How to Become an Optician in Illinois

optician helps kids with glasses

Want to qualify for an optician job in Illinois? You’ll need to undergo specialized training to learn the tools of the trade.

Education and Training

Below are some online courses offered through local schools and colleges.

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Get information on Optician Certification Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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    How Do These Programs Benefit You?

    The goal of the program is to help you pass the Basic American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exams, which also includes the NOCE (National Opticianry Competency Exam) and the CLRE (Contact Lens Registry Exam).

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    How Much Does It Cost?

    Just about $2,000.  Meanwhile, degree programs that are 18 months to 2 years long could cost as much as $45,000.

    How Long Does It Take?

    It will take about 6 months to complete.  The course is 150 hours but you may enroll whenever you want.

    What Do You Study?

    During your training course, your instructor will cover topics like:

    • Fundamental Optometry
    • Ocular Anatomy and Physiology
    • Public Health Optometry
    • Optical Technology
    • Refractometry and Physics
    • Ocular Microbiology
    • Measuring, Shaping, and Repairing Eyewear
    • Ophthalmic Imaging
    • Spectacle Fabrication
    • Contact and Ophthalmic Lens Dispensing

    Illinois Optician Requirements

    Unlike opticians in New York, California, and Florida, opticians in IL don’t need an official credential to work in healthcare facilities and retail stores.

    In fact, the state of Illinois currently lacks any official requirements for optician schooling or certification.

    Because of this, candidates might be able to find retail optician jobs in Illinois if their only qualification is their high school diploma.

    Licensing Options

    Even though a state- or nationally-issued license is optional for opticians in IL, obtaining this credential could make it easier to get hired, especially if you hope to work in a private clinic or hospital.

    You can earn your certification by passing the following licensing examinations through the National American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners:

    Applying for a License

    To take these exams, candidates must submit the following:

    1. Proof of identity, certifying that you are over 18 years of age
    2. A copy of your high school diploma, GED certificate, or equivalent
    3. A completed application form
    4. Payment of any required fees

    Once you pass your licensing exams, you can begin applying for optician jobs in Illinois. Keep in mind that some employers might have additional requirements that candidates must meet, such as passing a criminal background check or drug screening.

    Optician Salaries in IL

    Annual earnings for opticians in IL usually fall around $41,240per year. However, the average optician salary in Illinois may vary depending on which part of the state you live in.

    Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

    State Hourly Annual
    Bloomington $18.76 $39,010.00
    Carbondale-Marion $18.27 $38,000.00
    Champaign-Urbana $20.58 $42,810.00
    Chicago-Naperville-Elgin $20.22 $42,050.00
    East Central Illinois $17.79 $37,010.00
    Northwest Illinois $18.45 $38,380.00
    Peoria $19.39 $40,340.00
    Rockford $19.62 $40,810.00
    South Illinois $18.69 $38,870.00
    Springfield $20.37 $42,370.00
    West Central Illinois $18.60 $38,680.00

    Occupation: Opticians, Dispensing (SOC Code292081)
    source: data.bls.gov

    As you gain more experience, your employer might give you performance-based raises that take your annual salary closer to $40,000 per year. Job seekers with a formal education and an official certification might be able to negotiate higher wages when applying for optician jobs in Illinois. Many of these qualified candidates find jobs in healthcare settings and make upwards of $50,000 per year or more.

    Job Description


    Opticians in IL are responsible for helping customers and patients select well-fitting eyewear that suits their unique prescriptions and style preferences.

    Whether these professionals work in a retail store or an optometrist’s or ophthalmologist’s office, their duties typically include:

    • Receiving and reviewing patient eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions
    • Measuring the customer’s face and eyes to determine the appropriate eyewear sizing and fit
    • Gathering information about what colors, styles, coatings, tints, and treatments they want for their eyeglasses
    • Submitting work orders of the customer’s preferences to optical technicians who grind and shape eyeglasses
    • Allowing customers to try on the finished eyeglasses and making size adjustments to ensure a proper fit
    • Instructing customers and patients on how to care for their eyeglasses and contact lenses

    On-the-Job Optician Training

    Optician trainees typically start out performing standard customer service tasks, such as operating cash registers, stocking product shelves, and taking inventory.

    Important Skills to Learn

    At the same time, an experienced supervisor teaches them the basic opticianry skills they’ll need to eventually do the job independently, such as:

    • How to process hand-written or digital prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses
    • What filing system the store uses to organize patient records
    • Basic communication and customer service techniques
    • How to use optician equipment, including eye and face-measuring equipment and eyeglass lens- and frame-shaping tools
    • Methods for recommending and up-selling different eyeglasses coatings, tints, and treatments

    Career Outlook

    Aspiring opticians in IL might see a slight uptake in demand for optician jobs over the next ten years. Experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict that the need for trained opticians in the United States will increase by about four percent over the next decade. Hopefuls can take advantage of this projected growth rate by obtaining official licenses so they can qualify for optician jobs in IL more easily.

    Search Optician Certification Training Programs

    Get information on Optician Certification Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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