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Ophthalmic Laboratory Technician

Career Overview

Ophthalmic laboratory technicians make prescription eyeglass or contact lenses. They are the craftsmen, so to speak, that turn out the lenses custom built for each customer.  Prescription lenses are all curved a little differently, depending on what sort of correction is required for the wearer and to what degree. Today much of the handwork. has been replaced by computerized machinery that can manufacture and fine tune eyeglass lenses to perfection. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians operate this equipment and put finishing touches on any lenses that may need them.

Education

There are no formal education requirements for ophthalmic laboratory technicians. Job applicants in this field need to be adept in mathematics and have good manual dexterity. There are some education programs in technical schools that provide a certified course in ophthalmic technology. Many people in this profession have learned the skills on the job; some have moved into the optician profession, with the aid of additional education.

Employment

There were about 29,000 ophthalmic technician jobs in the U.S. in 2006. Most worked in small supply houses that manufacture lenses for opticians. Some worked in retail facilities that manufacture lenses on site.

Job Outlook

In 2006 the Labor Department projected job growth in this field to be about the same as the average growth for all jobs, during the decade 2006 - 2016.

Salary

Lowest 10% $18,080

Median Salary $27,210

Highest 10% $42,890

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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