A Career in Optics...
What is an Optical Technician?
It is the job of the optical technician to make these lenses and fit them to frames.
How are lenses made?
In the 1950's the introduction of plastics for lenses
started a revolution in production techniques and now around 80% of lenses
are made from modern plastic materials.
Many of the simpler lenses are produced, ready finished, by moulding
processes but more complicated ones still have to be individually made.
High technology computer-controlled machinery has taken over from the old manual methods and technicians have to understand how to use these machines as well as understanding the principles behind them.
What do I have to learn?
Do I need any academic qualifications and how do I learn?
By attending the City & Islington College in London one day per
week during term time over a two year period.
It is assumed, of course, that you would be working in an optical laboratory or practice at the same time, or have access to one in order to obtain practical experience.
Would I have any recognition at the end of my training?
Holders of the certificate are eligible to apply for the Freedom of the Spectacle Makers' Company and, if of British nationality, the Freedom of the City of London. In fullness of time you may also wish to become a Liveryman of the Company.
What are the career prospects?
Some single practice opticians employ technicians to
'cut, edge and fit', in other words edging surfaced lenses to the spectacle
frame shape and fitting them in the frame.
Larger practices sometimes have an 'in house' laboratory
where lenses are surfaced to prescription on the premises.
Then there are also the comprehensive prescription
companies, some being independent and some owned by optical groups. They are situated throughout the country and provide a total
service to their customers ranging from finished uncut lenses through to the
making of complex lenses.
Many holders of SMC(Tech) have gone on successfully to
train as dispensing opticians, whilst others are today's optical industry
training officers and management team members.
The Spectacle Makers Company
The Company is held in high regard in the City of London
as a Livery Company which is very active and forward-looking and which has
produced more than its fair share of Lord Mayors over the years.
The Company, as a progressive Livery Company, has
probably the largest number of Freemen of any City Company.
The connection with the City of London is complete in that the
Freemen of the Company (of British nationality) may apply for the Freedom of
the City and indeed must become Free of the City before admission to the
In encouraging you to learn about your job and to become highly skilled in your chosen career the Company has the same objectives which it has followed for over 350 years.
If you are in any doubt about whether this career could
be for you, try and speak to your local optician, arrange for some work
experience and see first hand the type and variety of work performed.
For more information contact the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, Apothecaries Hall, Black Friars Lane, London EC4V 6EL or telephone 0207 236 8645 or visit them online at www.spectaclemakers.com