Employment of dispensing opticians is expected to grow
about as fast as average for
all occupations through 2018, as the population ages and demand for corrective
lenses increases. Very good
job prospects are expected.
Employment change. Employment in this
occupation is expected to rise 13 percent over the 2008�18 decade. Middle age is
a time when many individuals use corrective lenses for the first time, and
elderly persons generally require more vision care than others. As the share of
the population in these older age groups increases and as people live longer,
more opticians will be needed to provide service to them. In addition, awareness
of the importance of regular eye exams is increasing across all age groups,
especially children and those over the age of 65. Recent trends indicate a
movement toward a �low vision� society, where a growing number of people view
things that are closer in distance, such as computer monitors, over the course
of an average day. This trend is expected to increase the need for eye care
services. Fashion also influences demand. Frames come in a growing variety of
styles, colors, and sizes, encouraging people to buy more than one pair.
Somewhat moderating the need for optician services is the increasing use of
laser surgery to correct vision problems. Although the surgery remains
relatively more expensive than eyewear, patients who successfully undergo this
surgery may not require glasses or contact lenses for several years. Also, new
technology is allowing workers to make the measurements needed to fit glasses
and therefore allowing dispensing opticians to work faster, limiting the need
for more workers.
Job prospects. Overall, the need to
replace dispensing opticians who retire or leave the occupation will result in
very good job prospects. Employment opportunities for opticians in offices of
optometrists—the largest employer—will be particularly good as an increasing
number of ophthalmologists are expected to utilize better trained opticians to
handle more tasks, allowing ophthalmologists to see more patients.
Job opportunities also will be good at general merchandise stores because
this segment is expected to experience
much faster than average
growth, as well as high turnover due to less favorable working conditions, such
as long hours and mandatory weekend shifts.
Nonetheless, the number of job openings overall will be somewhat limited
because the occupation is small. Also, dispensing opticians are vulnerable to
changes in the business cycle because eyewear purchases often can be deferred
for a time. Job prospects will be best for those who have certification and
those who have completed a formal opticianry program. Job candidates with
extensive knowledge of new technology, including new refraction systems, framing
materials, and edging techniques, should also experience favorable conditions.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
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Optician Job Outlook