How to Become an Optician in Texas
Becoming an optician is a smart way for aspiring optometrists to gain valuable industry experience.
Optician jobs in Texas are also perfect for individuals with a friendly demeanor and exceptional attention to detail.
In this article, you’ll learn the educational and certification requirements you must meet to qualify for an optometry position at a retail store or doctor’s office.
Education & Training
Hopefuls wondering how to become opticians in Texas can enroll in an accredited training course to learn the tools of the trade. Many Texas trade schools and universities offer optician programs for students who wish to pursue this career path.
While course curriculums differ across institutions, optician schools in TX typically offer the following classes:
- Ocular Anatomy and Physiology
- Fundamentals of Optometry
- Optical Technology and Refractometry
- Measuring, Shaping, and Repairing Eyewear
- Spectacle Fabrication
- Contact and Ophthalmic Lens Dispensing
Students also learn how to identify and use optician tools, including various adjustment pliers, cutters, screwdrivers, and frame warmers.
Depending on where you enroll, you might need to meet certain requirements before you can begin an optician training course. For example, people who take optician classes as part of an extensive four-year optometry degree program might need to pass an Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) through the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.
Optometry Admissions Test
Questions on this pre-requisite exam cover general topics to determine prospective optometry school students’ potential for success. The OAT assesses your competency level with four multiple-choice exams on the following subjects:
- Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Reasoning
- The Survey of National Sciences (General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biology)
Certificate or Degree Program Requirements
Check the admission requirements at your preferred trade school, community college, or university to learn whether aspiring opticians in Texas must submit OAT scores when applying to a certificate or degree program.
Local eyeglasses retailers might offer apprenticeship programs for inexperienced employees looking to work in the optometry field. To qualify for an apprentice position in an ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s office, you might need to be an optician school student or graduate
Working as an apprentice optician in TX involves completing hands-on optician tasks that help you develop the essential communication and customer service skills you need for the job. Apprentice opticians usually:
- Greet customers and patients when they arrive at the store or doctor’s office
- Take inventory and stock supply shelves
- Receive and fill patient prescriptions
- Use industry-approved equipment and tools to take customers’ face and eye measurements and shape eyeglasses
Additional Skills Needed
In smaller stores and offices, optician apprentices might also perform optical technician duties, such as creating contact lenses or cutting eyeglass lenses and inserting them into frames.
How Long is Optician School in TX?
Some trade schools offer nine-month-long certificate programs for opticians in TX. However, many students enroll in associate’s degree courses, which take at least two years to complete. Optician apprenticeships in Texas are typically about two years long, as well.
Books, study materials, and tuition costs for optician programs in Texas vary by institution. In-state students typically pay between $1,200 and $2,500 to complete certificate and diploma programs. Meanwhile, an associate’s degree from a particular school might cost anywhere from $28,000 in total to $14,000 or even $30,000 per academic year.
Texas Optician Requirements
Unlicensed applicants can qualify for entry-level optician jobs in Texas. However, candidates with an official certification might have an easier time getting work. In fact, most employers, optometrists, and ophthalmologists exclusively hire workers who possess an optician license from the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).
Required ABO Exams
To obtain their licenses in dispensing eyeglasses and contact lenses, aspiring opticians in TX must pass two ABO exams:
Both exams test your knowledge on topics like anatomy and physiology of the eye, ocular diseases and treatments, and standard clinical opticianry skills. Passing these tests shows potential employers that you have an in-depth understanding of this profession, which could increase your chances of getting hired.
Optician Salaries in TX
Although the average optician salary in Texas is about $34,042 per year, opticians in TX earn different wages depending on their location. The following list reveals regional salary information for opticians in various Texas cities:
- Houston $33,445
- Amarillo $32,446
- Corpus Christi $31,590
- El Paso $30,847
- Fort Worth $35,415
- San Antonio $34,299
- Austin $36,491
Performance-based raises can increase your annual earnings over time, so experienced opticians in TX often make about $50,000 per year. If you work in an optometrist’s or ophthalmologist’s office, your yearly salary might reach up to $68,000.
Opticians in TX work in retail stores and optometrists’ or ophthalmologists’ offices, filling prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. To ensure customer and patient satisfaction, these trained professionals:
- Review patients’ eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions
- Measure the customer or patient’s face and eyes
- Select contact lenses that fit the shape and size of the patient’s eyes
- Offer practical treatments, tints, and coatings for eyeglass lenses
- Help customers select eyeglass frames based on their style and color preferences
- Reshape and resize eyeglass frames as needed to ensure a proper, secure fit
- Fix damaged or broken eyeglasses
- Instruct customers and patients on how to care for their eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Updating patients’ prescriptions and purchase history records
- Process insurance payments
- Maintain store inventory and sales records
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for opticians in the U.S. to increase by about four percent over the next decade. If you have the proper certification, as well as previous customer service experience, you should be able to qualify for most optician jobs in Texas. Candidates with official credentials typically stand out among applicants with certificates when looking for optician jobs in TX.