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What do Opticians do?  


The Work

Design, measure, fit, and adapt lenses and frames for client according to written optical prescription or specification. Assist client with inserting, removing, and caring for contact lenses. Assist client with selecting frames. Measure customer for size of eyeglasses and coordinate frames with facial and eye measurements and optical prescription. Prepare work order for optical laboratory containing instructions for grinding and mounting lenses in frames. Verify exactness of finished lens spectacles. Adjust frame and lens position to fit client. May shape or reshape frames. Includes contact lens opticians.


What does it take to be successful as an Optician?

Dispensing opticians should have good basic math skills, a talent for precise work, steady hands and a good sense of color. As their work involves close personal contact, they should really enjoy interacting with people. Cheerfulness, tact, and good communication skills and the ability to inspire customer/patient confidence are other important personal qualities. Opticians also need the ability to read and follow instructions exactly, and to write legibly. Opticians must be able to make decisions using industry standards that can be checked with precise measurements of accuracy. They use small hand-held instruments, as well as larger instruments and machines.

Working Conditions

Dispensing opticians work indoors in attractive, well-lighted, comfortable surroundings. They work in retail optical offices that may be single-unit or multiple-unit locations. Depending on the size of the optical store, there may be just one or several opticians available to serve customers/patients. Dispensing opticians can also be found in ophthalmic clinics of varying sizes, working closely with ophthalmologists or optometrists. They interact with customers/patients most of the time and may spend a lot of time on their feet. Opticians usually work eight hours per day, which may include evenings and weekends.


The Apprenticeship

This Program requires a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 6 years (6000 hours) of training. Additionally, all apprentices under the L&I Program are required to attend 144 hours of formal education. Currently these classes are online through Highline College.

Apprenticeship Entry Requirements:

  At least 18 years old.

 High school graduate or equivalent.

 Physically able to perform work of the occupation.

 Some testing may be required.




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