Opticians are valuable members of an optical business because so much of vision related revenue comes from the sale and repair of eyeglasses. Anyone who has ever purchased a pair of glasses knows that a single frame with custom lenses usually runs anywhere from $200 to $1500. Of course, the exact cost depends on the brand of the frame and the type of lens customizations ordered.
Since eyeglasses represent such an important revenue source, it makes sense that opticians would be encouraged to spend a lot of time with customers helping them make sure that they find the perfect pair of glasses. For this reason, opticians often end up spending more time with customers than anyone else on the eye care team. Good optical employers understand how important it is to have satisfied opticians working for them and they are willing to pay generous salaries in order to keep great opticians.
Many states do not require opticians to have formal education or training in order to be employed. States that do have optician regulations generally only require a couple of years of training and instruction before an optician can be licensed. Given the relatively low amount of time invested in optician training, the amount that most opticians are paid is very appealing.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median annual wage for opticians in May of 2010 was $32,940. While some opticians make less and others make more, the median salary reflects very well on the profession. Given that many students graduating from four-year degree programs are unable to make much more than this, it stands to reason that the optician salary is a very good return on investment.
When assessing how much one will be paid, the optician must consider the size and type of establishment where they intend to work. Optical stores that focus primarily on retail sales are more likely to pay a higher salary than those that place more emphasis on medical eye care. Some optical businesses will allow opticians to focus solely on retail sales while others will ask opticians to perform other tasks as well. It goes without saying, that an optician who does nothing but sell product is probably going to make more money.
The other factor that an optician must consider is the level of education, training, and credentialing that they have. Generally, optical employers will pay higher salaries to opticians who have completed a degree program or an apprenticeship and who have successfully passed the ABO and NCLE certification exams. This is one of the more compelling reasons that an optician might consider voluntary seeking credentials.
The optician profession is very rewarding financially. When compared to other professionals in the healthcare field, opticians enjoy some of the most straightforward job responsibilities and some of the highest salaries. Individuals considering a career change should take a serious look at opticianry.