Optometric Technician Job Description
If you enjoy meeting new people every day and have an interest in eye care, you might make a good optometric technician. These assistants help optometrists assess the state of a patient’s vision and perform other actions related to office operations and customer service. Hours, which may be full or part time, vary by when the facility is open and may include evening and weekend shifts.
Optometric Technician Duties and Responsibilities
Whether you work at a doctor’s office or a vision center in a retail outlet, being an optometric technician usually involves some central tasks. Job postings frequently call for applicants who are able to do the following:
Eye exams usually involve some basic pretests that do not need to be performed by the optometrist. For instance, optometric technicians may screen for color blindness, test peripheral vision, and record intraocular pressure.
Prior to the doctor calling in his or her next patient, the optometric technician gets the examination area ready. Actions may include repositioning and calibrating machines, disinfecting equipment, and putting charts or results of eye tests on the desk.
Operations necessary to office flow may be assigned to optometric technicians. Responsibilities may include greeting visitors, answering phones, scheduling appointments, sorting mail, filing, inputting data into computer files, collecting payment, coding insurance claims, monitoring inventory, and maintaining the neatness of the waiting room.
When someone gets contact lenses for the first time, the optometric technician may teach the patient how to put them in and take them out, as well as how to clean and store the lenses. Similarly, optometric technicians may teach new bifocal wearers how to adjust to this new type of vision.
Optometric technicians want patients to feel comfortable and have a positive impression of the facility. To this end, they do whatever they can to increase satisfaction. They may offer basic information, adjust eyeglasses through bending or heating, hand out vision care kits, look into insurance coverage, and follow up to see how new prescriptions are working out. One of the most critical tasks optometric technicians fulfill is assisting with eyewear selection. Besides going over the pros and cons and pricing of various frames, they need to strike a balance between helpfulness and letting people experiment.
Optometric Technician Skills and Qualifications
People depend on their eyes, so optometric technicians must be committed to doing their job well. Precision ensures accurate information that the doctor can use to make decisions regarding patient care. Other essential skills for getting the job done include:
- Interpersonal skills – the ability to get along with anyone who seeks services and effectively communicate procedures and information to them will make an optometric technician an office asset
- Familiarity with optometric tests – knowing how to perform tests and operate pertinent machines is vital
- Physical stamina – manual dexterity is needed when using certain equipment; optometric technicians should also be comfortable being in close proximity to people while administering tests
- Collaboration – optometric technicians are part of a team and must work seamlessly with the doctor, front desk staff, and others in the office
- Following directions – exams involve certain steps and procedures, and optometric technicians should be capable of carrying out instructions thoroughly and consistently
- Professionalism – dressing appropriately, using good manners, and focusing on tasks at hand reflect well on the optometric technician and their employer
Optometric Technician Education and Training
While some places will hire people with a high school diploma and train them, completing a postsecondary optometric technician training program through a vocational institution is a more common route to employment. Students learn about anatomy, health, vision, and optical procedures, and how to use equipment.
Optometric Technician Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes optometric technicians under the category of “opticians, dispensing.” It lists the national median annual salary for this group as $35,530, with a median hourly wage of $17.08. Workers in the lowest 10th percentile earn around $22,670 a year, while the highest paid make more than $57,100 a year.
According to the BLS, this field is projected to grow 24 percent over the course of a decade. Much of the demand will come from aging baby boomers seeking eye care services.
As you further consider a career as an optometric technician, these sources may be able to answer your questions:
American Optometric Association – this well-known group is a go-to source for information on eye care and the professionals who provide it
10 Steps to a Phenomenal Patient Experience: Customer Service Secrets for the Eye Care Team – get a better grasp on how optometric technicians interact with patients through this insightful book
Eye Exam – gain a greater understanding of all the things that go on when people get their eyes checked with this guide from the Mayo Clinic
“The Different Types of Eye Care Professionals” – you’ll be able to tell the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist after checking out this webpage
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