Opticianry Program Information

The Opticianry Degree program is not a 100 percent online program. While there are several online classes, the courses with labs are considered hybrid, meaning both internet and lab time are required. Typically, labs are one day a week on Durham Tech's main campus. However, monthly-lab options are available if a student works in a location that has weekly access to the optical equipment required to complete the labs. The expectation of lab work can be found in the Detailed Explanation of Course Participation.

The General Education courses on the Opticianry plan of study are not required to be completed at Durham Tech. The degree curriculum includes courses in communication skills, social sciences, microcomputer fundamentals, and business. These courses augment the student's technical instruction and provide a well-rounded educational background. These courses may be completed at a local community college and then transferred to Durham Tech.

An important facet of the Opticianry curriculum is the student practicum, which allows students to practice competencies and skills learned in the classroom. Practicum activities include, but are not limited to, real-life simulation of job activities in the Optical Shop on Durham Tech’s main campus, and/or at an approved facility, manufacturing prescription eyewear for patients, adjusting and repairing eyeglasses at medical centers, retail optical shops, senior citizen centers, and convalescent centers in the greater Durham area.

Upon completion of the five-semester sequence of courses, the Associate in Applied Science degree in Opticianry is conferred and satisfies the formal educational requirements necessary to qualify for the licensing examination given by the North Carolina State Board of Opticians. Completing our program does not award a student a license. Students are still required to complete the examination requirements of the North Carolina State Board of Opticians, as well as the six-month internship in order to acquire licensure.

Durham Tech also offers an Optical Apprentice certificate program that is designed to accompany the NC State Board 2.5-year Apprenticeship program where the student receives on-the-job training. The six-course certificate is completed 100 percent online and spans the duration of the student’s apprenticeship. Students completing this program should be registered as an apprentice with the NC State Board of Opticians. Please visit the NC State Board of Opticians website for more information concerning the apprenticeship requirements.

Program Outcomes

Graduation Rates
Year Number of Students Number of Graduates Percent Passing
2018 25 15 60%
2019 21 16 76%
2020 15 10 67%
2021 19 14 74%


American Board of Opticianry (ABO) Pass Rates
Class Sitting for Exam Passing Percent Passing
2018 16 15 94%
2019 15 15 100%
2020 12 12 100%
2021 16 15 94%


National Contact Lens Registry Examination (NCLE) Pass Rates
Class Sitting for Exam Passing Percent Passing
2018 16 14 88%
2019 15 15 100%
2020 10 10 100%
2021 14 13 93


North Carolina Board of Opticianry Licensure Examination
Class Sitting for Exam Passing Percent Passing
2018 11 11 100%
2019 15 15 100%
2020 10 9 90%
2021 13 13 100%


Students Employed in the Vision Care Field
Class Graduated Employed in Field Percent
2018 15 15 100%
2019 16 15 94%
2020 10 10 100%
2021 14 14 100%


Contact Information

Admissions to Opticianry degree or certificate program: email Theodore Johnson (admissions) or Janet Alspaugh (program questions)

N.C. State Board Apprenticeship program and Licensing exam (Note: application for the Durham Tech Apprentice Certificate is not the same as enrollment in the NC Apprenticeship program.): Sue Hodgin, 919-420-1390