Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician: What It Is, Examples, and Education/Training Required

Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician: What It Is, Examples, and Education/Training Required

Are you interested in how eyeglasses or contact lenses are made? Do you enjoy working with your hands and have an aptitude for science? If so, a career as an ophthalmic laboratory technician may be right for you. In this article, we’ll explore what an ophthalmic laboratory technician does, share some examples of this kind of job, and explain the education and training required to become one.

What is an Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician?

An ophthalmic laboratory technician is responsible for crafting eyeglasses and contact lenses according to a prescription. They use a variety of equipment, including lensometers and hand tools, to grind, polish, and shape the lenses. They may also be responsible for inspecting lenses and frames for defects, as well as measuring patient eyeglasses to make sure they fit properly.

Examples of Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician Jobs

There are a variety of job titles and positions within the field of ophthalmic laboratory technology. Here are a few examples:

  • Lens Grinder: This technician grinds lenses to the correct prescription using specialized equipment.
  • Frame Stylist: This technician helps patients choose frames that complement their personal style and facial features.
  • Lab Manager: This position oversees the laboratory and is responsible for making sure it runs smoothly.

Education and Training Required

While some ophthalmic laboratory technicians learn on the job, most positions require a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, many employers require completion of a postsecondary training program in ophthalmic laboratory technology. These programs typically take less than a year to complete and can be found at community colleges, vocational schools, and technical institutes.

The curriculum in an ophthalmic laboratory technology program typically includes coursework in optics, lens surfacing and finishing, and frame repair. Students also learn about safety practices, quality control, and patient communication.

Progression in the Field

As ophthalmic laboratory technicians gain experience, they may progress to higher-paying positions with more responsibilities. For example, a technician might become a lab manager or supervisor, overseeing other technicians and managing the lab’s inventory. Some technicians may also choose to become self-employed and operate their own optical laboratory.

Getting Into the Field

If you are interested in becoming an ophthalmic laboratory technician, there are a few things you can do to get started. First, take science and math courses in high school to develop skills in these areas. Then, consider enrolling in an ophthalmic laboratory technology program at a community college or technical institute. Finally, look for entry-level positions in optical labs or eye clinics to gain on-the-job experience.

Ophthalmic laboratory technicians are responsible for creating eyeglasses, contacts, and other optical products according to patients’ prescriptions. They use precise measurements and cutting-edge technology to ensure that eyewear is properly fitted and meets patients’ needs.

The job level for Ophthalmic laboratory technicians is Level 03. The salary data for this occupation varies depending on various factors such as union membership, job level, and whether someone is working full-time or part-time.

According to the US National Average, Ophthalmic laboratory technicians earn an average of $32,489.60 per year. However, if one is a full-time employee, the average salary increases to $40,206.40. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians who are in a union tend to earn higher salaries, with an average of $38,604.80 for nonunion workers.

The effects of unions on this job are significant since salaries tend to be higher for unionized workers. In addition, having a union can provide job protection, benefits, and more favorable working conditions.

There are also variances in salaries by geographic location. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians working in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA metropolitan area are the highest paid, with an average annual salary of $52,790. On the other hand, those working in Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC tend to earn the least, with an average annual salary of $24,610.

In summary, the salary of Ophthalmic laboratory technicians can be influenced by various factors such as union membership, location, job level, and whether one is a full-time or part-time employee. Union members tend to earn higher salaries, and geographic location also plays a significant role in salary differences.

| Geography | Average Annual Salary |
| San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Metro Area | $52,790 |
| Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC | $24,610 |