Optician Career Diploma Program Details

Penn Foster’s online Optician Diploma Program consists of courses that will cover a comprehensive scope of an optician’s fundamental role. Learn how to use the tools of the trade as well as perform everyday tasks to work alongside an ophthalmologist in a professional atmosphere.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students to sit for the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) or the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE).

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Outline various aspects of opticianry and the eye care team
  • Identify the skills and requirements necessary of professional dispensing opticians
  • Perform mathematical calculations related to the field of opticianry
  • Describe components of ophthalmic frames, steps for measuring lenses, and techniques for adjusting eyeglasses
  • Identify mathematical principles used in basic optics, different lens designs, and the advantages and disadvantages of different lens materials
  • Describe the principles of contact lenses, the process of fitting contact lenses, and the various types of contact lenses available
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills in real-world scenarios
  • Demonstrate effective computer skills, including the creation of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
  • Explain the writing process, from grammar basics to the creation of professional correspondence
  • Demonstrate the skills and requirements necessary of professional dispensing opticians

In this course, you’ll develop the necessary skills to ensure your success in the program. You’ll Slearn how you can improve your study skills, so you’re able to use a number of tools that will help you to be successful.


  • Identify skills needed to be a confident and independent online learner

This course introduces you to opticianry and being part of the eye care team.

You’ll explore the history of opticianry as well as the origins of many of the items used in eye care and the predecessors of modern equipment.

In this course, you’ll study how to identify the members of the eye care team and their responsibilities. The course describes the different types of eye care offices and their separate areas. You’ll learn about the professional qualifications and responsibilities of an optician and about licensure in the United States. You’ll also learn about the different organizations, regulations, and standards that affect opticians in the United States. Good luck with your studies and best wishes for a successful career in opticianry!


  • Analyze the different aspects of opticianry and the role of the eye care team

Optical technology is the science of light and vision. It includes a study of the properties of light, how light reacts while passing through ophthalmic lenses, characteristics of spectacle lenses used to correct vision, terminologies related to ophthalmology, and ocular anatomy.

A qualified optical technologist should be able to analyze and interpret a written prescription for corrective lenses and recommend the best products to patients. As an optical technologist, you should be knowledgeable about quality parameters and related guidelines as well.

As a professional optical dispenser, you'll want to respond satisfactorily to the queries of patients. A deep understanding of optical concepts will help you to carry out your duties successfully.


  • Point out the requirements to become a professional optician
  • Categorize the business skills required for dispensing opticians

To understand the theory behind optical aids and the fabrication of glasses, basic skill in mathematical operations necessary. In this course, you will learn about decimals, signed numbers, conversion of English and metric length measurements, important trigonometric functions related to sine, cosine, and tangent, along with practice problems containing sine functions. You will also learn the use of a scientific calculator to solve problems. The next section introduces basic knowledge of algebraic concepts that you can apply to solve problems at work or at home! In this study unit, you will review both the English and metric systems of measurement and temperature, learn about the use ratios and proportions to solve problems. You will also have basic understandings about variables and solving equations. Each section builds on the skills learned in the previous one. So, before moving to the next section, completely understand the concepts presented in the previous section.


  • Categorize algebraic concepts with problems related to optometric issues
  • Analyze the basic mathematical skills to understand the theory behind the use of optical aids

Opticianry is the application of the science of optics to the fabrication and fitting of prescription eyewear and contact lenses. This course will help you to gain an understanding of the skills required to become an ophthalmic dispenser, better known as an optician.

In addition to their technical skills, opticians must be able to communicate effectively with patients. There are two basic types of opticians: dispensing opticians and laboratory opticians. A dispensing optician interprets a doctor’s written prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses and assists the patient in the selection of lenses and frames. In contrast, a laboratory optician interprets the doctor’s eyeglass prescription, specifies the selection of lens and frame stock, formulates lens specifications, and performs all technical functions in the making of eyewear.


  • Categorize the components of ophthalmic frames and their dimensions
  • Recognize the steps to take specific measurements for lens placement
  • Identify the important techniques used to adjust and align eyeglass frames

Textbook: System for Ophthalmic Dispensing

This course is designed to assist you in competently understanding the work performed by an ophthalmic dispenser, better known as an optician. This course is a continuation of Ophthalmic Dispensing, Part 1.


  • Analyze the mathematical principles that are used in basic optics
  • Categorize different designs of lenses including segmented multifocals, and progressive addition lenses
  • Point out lens materials, their advantages, and disadvantages

This course is designed to help you to understand the work performed by contact lens fitters. You’ll learn about the different types of contact lenses that are available, how to measure the surface of the eye using various instruments, and how to fit contact lenses for various patients. The common complications and fitting problems are reviewed, and you’ll see how some contact lenses can be modified in the vision care office. Finally, you’ll learn about the care of these lenses, and how to instruct patients in wearing them.


