Salaries, opportunities, and respect all seem to be trending downward. Thanks to a number of contributing factors, the value of an optician is on the decline.
So, what does the future of opticianry hold and what can opticians do about it?
There are obviously no easy answers and the state of the economy is not making it any easier. One thing is certain, all the complaining in the world about low salaries or dreaming about being viewed as scientists or medical professionals will not turn things around. Opticians as a group, as well as individually, need to look for ways to increase their value to both their employers and their customers.
John Seegers, optician, author, and college instructor has taken an active role in affecting change. John sees a stronger educational focus on practical knowledge and movement away from some of the more technical and outdated material studied today in opticianry programs, as an important first step. "They should be spending their time learning insurance, sales, repairs, technology, current trends, fitting, adjusting, customer service, business skills, and lab work.", Seeger writes. I would also add a greater emphasis on soft skills as being critical. The ability to educate and relate to customers is grossly undervalued. John has spent considerable time and resources compiling an online library of practical opticianry knowledge. The breadth of knowledge he has put together on OpticianWorks.com is quite impressive and certainly worth some of your time.
What are your thoughts on the problems opticians face and how to address them?