Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Introduction to Opticianry and ABO Test Prep

Optician ABO Prep

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Train online, with three Saturdays in a classroom, toward becoming an American Board of Opticianry (ABO) Certified Dispensing Optician. On the last day of class – we’ll make arrangements enabling you to physically hand your resume to local business owners! You’ll enjoy this career path if you think guiding customers to make both function and style choices would be fun, and are motivated to excel in customer satisfaction.

The Job

As a Dispensing Optician, you will:

  • Combine a reasonable level of math and science to measure, fit and dispense corrective lenses
  • Utilize a keen eye for fashion when assisting customers with frame selection
  • Align the customer’s style with attention to the functional detail of vocational and avocational prescription requirements, including specific lenses, lens coatings, and frames
  • Fit and repair eyewear to provide optimum comfort and function by molding and re-shaping frames using appropriate tools
  • Interpret written prescriptions, take facial measurements and determine correct frame sizes

The State of Oregon Employment Department reports that in 2019, Dispensing Opticians in Oregon are paid an average of $20.89 hour, with a median wage of $18.91 an hour.

Enroll in the Dispensing Optician program to gain the skills and know-how to sit for the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE), which is administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO). Those who pass the NOCE are awarded the ABOC credential (ABO certified).

The Program

The Institute for Health Professionals’ Dispensing Optician program consists of online live lecture, and onsite lab hours that will prepare you to pass the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) exam. You can complete the program in one term. On the last day of class we’ll arrange a visit from local business owners and you will personally hand off a physical copy of your resume to them.

You will gain a basic understanding of:

  • Optical principles; terminology
  • Frame measurements used in making eyeglasses
  • Informational markings on frames
  • The anatomical measurements needed to fabricate eyeglasses
  • Ocular anatomy
  • Ophthalmic lens dispensing
  • Math for opticians
  • Important cosmetic considerations in frame selection.
  • Procedures to order and verify prescriptions from an optical laboratory
  • Professional practices and privacy policies (HIPAA)

After completion of the program, you will be able to:

  • Create work orders for ophthalmic laboratory technicians, providing information about the lenses needed
  • Describe ophthalmic lens design and apply basic math formulas related to ophthalmic lenses
  • Measure the interpupillary distance (PD) and optical center heights (OC)
  • Measure multifocal heights for lenses and understand the variations depending on multi-focal style
  • Insert lenses into different types of frames
  • Adjust frames to “standard alignment”
  • Custom fit plastic and metal frames to provide both functional and comfortably fitting eyewear
  • Adjust temples and nosepads for maximum comfort
  • Explain how the principles of reflection and refraction are applied in ophthalmic lenses
  • Explain how lens curvature is used to correct vision
  • Understand practical applications of eyewear adjustments and repairs including use of specialty eyewear tools
  • Perform basic frame repairs

If you are seeking an entry-level, front-line position within a health and retail setting, this program may be for you.

Recommended Texts – Brooks & Borish: System for Ophthalmic Dispensing, 3rd ed. NOCE Exam Review Book. Published by: National Academy of Opticianry. (available at Amazon)

Optional books for the Optician course:
NOCE Exam Review Book is available at nao.org – or by phone (800) 229-4828 

Additional Requirements.

  • Access to PCC Online Learning Course
  • Computer headset or applicable audio

The Investment


1 Term /10 weeks
Classroom Hours Total: 24
Webinar Hours Total: 21
Total Instruction Hours: 45
Tuition: $1199 total, excluding books

The Instructor

Dr. Andrew S. Bruce, Optician Andrew S. Bruce began his optical career in his home country of England, before immigrating into the United States in 1987. He is an advanced level approved speaker for The American Board of Opticianry Continuing Education Programs. His educational papers in his field of expertise have been published in the USA and Europe. His Masters thesis was also translated into Arabic for publication in Kuwait’s “Eyezone.” Bruce is also an approved speaker for both The American Optometric Association CPC Continuing Education, and The National Contact Lens Examiners. His written works are used as instructional and reference materials by Highline Community College’s Dispensing Optician Program. He is a regular contributing writer for Jobson Publications, and has written Continuing Education programs for both The National Academy of Opticianry and The Opticians Association of Washington. ​He is currently the Practice Manager and Licensed Master Optician for a private Optometric practice in Battle Ground, Washington.­ When he isn’t instructing, he is practicing photography and training for marathons.


Can I use federal financial aid?

No, federal financial aid does not apply to non-credit courses. Students are required to pay, in full, once they are notified of their acceptance into the program.

Is there a clinical or internship available?

There is not clinical or internship requirement.

How long does this course take to complete?

This course is one term in length. Most sessions are delivered in a live online, real-time lecture model for instructor-student interaction, along with office hours for additional support. Students will meet three Saturdays during the 10 week term for hands-on skills training with the instructor.

Do I have to buy my books through the PCC bookstore?

No, these books are not sold at the PCC bookstore. The NOCE Exam Review Book is available at nao.org – or by phone (800) 229-4828.

Will this prepare me for a national certification exam?

Yes. Graduates of the Optician program will be eligible to sit for the National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE), which is administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO). Those who pass the NOCE are awarded the ABOC credential (ABO certified).

Upcoming Course Schedule

Don’t see the course you want? Contact us for more information.



Find the CRN of your course from the class schedule. Then, register:

  • Online: If this is your first time taking a class at PCC, create an account. If you are a returning student, log on to MyPCC and click “Register for classes,” found in your Term-to-Term Checklist, under “Register”.
  • Phone: Call 971-722-8888, option 2.

Need help? Get detailed information on how to register.

For more information, please email Bem Hanamoto.

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