How to Become an Optician in Florida
Optician jobs allow aspiring optometrists and ophthalmologists to begin their journey toward a promising healthcare career.
To qualify for optician jobs in Florida, candidates must complete a state-approved training or educational program. Hopefuls must also obtain the proper licenses and certifications.
Education & Training
Step one of becoming an optician in Florida is to complete an accredited educational program at a Florida trade school, community college, or university.
During this training, students typically take classes like:
- Ocular Terminology and Anatomy
- Optical Technology
- Theoretical Optics
- Spectacle Fabrication
- Ophthalmic and Contact Lens Dispensing
- Mathematics for Measuring, Shaping, and Fitting Eyewear
Optician courses might also include an externship where students gain hands-on experience working under licensed opticians. Externships allow students to develop the customer service, communication, and basic patient care skills they need to thrive in this occupation.
Completing an apprenticeship is another option for people wondering how to become an optician in Florida. Optician apprentices undergo supervised training, working under licensed professionals in optometrist’s offices and retail stores.
Hopefuls can find state-approved apprenticeship programs through Florida’s State Board of Opticianry. Take the following steps to apply:
- Create an online Florida Department of Health account and submit an application
- Pay the non-refundable $60 apprenticeship registration fee
- Find an apprenticeship program on the Health Department’s Public Data Portal
- Have your chosen apprenticeship supervisor complete and submit a Sponsor Registration Form
- Submit a copy of your high school diploma, GED, or equivalent and transcript
Once you submit all the required payments and documents, you must wait for an approval letter verifying your Apprentice Optician number and program start date. While waiting for your application to process, you can check the status of your apprenticeship license online using the Department of Health’s License Verification portal.
Do Apprentice Opticians Get Paid?
Depending on the rules of your chosen apprenticeship, you might earn a regular paycheck throughout the course of your program. Although wages differ, earnings for apprentices usually fall just under Florida’s average optician salary. Other supervisors might offer tuition assistants for apprentices who are also completing educational programs.
An associate’s degree is the minimum requirement for opticians in FL, so training for these professionals typically takes two years. However, if you’re pursuing a bachelor’s or graduate-level degree in opticianry, you may be in school for four to six years. Hopefuls who choose an apprenticeship over a formal degree program must complete 6,240 hours of supervised training within five years.
How Much is Optician School in FL?
Program costs for becoming an optician in Florida vary, depending on where you attend classes. Some Florida students might pay anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 to earn an associate’s degree in opticianry. Others pay closer to $13,000 in tuition, books, and fees. Bachelor’s and graduate degree programs typically cost $24,000 or more.
Florida Optician Requirements
To qualify for optician jobs in Florida, you must have an official license from the state’s Board of Opticianry.
You can obtain your state certification by taking the following steps:
- Receive passing scores on the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) and the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) through the American Board of Optometry (ABO)
- Create an account on the Florida Health Department website
- Fill out a licensing exam application form
- Submit the following:
- Proof of age, certifying that you are at least 18
- NOCE and CLRE exam results
- A copy of your high school diploma, GED, or equivalent
- Payment of the non-refundable $100 application fee
The National Practical Examination
Next, you must pay additional licensing and registration fees and pass the National Practical Examination through the ABO or the National Commission of State Opticianry and Regulatory Boards (NCSORB). From there, you’ll likely need to pass a criminal background check before you start applying for optician jobs in Florida.
Optician Salaries in Florida
Wondering how much opticians make in FL? The answer largely depends on where you live and work. Although the average optician salary in Florida is about $39,160 per year, you might make slightly more or less than that in some regions. Take a look at the list below to learn about annual earnings for opticians in different Florida cities:
- Orlando $38,220
- Tampa $41,040
- Jacksonville $37,393
- Tallahassee $40,533
- Miami $38,070
- Fort Myers $38,202
Earnings for opticians in FL might also vary across employers. For example, if you find a job in an optometrist’s office, you might make higher wages than an optician working in a retail store. In some cases, applicants with a formal education might be able to negotiate higher salaries than those who only have apprenticeship experience.
Opticians in FL help patients and customers choose functional, well-fitting eyewear and contact lenses. During their workdays, they perform tasks like:
- Receiving and reviewing prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Measuring customer’s faces and eyes
- Helping customers choose eyeglass frames that suit their eye and face measurements, as well as their style preferences
- Offering functional treatment options for eyeglass lenses, including tints, anti-reflective coatings, and other features that make eyeglasses suitable for sports or occupational use
- Resizing eyeglasses as needed to ensure a secure fit
- Repairing or replacing eyeglass frames and lenses
- Educating customers on proper eyeglasses and contact lens care
- Processing insurance payments
- Maintaining inventory and sales records for the store
- Updating patient prescription records
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will likely be a four-percent increase in the demand for optician jobs over the next ten years. Completing an accredited school program and obtaining an official certification can improve your chances of qualifying for well-paying optician jobs in Florida.