Optical Lab Technician

Oversee machines that grind glass used for prescription lenses.
picture of Optical Lab Technician

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$18,000 – $43,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Optical Lab Technicians do?

Eye problems can run the gamut. Some patients are farsighted, others are nearsighted, and still others need specially tinted lenses just to go outside. As an Optical Lab Technician, you play a vital role in correcting these issues. You operate the machines that create the specific lenses that go with each problem when you’re an Optical Lab Technician.

The machines you work with do it all. They grind, shape, cut, and polish lenses into different shapes for glasses of all varieties. They can even create the glass for telescopes and microscopes. For your Optical Lab Technician part, you oversee the machines as they work, and when they finish, you put the glasses together.

Your job starts with a prescription. You take a set of frames and make careful markings as to the type of lenses that will fit in them. Once you have the lenses, you get to work on the glass type. You insert basic lenses into the machine and, based on the specifications you give, the machine thins or polishes certain areas to fit with the prescription.

After the lenses are complete, you inset them into their frame. You carefully inspect the finished product for any broken or scratched parts, and ensure that the proper frames were matched with the proper lens. The glasses can be for a specific patient, or they might end up in a retail store.

Sometimes, you work backward, taking broken glasses and making them whole again. Through experience, you’re able to recognize different prescriptions and recreate the original pair of glasses.


Should I be an Optical Lab Technician?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Finishing Lab Technician, Lab Manager, Lab Optician

    How to become an Optical Lab Technician

    Most Optical Lab Technicians have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9hgaaa&chl=no+college+%2881%25%29|certificate+%2810%25%29|associate%27s+%289%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,81,81
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