Most ophthalmic laboratory technicians
learn their craft on the job; however, many employers prefer to hire
those with formal training.
technicians start on simple tasks if they are training to produce lenses
by hand. They may begin with marking or blocking lenses for grinding;
then, they progress to grinding, cutting, edging, and beveling lenses;
finally, they are trained in assembling the eyeglasses. Depending on
individual aptitude, it may take up to 6 months to become proficient in
all phases of the work.
trainee jobs prefer applicants who are high school graduates. Courses in
science, mathematics, and computers are valuable; manual dexterity and
the ability to do precision work are essential. Technicians using
automated systems will find computer skills valuable.
A few ophthalmic
laboratory technicians learn their trade in the Armed Forces or in the
few programs in optical technology offered by vocational-technical
institutes or trade schools. These programs have classes in optical
theory, surfacing and lens finishing, and the reading and applying of
prescriptions. Programs vary in length from 6 months to 1 year and award
certificates or diplomas.
Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
(COA), a not-for-profit agency, that accredits ophthalmic laboratory
technology programs in the United States. Be sure to confirm a
program is accredited prior to registering.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.