14 Pros and Cons of Being an Optician

Opticians are medical professionals who offer vision treatment and care.

While this is the basic definition, not all opticians have the exact job requirements.

Some work in a medical environment assisting optometrists with minimal patient contact, while others deal directly with customer service.

The duties of an optician range from helping customers find vision products that fit their requirements to preparing the equipment and examination room for the optometrist.

Before immediately jumping into this career, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of being an optician!

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Pros of Being an Optician

Being an optician offers various benefits for those looking for a new career.

While the role requires numerous desirable qualities, the ideal candidate is driven to assist and work with the public to meet their optical requirements.

When investigating this career, consider these main pros, including the following:

Excellent Schedule

Most are searching for a career with a flexible schedule, allowing for a positive work/life balance.

Becoming an optician is an ideal daytime schedule since you are required to be there during normal business hours.

This allows for much more evening activities with friends and family.

Also, having a predictable schedule helps with making plans with others, scheduling vacations, and juggling daycare and other child-related requirements.

Most opticians can set their hours and search for clinics matching those days and hours.

Additionally, overtime could be available depending on the clinic’s days and regular business hours.

Furthermore, opticians get most major holidays off since clinics are typically closed.

Flexible Duties

As mentioned, an optician’s role can vary based on the medical setting and their requirements.

Some opticians work in a clinical environment with the optometrist to assist with patients and other back-of-the-clinic challenges.

Others work with patients to assist them in finding the best contacts and glasses that fit their vision requirements.

Depending on your preferences and skills, back and front-of-the-house opportunities are available.

Working directly with customers may be beneficial if you have an outgoing personality.

However, finding a role with minimal customer interaction could be your best path if you prefer to be more behind the scenes.

Further Educational Opportunities

The optometry field offers countless opportunities to be involved in additional research programs that teach you more about the field.

This equates to being able to work while increasing your knowledge base to discover exciting opportunities and work with renowned experts in optics.

This additional knowledge greatly benefits your daily job functions, makes you more marketable when searching for a new position, and helps the business become more educated.

Low Stress

Being an optician is a low-stress field in a world with many high-stress careers.

While sometimes a customer issue may challenge your patience and skills, the career is generally pleasant.

Also, the office atmosphere is comfortable and laid back, mainly because few vision emergencies occur, which is a significant factor in determining whether a role is stressful.

Minimal Qualification Times

To enter this career field, you need hands-on training, which can take from two-to-three years.

Following this adequate time and experience in the field, you must pass a test to gain certification that proves you can dispense contacts and glasses directly.

The good news is you are getting paid during this time, so your career begins on a probationary period.

All information needed for the test is gained daily, so failing the test is difficult since issuing proper contacts and glasses becomes part of your routine.

Regular Patient Interaction

For those who enjoy working with the public, being a front-of-the-house optician offers plenty of customer service opportunities.

Ensuring patients receive the products and services they need to live a better life is the main duty of an optician.

Interacting with others allows you to work in a professional setting, be social with others, and create a connection with customers.

This is one of the most appealing aspects for extroverted opticians.

While there are situations where you will be dealing with unpleasant customers, this is rare as most know you are there to help.

Rewarding Career

Becoming an optician is incredibly rewarding if you enjoy assisting others in finding the tools to improve their lives.

For those with vision issues, this career allows you to assist them with restoring their vision so they can continue to live their lives normally and do the activities they love.

Helping others overcome medical obstacles delivers fantastic job satisfaction, which is why most medical professionals enter the healthcare industry.

Cons of Being an Optician

In all professional positions, unique expectations and personality traits must be met.

Therefore, it’s essential to understand the potential downsides of the role, including the following:

Benefits Could be Lacking

Many opticians have minimal sick or vacation time, and any time off after a few days is unpaid.

For this reason, it’s critical to understand the benefits offered by the clinic during the interview so you can plan accordingly.

Of course, different clinics and stores offer varying requirements, so finding the best benefits that suit your needs is essential.

It can be Physically Demanding

Depending on your physical shape, being an optician can be physically demanding, requiring you to stand and be on your feet for long periods throughout the day.

Also, when new shipments arrive at the clinic, they can be heavy, and you will be required to unpack and move boxes around the location.

For those needing to be in the best physical shape, this could be a major drawback to entering the field.

Can be Repetitive

An optician’s career can be incredibly rewarding, knowing that you’re helping others, but it can also become repetitive.

Your daily tasks will likely be the same, which can be a major turnoff for many.

The administrative tasks can become especially mundane for many.

It is important to note that patient interaction can help break up that repetition as you learn more about each individual and their life.

Deal With Insurance Companies

If you become an optician, the business’s pay depends on insurance companies paying accurately and on time for each patient.

This requires a lot of administrative tasks and paperwork, so you may be dealing directly with insurance companies and fixing related discrepancies.

These administrative tasks can be mundane and boring to many, but they are a part of the job you must consider.

On the other hand, all medical roles, including doctors, must perform administrative duties.

Exposure to Hazardous Substances

Lens cleaning and manufacturing require chemicals to provide the desired product to the patient.

In small doses, these substances are harmless.

However, daily exposure isn’t good for your health.

While you must wear the proper protection, like in any medical role, not following protocols can be harmful over time.

Regular exposure to chemical substances is often a major downside for those considering entering the industry.

May Deal with Difficult Individuals

As mentioned, in any public-facing position, you will encounter difficult or demanding individuals, regardless of how pleasant you are.

If you’ve worked in retail or an industry where selling items is part of the position, you likely have the skills to navigate these situations.

While most patients are generally pleasant, you will come across a few who are having a bad day or have difficult personalities.

Therefore, before committing to this career type, ensure you know how to handle challenging individuals properly.

Selling Pressures

Part of the job is to sell certain products to make room for newer optical devices or updated contacts.

This means you must be personable and provide the benefits for the best products based on each customer’s requirements, focusing on finalizing the sale.

For those who do not live to sell products, looking for a back-of-the-house position is in your best interest.

Upselling a pair of glass or more breathable contacts will be part of the job when working directly with patients, so if you enjoy a sales approach, this is an excellent job choice.

14 Pros and Cons of Being an Optician – Summary Table

Pros of Being an OpticianCons of Being an Optician
Excellent ScheduleBenefits Could be Lacking
Flexible DutiesIt can be Physically Demanding
Further Educational OpportunitiesCan be Repetitive
Low StressDeal With Insurance Companies
Minimal Qualification TimesExposure to Hazardous Substances
Regular Patient InteractionMay Deal with Difficult Individuals
Rewarding CareerSelling Pressures

Should You Become an Optician?

There are many positive and potentially negative considerations when becoming an optician.

Some features, like helping others, a flexible schedule, and regular patient interaction, are desirable.

On the other hand, you may prefer to avoid the sales, administrative, or dealing with difficult individuals aspects of the role and opt for a more traditional career.

While this is a low-stress and rewarding career path, some elements of the position may be more difficult, depending on your personality.

When determining whether you think becoming an optician is your best career path, ask these simple questions:

  • Are you in good physical condition where you can be on your feet for many consecutive hours?
  • Can you deal with repetitive administrative tasks?
  • Do you enjoy working with the public?
  • Do you possess the required sales characteristics for the position?
  • How are you at handling demanding individuals?

Becoming an optician may be the right career path, depending on your answers to the above questions.

As mentioned, opticians can work in a more clinical setting that doesn’t directly deal with patients, so there are different available opportunities.

Happy job hunting!

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