Optical Careers

Those with a degree in optical assisting work with optometrists to help correct vision impairments in patients. Optometric assistants test vision and assist patients in choosing frames, along with offering instruction on proper eyeglass wear and care. Many opticians are adept at fixing, adjusting and repairing broken frames. Many administrative duties have become a major part of their work; optometric assistants keep records on prescriptions and payments, and track inventory and sales.

Employment Opportunities

Optical assisting professionals may work in a variety of environments, including:

  • Optometry and ophthalmology offices
  • Optical stores
  • Department or club stores

Skills

Optical professionals need a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Ability to work with the public
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to teach patients new skills
  • Ability to do precise work

Industry Spotlight

Job prospects for entering the profession should be good as there is a regular need to replace those who leave the occupation or retire. Nevertheless, the number of job openings will be limited because the occupation is small. Also, dispensing opticians are vulnerable to changes in the business cycle because eyewear purchases often can be deferred for a time. Job prospects will be best for those who have taken formal opticianry classes and those who master new technology, including new refraction systems, framing materials, and edging techniques.

- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008