Optician Degrees

The Advantages To Earning An Optician Degree

An optician degree provides individuals with the ability to prepare eyewear and assist clients in choosing the right contacts or glasses to improve vision. Optician degrees provide fundamental knowledge regarding detection of disorders and diseases of the eye, like cataracts, age related macular degeneration, and other eye issues by using various devices like gonioscopes and other tools. Obtaining an optician degree qualifies individuals to work in a variety of fields assisting optomitrists and other eye care professionals.

Many universities have developed innovative online degree programs to assist students in expanding their educational background while managing work and family responsibilities. Most online programs feature the same educational materials and experiences as their traditional, on campus equivalents. Online courses generally consist of groups of 25 students who have 24 hour access to course materials and instruction. Online degree programs also provide students with one on one interactions with other classmates and instructor through online chats. Online programs also give students the added benefits of a more personalized degree and increased flexibility in course scheduling. Many students find obtaining a degree through online programs one of the best and most convenient means of propelling educational, personal, and professional goals.

What Students Learn Within Optician Degree Programs

Optician degree programs offer students specialized training necessary to understand the function, physiology, and anatomy of the eye and the technical skills to manage the business aspects of providing eye care. Most students are required to complete an associate’s degree program and often licensing procedures as determined by State and employer regulations in order to qualify for employment as an optician. Courses within an optical technology associate degree program include: anatomy and physiology of the eye, survey of mathematics, theoretical optics, mechanical optics, optical dispensing, contact lens, English composition, physics of optical materials, CPR/First Aid, introduction to microcomputer applications, optical business, general psychology, introduction to patient care, field experience, license review spectacle, optical development, ophthalmic third party insurance, license review contact lens, refractometry, and introduction to sociology. Graduates who complete associate degree studies may advance to licensing programs to gain entry level employment or continue studies within higher degree programs.

Bachelor degree programs offer students an expanded knowledge of the field of vision science as well as the disorders and treatment of ocular conditions. Students within a bachelor degree program also gain a better understanding of optometry and the role of professionals in the field. Bachelor level courses include: molecules, cells, and genes; higher chemistry; biological chemistry for optometry; College mathematics; physics; vision science; optics; evolutionary and functional biology; introduction to philosophy; optometry; physiology; physiology of the ocular system; introduction to psychology: optics and they eye; function of the visual system; introduction to ocular disease; ocular disease; aging of the visual system; developments in vision science; pharmacology for optometry; principle medicines for optometry students; clinical optometry; ocular therapeutics; professional optometry; psychology and statistics in optometry; clinical ocular therapy; clinical optometry; and specialist clinical optometry. Graduates from bachelor degree programs generally advance to licensing programs and gain employment or advance studies to master’s degree programs.

Master’s degree programs offer students the ability to specialize skills in the field of optometry and vision science. Courses at a master’s degree level include: evidence based optometry; advanced clinical optometry; specialty contact lens studies; behavioral optometry; clinical imaging; ocular therapy; public health optometry; research skills in optometry; visual neuroscience; introduction to community eye health; community eye health needs assessment; epidemiology of blinding eye diseases; advocacy and education in community eye health; eye health economics and sustainability; eye care program management; and ethics. Graduates from master’s degree programs may advance to licensing required for a variety of employment options or continue studies within doctoral degree programs.

Doctoral degree programs offer students the ability to be considered experts in the field of optometry. Courses include: optics of the eye and specification of the visual stimulus; optics of ophthalmic instrumentation; ocular motility and binocular vision of the eye; sernsorimotor aspects of visual perception and binocular vision; ocular image forming mechanisms; monocular sensory processes of vision; visual development; clinical psychophysics; color vision and color deficiencies; spatial, temporal, and spectral properties of photopic and scotopic vision; anatomy and physiology of the visual system; neurology of the visual system; image evaluation; specification of the visual stimulus; evaluation of optical systems; ocuular motility; advanced concepts of eye movement; binocular vision and perception; color vision; visual development; neurophysiology of vision; optic nerve disorders; phototransduction; physiology of the eye; metabolism and mechanics of ocular tissues; anatomy of the eye; and advanced study of the neuroanatomy of the visual system. Graduates from doctoral degree programs often advance to licensing programs and work as lead experts, professors, and researchers in the field of optometry.

Prospective Jobs For Graduates With Optician Degrees

Graduates who complete optician degrees gain a solid educational basis necessary to build career success. Most graduates with optician degrees work within optometrist’s offices, optometry facilities, and eyewear retail businesses as offering assistance to clients and dispensing contact lenses and glasses. Most graduates who complete an associate degree programs work as optician assistants, optician technicians, dispensing opticians, or retail staff within organizations which sell eyewear upon completing licensing procedures as determined by State and employer regulations. Graduates who complete bachelor degree programs often advance to licensing programs and work as office managers, eye care professionals, and optician assistants within optometrist offices and other eyewear facilities. Master’s degree graduates often work as upper level executives, vocational school instructors, or researchers in the field of optometry. Graduates who complete doctoral degree studies often advance to employment as optometrists, instructors at universities or colleges, or researchers.

Salary Range For Optician Degree Graduates

Graduates who complete optician degrees have salaries based upon education level, area of specialty, organization of employment, and geographic factors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports earnings for dispensing opticians range from $26,170 to $41,930 annually. Graduates employed within merchandise stores generally have earnings greater than those within physicians’ offices, department stores, and optometrists offices. Associate degree graduates who work as ophthalmic technicians generally earn $26,600 to $47,210. Graduates who complete bachelor degree programs and work as assistants within optometrists offices generally earn $32,250 to $43,210 annually. Graduates with master’s degrees who work as vocational school instructors generally earn $42,150 to $65,000 annually. Graduates with doctoral degees who work as optometrists earn $70,140 to $125,460 annually.

Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Optician Degree Graduates

Graduates who complete optician degree programs are expected to find ample job opportunities in a steady and stable job market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects job growth in the field of opticians and ophthalmic laboratory technicians to increase by 15 percent at an average rate in comparison to other occupations through 2018. Graduates who complete formal degree programs, maintain licensure and certification, specialize training, and gain work experience are predicted to find an increased employability over candidates with less education and experience. Factors like an aging population, technological changes, and medical advances and the increased use of laser surgery for corrective eye treatments, are expected to increase the demand for qualified opticians and other optometry professionals. Graduates generally begin studies within lower paying, entry level jobs and gain experience or continue education to advance to employment with greater responsibilities and higher salaries. Graduates who begin employment with a master’s or doctoral degree often work as upper level researchers, executives, or optometrists within established optometry facilities and advance to independent, self operated facilities upon gaining relevant experience and adequate funding.

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