Dispensing Optician

Dispensing Opticians advise customers on styles of eyewear that suit their needs.

Dispensing Opticians advise customers on styles of eyewear that suit their needs.

Around half of the US population requires vision correction in some form, be it glasses, contacts, or other corrective means. If you are part of that half, you’ve probably been had to pick out a pair of glasses or learn to insert a pair of contacts. A dispensing optician is there to teach patients how to wear and care for their glasses or contact lenses. They can adjust frames and lenses to properly suit a patient’s face, and they know what styles look best on what people.

Fast facts

Minimum Degree Required: High School Diploma

Top Skills: Customer Service, Eye for Detail, Organization

Average Beginning Salary: over$ 20,000/year

Job Description

A dispensing optician is much like any other salesperson — they must understand their merchandise, assist customers in selecting a product, and advise them on caring for their new purchase. However, buying eyeglasses is different from buying, say, a purse. Since everyone’s face has different proportions, a dispensing optician must take precise measurements before the frame is custom fitted to the patient. Different patients require different types of lenses, and the dispensing optometrist must know the benefits and drawbacks of each type of lens offered.

Patients wearing contacts for the first time typically need a little help learning how to insert, remove, and clean their lenses. It is also important to instruct all patients on proper hand washing to avoid unnecessary eye infections.

Dispensing opticians may also be required to handle paper work, keep a record for each patient, file insurance data, and answer phone calls.


Only a high school diploma or GED is required to become a dispensing optician. However, any past experience in an office or retail setting will likely assist you in the application process. Before beginning work, optometrists must complete a thorough on the job training session. Many dispensing opticians are glasses and/or contact lens wearers themselves, although this is not necessary.

Associate’s degrees and certificates in optricianry are available, and give students an advantage when seeking employment.


Twenty three states require opticians to be licensed. Most licenses require either a formal training program or internship, as well as some type of regulated exam.

Job Outlook: Excellent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 29% increase in the field of opticianry from 2010 to 2020. As of 2010, the median income for a dispensing optician was approx. $32,940/year.

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