Optician Career Outlook
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Optician Career Outlook

Dec 04, 2008

Thinking of a career change? Then perhaps a job as an optician is the right career path for you. Opticians help people see better by fitting them with eyeglasses and contact lenses. A career as an optician can be very rewarding, and you get to meet lots of new people. But what is the career outlook, are there enough jobs to go around? It’s a good idea to find out before you start training whether there will be jobs available for trained opticians such as yourself.

As an optician you will not just help people pick out glasses or contacts, you will also help their chosen eyewear fit them. You will carefully hone lenses to fit frames, and instruct customers on how to care for them. You may need to prepare broken frames or make up an emergency pair of glasses to replace a broken pair. It can at times be hectic, and at other times be a bit dull.

About 40% of opticians are employed in the offices of an optometrist, who is qualified to test people’s eyes and write prescriptions to help correct their vision. Another 33% of opticians work in stores that specialize in selling glasses, frames, and contact lenses – including major department stores. If you can see yourself working in this type of environment, then you should take the first step towards finding out if an optician career is the right fit for you.

A large proportion of the population needs corrective lenses, which means that the job outlook for opticians is quite good, and it is expected to remain that way for quite some time. Since the baby boomers are aging, there is a two-fold effect – more people are going to require corrected lenses, while at the same time many current opticians are reaching the retirement age. It is a good time to start a career in any health care field, and jobs as opticians are part of that trend.

From 2008-2018, it is expected that employment for opticians will rise by 13%, which is slightly higher than the average for all occupations. Additionally it is expected that the need for opticians will further increase as more people discover the importance of regular eye exams, and thus receive prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Another change is the extensive use of computers and other small electronic devices which is causing a shift in the need for eyewear at a young age.

However, jobs for opticians can easily be influenced by changes in the economy, as when the economy is poor people tend to put off their need for corrective lenses until they can more readily afford them. Opticians can protect themselves by increasing their training to include fitting people for artificial eyes, cosmetic shells, and other types of eye devices. Since contact lenses are so popular it is a good idea to get as much training as possible on this type of corrective lens as it will make you more valuable to your employer.

Since more eye care places are run as small businesses you can also improve your value by taking bookkeeping or management courses on top of your optician training. The more roles you are trained to fill will result in more and better job opportunities now or in the near future.

A career as an optician could be the right one for you, if you are willing to complete a few college courses. In less than a year you could be ready for a fun and exciting job as an optician, and get to help people see better every day.

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