Optician Licensing

States Licensed


of 50 states and D.C.


Burden Rank


for average burdens 1st is worst


Combined Rank


for states licensed x average burdens 1st is worst

Change from 2017 to 2022, if any:
Burden increased
Burden decreased
Mixed burden change
New license
Eliminated license
2022 Licensing Burden Rank
Lower Burden Rank
Higher Burden Rank
No state license
Prohibited without a higher-level license

How does my state compare to others?

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Opticians, or dispensing opticians, design, measure, fit and adapt lenses and frames according to prescriptions or specifications; help clients select frames; and measure clients for eyeglass size and coordinate frames with measurements and prescription. They also prepare instructions for grinding and mounting lenses for optical laboratories; verify the exactness of finished lenses; adjust eyeglasses to fit clients; and may shape or reshape frames. Licensed opticians’ exact duties vary by state. See Appendix B for details.

2022 Snapshot

  • 29 unlicensed states; 1 state prohibits without a higher level license
  • Days lost range from 0 (California, New Hampshire) to 1,118 (Nevada)
  • Fees range from $110 (New Hampshire) to $1,250 (Nevada)
  • 21 states require 1+ exam
  • 21 states set minimum age
  • 21 states set minimum grade

Changes Since 2017

  • No licenses created or removed
  • Most states increased fees, while 5 states decreased them; Washington reduced education, while Alaska raised it
  • Burden rank stayed the same, largely because of burden changes in similarly ranked occupations; combined rank improved 1 spot due largely to expanded licensing of a similarly ranked occupation

2022 Licensing Burden in Detail

N New License
E Eliminated License

Data Notes: 2022 data collected between February 3, 2020, and March 18, 2022. Fees include charges for application review and license issuance; exams; background checks, credit reports and fingerprinting; recovery fund contributions; third-party certification; and certain fees for training courses. Calendar days lost were estimated based on required education and experience; except for amounts smaller than one day, days lost are rounded to whole days and thus may not reflect very small changes between 2017 and 2022. Appendix A details methods for estimating days lost and calculating burden ranks. Complete data, including revised 2017 data, are available at https://ij.org/report/license-to-work-3/ltw3-data/.

Additional Resources