Ophthalmic Dispensing (AAS)

Nature of Work

Ophthalmic dispensers (opticians) perform a a broad range of tasks in vision care facilities. A major task performed by this professional is manufacturing lenses for prescription eye-glasses. They cut, grind, edge, and finish lenses according to specifications. Ophthalmic dispensers may also fit eyeglasses and contact lenses by filling written prescriptions by ophthalmologists or optometrists or by neutralizing existing eyewear to make duplicates of spectacle lenses. Often they help customers select the appropriate frames, lenses, and lens coatings. Dispensers also:

  • Fix, adjust and refit broken frames.
  • Instruct clients about adapting to, wearing, and caring for eyeglasses.
  • Keep records on customer prescriptions, work orders, and payments.
  • Some dispensers specialize in fitting contacts, artificial eyes or cosmetic shells that cover blemished eyes.

Employment for ophthalmic dispensers is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. An increase in demand for corrective lenses is expected due to growth in the population of middle-aged and older adults. Most new jobs will be in retail optical chains that manufacture prescription glasses on the premises and provide fast service.

Program Description

The Ophthalmic Dispensing program at CSN is a two-year program of study leading to an Associate of Applied Science Degree. The curriculum provides didactic and clinical or hands-on training. It offers the student the opportunity to become proficient in all phases of ophthalmic dispensing.

Program Outcomes

2018/2019 Cohort
(Spring 2020 Graduates)
Program Completion Rate 
- 85% (23/27)
ABO Pass Rate
American Board of Opticianry Exam 
- 90% (18/20)  
NCLE Pass Rate
National Contact Lens Exam
- 80%  (8/10)
Nevada State Board Pass Rate
- 100% (6/6)
Placement Rate
- 83% (19/23 employed in field)


The Ophthalmic Dispensing program received accreditation from the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation in November of 2001.

Ophthalmic Dispensing (AAS) Requirements

Ophthalmic Dispensing Advising Sheet
Ophthalmic Dispensing Career Guide
Ophthalmic Dispensing Selection Criteria

Note: Qualified applicants are expected to meet all admission criteria and matriculating students are expected to meet all progression criteria, as well as these Essential Functions of Ophthalmic Dispensing Students. Students with documented need for accommodation are to meet with the Disability Resources Center.

Admission Requirements

This is a Limited Entry Program. Therefore, an application for admission must be submitted by the application deadline and all prerequisite requirements must be completed by the completion deadline in order to be eligible for consideration. This material is reviewed using selection criteria set by the program. Applicants are notified of their standing by the Limited Entry office.

Ophthalmic Dispensing Counseling Worksheet
Ophthalmic Community Service Documentation Form
Ophthalmic Experience Documentation Form

Student's First Checklist

New students planning to register for courses at CSN must follow the steps outlined on the Health Programs Advising Checklist. This checklist provides information on the registration process for new students seeking a Limited-Entry Health Science Degree or Certificate.

Find out how to Transfer Credits to CSN from other colleges.

If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact one of our Health Programs Advisement Offices.

  • Charleston Campus: (702) 651-5885, Building K Lobby
  • North Las Vegas Campus: (702) 651-4415, Main Building Room N212
  • Henderson Campus: (702) 651-3563, Building B Room 136