Optical Technician Overview
The ACC Optical Technician program is designed to help you prepare for an entry-level position as an optical technician, optical lab technician or contact lens fitter. Jobs like these require an interesting mix of clinical skills and salesmanship, including knowing how to:
- Conduct basic eye exams
- Fill prescriptions from both ophthalmologists and optometrists
- Fit eyeglasses and contact lenses for people with eye problems
- And many other important responsibilities
ACC's dynamic curriculum can prepare you for the National Opticianry Competency Exam and Contact Lens Registry Exam administered by the American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO/NCLE). Doing well on this exam can be an important step toward achieving Optometric Assistant certification.
The focus is on your success!
The goal of our program is to help you graduate with the confidence and qualifications to begin your career as a optical technician.
The Optical Technician program is available at the following campuses:
Careers After I Graduate
Most dispensing opticians work in optical facilities, following prescriptions from optometrists and ophthalmologists and helping customers decide which frames and lens types are right for them. Others may find work in retail establishments that sell eyewear. Upon successful completion of the ACC Optical Dispensing program, you can expect to qualify for entry-level positions in:
- Offices of Optometrists
- Optical Labs
- Retail Vision Centers
- Offices of Ophthalmologists
A few interesting statistics* about optical dispensing careers:
- Employment of opticians is expected to grow by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than average.
- Awareness of the importance of eye exams is increasing across all age groups.
- People typically have eye problems in greater frequency when they reach middle age, so the need for opticians is expected to grow with the continued aging of the Baby Boomer generation.
- Optometrists and ophthalmologists are increasingly offering glasses and contact lenses to their patients as a way to expand their businesses, leading to a greater need for opticians in those settings.
- Fashion also influences the demand for designer frames and contact lenses.
A few places where graduates from ACC's Optical Dispensing program have been hired:
Many area employers are very familiar with the quality of ACC's health care training programs and our school's track record for preparing confident, qualified professionals for rewarding careers. Our graduates have been hired by:
- A Child's View Opticians
- Costco Optical
- Kaiser Permanente
- Los Angelenos Medical Center
- Pearle Vision
- Sears Optical
- Target Optical
- Terry Eye Institute
- Walmart Vision Centers
* Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/opticians-dispensing.htm
What Will I Learn
The ACC Optical Dispensing curriculum is divided into standalone learning units called modules, which include:
- Light and Single Vision – Coursework in this module is designed to teach you the basic anatomy and physiology of the eye. Causes and treatments of low vision are discussed, and you will also receive hands-on training in lensometry, frame measurements and patient measurements.
- Multifocals – In this module, you will learn about different lens designs, prescription, true powers, transposition, metric system and diopter power. You will also practice the steps required to fabricate multifocal glasses using plastic, metal and nylonchord frames and receive hands-on experience in progressive lens mapping techniques.
- Frames/Lenses – Coursework in this module covers different lens and frame materials and designs as well as various optical products available in the market. You will be introduced to salesmanship, and you will have the opportunity to practice frame standard and anatomical alignments and repairs.
- Soft Contact Lenses – In this module, you will study anatomy and the physiology of the eye as you learn to fit, insert and remove soft contact lenses. You will also gain hands-on practice with keratometer, slit lamp and other related instruments to verify CL parameters and be introduced to various complications and medical problems related to CL wear.
- Rigid Contact Lenses – This module focuses on teaching you the effect of vertex distance on lens power. Refractive errors are presented, and you will study the proper care system for rigid lenses. You will also be introduced to various complications and medical conditions that require specialty contact lens fitting.
- Anatomy/Physiology/Prisms – In this module, different lens designs, prescription, true powers, transposition, the metric system and diopter power are discussed, and you will learn to calculate the horizontal and vertical powers. You will also receive hands-on experience in lensometry, frame measurements and patient measurements while practicing the steps required to fabricate a pair of glasses with prescribed prisms.
- Optical Office Procedures – Coursework in this module prepares you for various tasks in an optical office, including the practicing of salesmanship through role-playing. You will also practice adjustments, repair frames using hand tools and learn about HIPAA and vision care billing.
- Dispensing Optician Externship – Under the direct supervision of qualified personnel, you will be given the opportunity to demonstrate and reinforce the knowledge and skills presented and practiced throughout the training program.
What Will I Do as a Optical Dispenser
Once you have completed your ACC training and earned your diploma, you'll be ready to pursue exciting career opportunities as an entry-level dispensing optician. On the job, you'll be responsible for receiving and interpreting data from the optometrist or ophthalmologist and combining that data with the needs and choices of the patient.
In addition to helping patients select the best lens/frame combinations, your clients will very likely be counting on you to know about the latest advancements in technology. They'll also consult with you for your professional opinion in order to make informed eye care choices.
As a dispensing optician, your day-to-day responsibilities* may include:
- helping customers choose eyeglass frames and lens treatments (such as tints or non-reflective coatings), based on their vision needs and style preferences;
- taking measurements of customers' eyes, such as the width or thickness of their corneas;
- creating work orders for ophthalmic laboratory technicians, providing information about the lenses needed;
- receiving customers' prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses, as written by ophthalmologists and optometrists;
- making adjustments to finished eyeglasses to ensure a good fit;
- repairing or re-fitting broken eyeglass frames;
- educating customers about eyewear—for example, showing them how to care for their contact lenses;
- and doing business tasks, such as maintaining sales records, keeping track of customers' prescriptions and ordering inventory.
You'll be on your way!
As you begin your career as a dispensing optician, the ongoing development of your skills can create increased opportunities for advancement. Even after you are employed, ACC's Career Services team will remain committed to providing you with the resources, support and personalized assistance you need to keep your career on the fast track.
* Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/opticians-dispensing.htm
Program Information Disclosure
Select campus below to view disclosures:
To view outcome information for this and ACC's other programs, and to view state disclosure information, visit: americancareercollege.edu/disclosures.