  • Categorize the basic principles of contact lenses
  • Point out the use of the biomicroscope in the fitment of contact lenses
  • Differentiate among the various types of lenses

Textbook: Contact Lens Manual

In this course, you'll develop more effective personal communication skills to increase their chances for professional success. You'll identify the basic tenets of interpersonal communication, including diction, gesture, tone and facial expression, and practice methods for improving your skills in each area. You'll also improve your listening skills. The course also reviews the standards for professional communication, including making introductions, interviewing, and dressing professionally.


  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Analyze various factors that help develop interpersonal communication
  • Apply interpersonal communication skills in real-world scenarios

Graded Project:
Build on your interpersonal communication skills by submitting a graded project for the course. You’ll have to choose one of two options: write an essay of 500-800 words or write and present a speech of two-to-three minutes.

Microsoft® Office allows people to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases. This course will teach you how to use three popular tools from the MS Office Suite— MS Word™, MS Excel®, and MS PowerPoint®. In this course, you'll learn how to use MS Word™ to create and edit text documents, insert figures and tables, and format pages for a variety of uses. You'll then learn how to use MS Excel® to organize and format data, including charts, formulas, and more complex tables. Next, you'll learn how to use MS PowerPoint® to create and deliver slide shows. Finally, you'll complete a computer applications graded project, which will test the skills acquired in Word™, Excel®, and PowerPoint®.


  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrate effective quantitative skills
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy
  • Demonstrate job-specific technical and professional skills
  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Identify how to create various Microsoft® Word™ documents
  • Write a sound Microsoft® Word™ 2019 letter
  • Identify how to create various Microsoft® Excel® documents
  • Produce a thorough Microsoft® Excel® 2019 spreadsheet
  • Identify the basic skills needed to use Microsoft® PowerPoint®
  • Create a well-constructed memo, spreadsheet, and presentation

Graded Project: - Microsoft® Word™
This project involves a case study based on a fictional firm. You’ll assume the role of a director of training responsible for creating promotional literature for the firm. The promotional documents will be mailed to a potential customer of the firm. The customer is being personally invited to a training seminar on the new features of Word.™ For this project, you’ll complete four sections of the promotional literature package. The sections consist of a cover letter introducing the firm and inviting the potential customer to the training session, a fact sheet highlighting the new features of Word,™ a flier promoting the training, and a registration form.

Graded Project: - Microsoft® Excel®
This project involves the following scenario: The office where you work would like to track the cost of office supplies used for a two-month period. As office manager, you’re asked to compare two months’ worth of inventory and prepare a graphical representation of the comparison to show the increase or decrease in supply use. You’re given the amounts by the purchasing department and must prepare an Excel® spreadsheet to be sent to the Chief Financial Officer of your company.

In this course, you’ll describe the process of writing, as well as the parts of speech and how to use them. You’ll then explain various types of punctuation, rules for capitalization and spelling, and documenting sources for research. You’ll construct complete, correct sentences and well-organized, coherent paragraphs and recognize how to plan, develop, revise, and present your work. Finally, you’ll prepare for the various kinds of writing most likely needed for a job.


  • Describe the process of writing, as well as the parts of speech and how to use them
  • Explain various types of punctuation, rules for capitalization and spelling, and documenting sources for research
  • Construct complete, correct sentences and well-organized, coherent paragraphs
  • Recognize how to plan, develop, revise, and present your work
  • Prepare for the various kinds of writing most likely needed for a job

Success as a professional optician is dependent on the quality of education as well as one’s ability to perform the required tasks with confidence. In-depth knowledge coupled with a professional outlook helps opticians reach their career goal.

In this course you’ll be introduced to various business function units, roles of different employees, patient management, and basic finance and accounts of an optical office.

You’ll also review for the NOCE and CLRE. Both exams are designed to test your knowledge of opticianry topics and skills.


  • Explain the professional, business, and interpersonal skills practiced by professional opticians
  • Identify the knowledge required for the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE)
  • Identify the knowledge required for the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE)


  • NAO Spectacle Review Set for the NOCE
  • Test Review for Contact Lens Technicians

Graduates of the Penn Foster Optician Program are prepared to sit for the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE), which is administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO). Those who pass the NOCE are awarded the ABOC (ABO certified) credential. Graduates are also prepared to sit for the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE), which is administered by the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). Those who pass the CLRE are awarded the NCLEC (NCLE certified) credential.

ABO and NCLE certification is a national standard — not a state license — and is recognized in every state and many foreign countries. In non-licensing states, certification is especially important; it is an optician’s only credential.

In the workplace, an optician applies their opticianry knowledge. In this course you’ll gain experience to help you along your career path.


  • Demonstrate the skills and requirements necessary of professional dispensing opticians

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Students who reside in North Carolina, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Virginia may not enroll into this Program.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Surround Sound Support

A Committed Support System

While you can study independently, you’re not alone! With a dedicated Student Services department, the Student Community, and instructors just a call away, you’ll have access to the support you need.

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.
Penn Foster Student Community
Sample Computer Programming Languages Lesson

Sample Optician Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Optician course would look like.
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 10 or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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