WHAT IS AN OPTICIAN?
The field of eye care is a necessary service to the world, and opticians serve the public in the many facets of eye care and vision correction. However, while a career as an optician can be very rewarding, it is often misunderstood. A huge misconception is that opticians are salespeople for the doctor’s office – they aren’t! Instead, an optician is very similar to a pharmacist. They are trained, skilled, and educated eye care professionals, who are responsible for analyzing and processing a doctor’s prescription for glasses or contact lenses. There are different paths an optician can take for a long and rewarding career based on their personality, workmanship, and communication skills. Let’s explore 3 of these options below!
Optician as Consultant
The first and most common path for an optician is seeing patients in a consultative role. This requires the optician to be versatile and offers the widest variety of responsibilities. They will work under the same roof as the prescribing doctor, as well as work face to face with the patients they serve. This role is often associated with making eyeglass orders based on a needs-analysis of the patient. Goal-oriented people and extroverted personalities often excel at this facet of the consultative job. For those that are more contemplative and introverted, there are other tasks as well. For example, many patients have complicated cases of pathology that require critical thinking to solve. Also, there are numerous non-patient-facing repairs and adjustments that need to be made outside of the view of the patients. Working in-house with a doctor offers the optician the freedom to pick and choose the type of office they would like to work in. Some may choose a busy practice, others may choose something more low-key.
Additionally, an optician can work behind the scenes in a laboratory setting. A laboratory optician fabricates prescription glasses through a series of complex machines. This role is ideal for those who like to work alone without much interaction with the public. Furthermore, it lends itself to opticians who are mechanically inclined and meticulous with their workmanship. There are very precise specifications that lenses must be made to. This, and the math it takes to make calculations for these lenses, means that the laboratory optician must be a perfectionist. Due to the fact that they work alone, it is best for those that are self-motivated.
Optician as Vendor Representative
Lastly, a vendor representative is a career path for highly extroverted and communicative people. Rather than working in just one office, a vendor representative services multiple offices for specific goods, similar to a pharmaceutical representative. A list of typical goods they represent include:
- contact lenses
- ophthalmic lenses
- ophthalmic frames
- eye drops
- laboratory equipment
This job requires lots of travel and interacting with many different office managers and their staff. Loud and boisterous personalities thrive in this setting when conducting training or introducing a new product line. Also, a vendor representative is a great choice for those seeking independence. Since there is no specific office to work out of, there isn’t a direct supervisor.
Find Your Optician Career Path
A licensed and board-certified optician can find a career path that is best suited to their inherent skills and personality. Any of the chosen paths that one may take are very rewarding and have their own part in helping patients see better. A consulting optician can possess a variety of traits, whereas a laboratory or vendor representative would be best for introverts and extroverts respectively. With over half of America’s population using some form of prescription eyewear, opticians are going to be needed far beyond the foreseeable future.
Learn more about True Eye Experts’ amazing opticians on our staff page! Be sure to schedule an appointment to see just how our opticians can help you find extraordinary eye care and the perfect pair of glasses.