Careers in the Licensed Professions

Ophthalmic Dispenser

Ophthalmic Dispenser Print Profile PDF

An ophthalmic dispenser, or optician, adapts and fits lenses (eyeglasses and contact lenses) to correct deficiencies, deformities, or abnormalities of the eyes based on a written prescription from a licensed physician or optometrist. Examples of services:

  • determine what lenses will best fit a prescription
  • discuss options and needs with clients
  • fit and adjust glasses to ensure effectiveness and comfort
  • instruct in the proper care of glasses and contact lenses


High school diploma or the equivalent, including at least one year of mathematics such as algebra or geometry


Complete a Department-registered 2-year collegiate ophthalmic dispensing licensure program OR a 2-year ophthalmic dispensing training program approved by the Department


National Opticianry Competency Examination and New York State Basic Ophthalmic Dispensing practical examination. Additional exams are needed to be certified as a contact lens dispenser.

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.




Salary and Projected Growth

  • Median salary: $ 37,010 in the U.S., $ 57,950 in NY
  • Salary range: $32,100-$67,480
  • Projected growth: much faster than average

Where Could I Work?

  • Ophthalmology and optometric practices
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Laboratories
  • Optical chain stores

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Manual and technical dexterity
  • Close work with customers, physicians, and optometrists
  • Precision

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Attention to detail
  • Cooperation
  • Communication

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to an optician about what they do and how they got started!

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Last Updated: January 14, 2020