background for this occupation.
Most opticians learn their skills on the job from experienced opticians. Training typically lasts at least one year. Some employers or optical dispensing companies offer apprenticeships that last two to four years.
Some branches of the military train people to be optometric technicians. Training lasts from nine to 13 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.
Fields of Study (What to study to prepare for this career)
Click on any of the Fields of Study listed below to find out more about preparing for this career.
Helpful High School Courses
You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate. Opticians need to understand optical physics, so taking science through physics is a great way to prepare for this occupation.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Computer Applications
- Introduction to Health Care
- Vision Care Assisting
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career.
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.