There are no postsecondary education requirements for becoming an ophthalmic laboratory technician, and most technicians have at least a high school diploma. Technicians usually learn their skills on the job.
Most ophthalmic laboratory technicians learn through on-the-job training. They usually begin by marking or blocking lenses for grinding in a laboratory and learn more advanced skills such as grinding, cutting, and edging lenses as they gain experience. The length of the training varies from one laboratory to another.
Detail oriented. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians must be able to notice slight imperfections to create lenses.
Dexterity. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians must work well with their hands. They work closely with precise laboratory instruments in small work areas.
Technical skills. Ophthalmic laboratory technicians must understand how to operate complex machinery. Some procedures are automated, and technicians must know how to operate or change the programs that run the machinery.
Most ophthalmic laboratory technicians are hired with a high school diploma and then learn their tasks through on-the-job training. They usually begin as helpers and gradually learn new skills as they gain experience. High school students interested in entering the occupation should take classes in design, computer technology, and industrial arts.
In large laboratories, ophthalmic laboratory technicians may work their way up to a supervisory level and may train new technicians. Some may go on to own and operate a laboratory.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition