Ophthalmic laboratory technician essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $28,590
- 2012, number of jobs: 29,380
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 13 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians; what they do:
If you need glasses or contact lenses an ophthalmic laboratory technician makes them for you. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians cut lenses according to prescription orders, shape and fit the lenses into frames, and sometimes coat the lenses with tinted dyes or coatings. An ophthalmic laboratory technician career includes polishing and inspecting each pair of finished glasses or contact lenses, assuring they are of the highest quality for the wearer.
Increasingly, ophthalmic laboratory technicians use automated equipment to create lenses; however some technicians still create lenses by hand. Machines may also be used in the polishing the finishing process.
In addition to glasses, ophthalmic laboratory technicians may create lenses for instruments such as telescopes and binoculars.
An ophthalmic laboratory tech employed in a small laboratory may complete the entire process, while an ophthalmic laboratory tech working in a larger laboratory may specialize in one specific step of the lens making process.
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Ophthalmic laboratory technicians job titles:
- Ophthalmic Laboratory Tech
- Ophthalmic Lab Tech
- Manufacturing Opticians
- Optical Goods Workers
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Education, Certification and License Requirements
An ophthalmic laboratory technician career does not require formal education beyond a high school diploma, as most technicians receive on-the-job training, beginning with very basic skills and gradually learning more technical skills.
Some community colleges and vocational schools provide ophthalmic lab technician certificates. Some of the programs provide an apprenticeship.
Ophthalmic laboratory technician programs cover subjects such as:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Ocular diseases
- Visual and ocular technology
- Eye treatments
Ophthalmic laboratory technicians don’t need specific certifications or licenses.
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Career Advancement Opportunities
Ophthalmic lab techs employed in large laboratories may advance in their career to a supervisory role and train newer ophthalmic laboratory technicians. Some technicians may also advance to owning their own laboratory.
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Job Outlook
Forecast: 13 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for ophthalmic laboratory technicians, on par with the average for all occupations.
As the world population grows, more people need vision correction as their eyes age. However, the growing availability of laser correction lowers the number of individuals who need glasses for long periods of time, many people still need reading glasses as they age.
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $28,590
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $35,810
- 2012, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $22,490
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians Major Employers
- Health and personal care stores
- Medical equipment and supplies manufacturers
- Offices of optometrists
- Offices of physicians
- Commercial and service industry machinery manufacturing