Program Overview

Optical Apprentice Certificate

student looking closely into optical equipment to adjust glasses

* This program is financial aid eligible.
* This program can be completed online.
The Optical Apprentice curriculum is designed to meet the educational requirements of the North Carolina Board of Opticians for opticianry apprentices.

Course work includes the competencies necessary to analyze and interpret prescriptions and to accurately fit and dispense eyewear and contact lenses.

Graduates should qualify for the academic requirements of the apprenticeship program. Upon completion of all requirements of the apprenticeship program, graduates should be eligible to sit for the North Carolina State Board of Opticians licensing examination.

North Carolina Residents:

  • The six-course certificate is completed 100 percent online and spans the duration of the student’s Apprenticeship.
  • Students who intend to sit for the NC Licensure Exam must register as an apprentice with the NC State Board of Opticians to meet the exam eligibility requirements. Yearly renewal of Apprenticeship is required by the State Board.
  • The State Board Apprenticeship program is 2.5 years long and the Durham Tech certificate program is 1.5 years long. Students should begin the admissions process shortly after Apprenticeship registration and begin taking certificate courses within 6 to 12 months of Apprenticeship.
  • Apprenticeship requires students to be employed full time at a location that is registered as a training site by the NC State Board of Opticians.
  • If place of employment is not a State Board registered training site, the business must register with the state before training can begin.
  • Durham Tech strongly recommends students work under the direct supervision of a licensed Optician at their training establishment, however students may work under the supervision of a Doctor of Optometry or an Ophthalmologist.
  • There is no direct connection between Durham Tech, the State Board, and registered training facilities. On-the-job training, requirements, and outlines for training facilities are handled through the NC State Board of Opticians.
  • Please visit the NC State Board of Opticians website for more information concerning the Apprenticeship program.

Non-North Carolina Residents:

  • The six-course certificate is completed 100 percent online.
  • The program may be completed for educational purposes only or as an option for education mandated by the specific State Licensure Board.
  • Students applying for licensure within their state should contact their specific State Board to ensure this program meets their state’s requirements.
  • Students are not required to be registered as an Apprentice with the NC State Board of Opticians as they will not be sitting for the NC Licensure Exam.

The Opticianry program is accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation and approved by the North Carolina State Board of Opticians.

View more information about the program and licensure outcomes, and course participation. Students also have the opportunity to gain experience in the on-campus Optical Shop.

How to Apply: 

Program applications are accepted February 1– November 15.

  1. View the Admissions Checklist.
  2. Use the green button below to apply to Durham Tech following the Health Technologies Enrollment Steps. Once course placement requirements are met,
  3. Apply to the Opticianry program using the program application form

If you have questions about admissions requirements after reviewing the information, you may contact Catina Hill-Wafula.

Spring Application Deadline is Nov 15

Estimated Tuition & Fees



Main Campus, Online

Credit Hours


Program Stats

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Average Salary

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Average Class Size


Estimated Completion Time

16 months
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Licensure Pass Rate

headshot of Enzo Anchetta

“I really like how challenging the Opticianry Program is at Durham Tech. This field is something there will always be a need for. No matter how fast technology advances, there’s going to be someone behind the machines that needs to understand how things work and I look forward to fulfilling that role as a licensed optician.”

—Enzo Anchetta