8 Skills the Best Optical Technicians Should Have

Whether you're an optical technician looking to beef up your resume or an OD looking to hire a new tech for your office, we've got a list of some of the top traits and skills that the most effective technicians possess. However, there isn't a precise formula for creating the best technician, because someone new in their career or with niche knowledge might be a better fit for your practice's needs than the most broadly experienced candidate.

This list of skills should get you thinking about what you're looking for in a tech and what you should be doing to beef up your skillset for your next job interview.

Building an Outstanding Optical Technician Resume

Ability to Anticipate the OD's NeedsNew Website (6)

This could be the most important skill on the list. The ability to understand what the OD needs without being asked or told is invaluable for efficiency. It's a time saver and helps the entire office workflow run smoothly. This type of skill likely won't be achieved overnight. It takes time to adjust to a practice's workflow, patients, and team before any new hire is able to anticipate what is next.

Understanding of Medical Terminology

Coming into a practice with an understanding of medical terminology shows that you have experience in the field. Not having to teach a new hire every word is going to help speed up the training process. While medical and optical terminology can be taught on the job, coming in with the experience is an added bonus. Even more, having a medical assistant certification helps solidify your knowledge and experience making you an even stronger candidate for the job.

Excellent Communication Skills

Techs have to be able to communicate with both patients and doctors. Plus, the communication with each is going to be a little different. Listening and understanding patients' concerns and needs is going to affect how you communicate with them, while communication with the OD will be more direct and technical. Getting a good understanding of a candidate's communication skills should be an important step in the interview process. 

Problem Solving Skills

Just about every patient that walks into your practice is coming in with some type of problem. So the ability for your techs to be able to problem-solve on the fly is going to be important. Whether it's a broken instrument, patient complaint, or questions on procedures and treatment your techs should be able to confidently solve problems on the fly.

Knowledge of Products

Experience in the eyecare field and a variety of products is going to make them more knowledgeable on the different options available to patients. Being able to give explanations and answer simple questions about different lenses and contacts will help keep the workflow running smoothly so they don't have to wait or ask others for answers.

Knowing The Boundaries

Going hand in hand with knowledge of product offerings is knowing when to slow down and wait for the OD to offer their advice and expertise. Your tech should know the boundaries of when patients start asking the harder questions or for recommendations on treatments that only an OD should be answering. This can be a fine line to balance and having a tech that is confident in knowing how to handle these situations and wait for the OD without crossing any boundaries is super helpful.

Customer Service Experience

Not every patient or customer in your practice is going to be a walk in the park. Most patients have problems or complaints and having a tech with customer service experience is going to ensure that your staff is responding to difficult patients appropriately.

CPOA Certification

A tech that has CPOA Certification shows that they are dedicated to their profession and have put the time into learning and improving their skill set. It shows that they are motivated in making themselves more valuable to your practice, and they are ready to make an impact on your team. Or, if you're an OD looking for ways to give your tech more responsibility while helping them grow in their career you could offer to help foot the bill for their CPOA certification. This will show that you're dedicated to their development and that you recognize the impact they have on your practice.

If you're looking for more advice on managing your practice, view our library of resources below:

View Our Resource Library

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on July 28, 2015. It has been updated for relevance and richness of content on July 19, 2021.

Back to Blog

Related Articles

As an Optical Tech These are The Uprise Features You'll Love

Your practice management and EHR system should be helpful to everyone in a practice, not just the...

Choosing the Right Optometric Billing Solution for Your Practice

At the end of the year, your practice is scrambling to fit patients into your schedule, provide...

Why Server-Based EHR Software is Holding You Back

If you're currently storing your patient information on local servers you can only access from your...