Securing a job in the optical industry
Due to the recent economic downturn, individuals are finding it harder than ever to find secure jobs. There is intense competition for the few job openings available, meaning many graduates end up extremely frustrated with their job search.
Some of the sectors most affected by the downturn include the construction and housing industries, the financial services sector, the tourism sector and even the medical field. Although the optical industry felt the effects of the poor economy, experts predict that it is well on its way to recovery. In fact, according to recent projections, jobs in the sector are expected to increase by 23 percent from 2012 to 2022. The aging Baby Boomer generation is expected to drive employment in this sector as the senior citizens increase the demand for eye care and related products.
Careers in the optical industry
There are various career paths to pursue in the optical industry; these include working as ophthalmologists, optometrists, dispensing opticians, contact lens fitters and optical lab technicians, among others.
Ophthalmologists are physicians specializing in both medical and surgical eye care. Optometrists, on the other hand, are not physicians. They are medical professionals who focus on regular vision care. They diagnose and treat visual problems by prescribing contact lenses and eyeglasses as needed.
Opticians are not eye doctors; they do not conduct eye exams. Their work centers on interpreting or filling the prescriptions written out by optometrists and ophthalmologists. They evaluate lens prescriptions and provide or adjust contact lenses, glasses and frames. They also take clients’ facial measurements and help them to choose the best frames and lenses. An optometric assistant or an optical technician can sometimes play an optician’s role.
In order to work in any of these professions, one needs to acquire the right education and training. Ophthalmologists need to go to medical school before completing an internship and a residency. Those planning to become optometrists need to enroll in a graduate optometry program and then pass a licensing exam before establishing their practice.
Aspiring opticians need a one or two year certificate, degree or diploma from an accredited college. Several colleges offer optical technician programs to prepare students for careers as optometric assistants or dispensing opticians.
Getting jobs in the industry
Recent graduates can launch themselves into the optical industry via careers at Stanton Optical and other retail vision centers. Alternatively, they can establish their own practices or work in various clinics and hospitals.
The following tips make it easier to secure a job in this industry:
Networking. Graduates can learn about some of the best optical jobs through networking with other professionals in the industry. They can meet these professionals through seminars, conferences and education events.
Social media. This is another novel way to network and learn about vacancies. Employers are increasingly posting job openings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social channels.
References. It is also important for job seekers to have a list of references who can vouch for their character, experience and skills.
Excellent resumes and cover letters. Finally, job seekers should tailor their resumes and cover letters to help them stand out to potential recruiters and employers.
Good luck in the job search!