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Allied Health

Vision Care Specialist

Questions and Answers

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What do Vision Care Specialists do?

Frame selection (photo)(spacer) Vision care specialists and technicians fill eyeglass prescriptions or recommend new, fashion designer eyewear, treat eye diseases and are ale to attend refractive lens and other surgeries. They work in a fast-paced environment assisting physicians in testing patients for glaucoma, high blood pressure, diabetes, depth perception, color blindness, peripheral and central vision, and a variety of degenerative diseases. Consequently, the ability to work with all types of people is a vast importance.

Both specialists and technicians acquire the skills necessary to fun a professional vision care office smoothly and efficiently, however graduates of the technician program are more likely to advance into managing the office, training staff and hiring personnel.

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What programs does SCC offer in the vision care field?

Office management (photo)(spacer) SCC offers two options--a three-quarter certificate program and a six-quarter associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree program. Students in both programs use advanced technology while working with all types of patients, from young children to senior citizens.

A graduate of the three-quarter certificate program is called a vision care specialist. The course of study is geared toward providing the basic, essential knowledge and skills needed for employment in a vision care setting.

A graduate of the six-quarter A.A.S degree program is called a vision care technician. This option offers students solid training and skills in preparation for higher management positions. It also provides a foundation for those who wish to complete their associate of arts (A.A.) transfer degree, or pursue a career as an optometrist or as a vision care manager in a clinic or HMO.

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What classes will I take?

Classroom (photo)(spacer) The core curriculum consists of anatomy and physiology of the eye, optics of light and lenses, ophthalmic mechanics and specialties, cosmetics of frame styling, contact lens technology; professional ethics and communication. Also addressed are office procedures, management and computer-related technical skills. Instructors balance classroom and laboratory learning to ensure students have a solid knowledge of theoretical as well as applied principles. During the third quarter of study, students intern in a clinical setting in order to enhance their on-the-job performance. Students pursuing the technician option choose from electives in science (biology, chemistry or physics); accounting or small business planning; and the humanities (philosophy, psychology, sociology or intercultural communication).

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What are the prerequisites?

Applicants must have passing scores on SCC's ASSET tests in order to qualify for enrollment. Students enrolled in the program must earn a grade point of 2.0 or better in all professional classes.

Please see the suggested course of study  PDF (image) for more information.

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Where can I get a job?

Working with children (photo)(spacer) SCC offers the only vision care program in eastern Washington, and it has a national reputation for developing top professionals. As a result our vision care graduates enjoy and extremely high placement rate. New testing methods, faster eyeglass manufacturing, higher quality requirements, demand for larger product lines and new regulations together have resulted in an ongoing need for qualified professionals to serve in the vision care industry.

Potential employers include optometrists, opticians, ophthalmologists, eye clinics, medical and optical equipment manufacturers and supply companies, pharmaceutical companies, research laboratories, and universities. 

Graduates who are interested in becoming opticians can earn their license by working three years with an eye doctor or optician, then passing the Washington state licensing examination.

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How much will I earn?

Graduates at work (photo)(spacer) Most graduates work for eye care professionals, earning entry-level wages of $8 to $12 per hour. With a year or more experience, salaries usually range from $12 to $17 per hour, depending on skills, responsibilities and job location. Those who pursue work sales can often create successful careers with onnual salaries ranging from $25,000 to over $40,000 per year.

National surveys show that those with an A.A.S. degree often are promoted sooner and typically earn a higher income for their additional education. 

For more information....Additional Information
If you have general questions regarding the Vision Care Technology program, its entry requirements, or the admissions process, please contact the SCC Admissions Office via email ( or phone (509-533-8020 or 1-800-248-5644, ext. 8020), and one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff members will assist you.
If you have more specific questions regarding this program, please contact Georgeanna Conrad, Health Science Counselor. Her contact information is as follows:
Phone:(509) 533-8622 or 1-800-248-5644 ext. 8622
You can also submit an online information request or get our address to write for more information.
You may be eligible for free tuition! Follow this link to learn more.

Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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