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Optical mechanic

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Summary of occupation

Optical mechanics make precision optical parts, grind, polish and surface prescription lenses and contact lenses, and fit lenses to spectacle frames.

Optical mechanics may specialise as optical dispensers.

Highly skilled and experienced optical mechanics make, repair and service binoculars, telescopes and other scientific optical equipment. 

ANZSCO description: Operates machines to grind, polish and surface optical lenses to meet prescription requirements, and fits lenses to spectacle frames.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Optical mechanics should:

  • have good communication skills
  • have sales ability
  • have technical ability
  • have good hand-eye coordination and eyesight
  • have an aptitude for mathematics and physics
  • enjoy helping people
  • have patience, attention to detail and accuracy
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Working conditions

Optical mechanics are employed by optical dispensing firms, optometrists or optical laboratories. They may operate their own dispensing businesses. Shifts in fashion can influence demand for optical mechanics.  

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Salary details

On average, optical mechanics, classified under other miscellaneous technicians and trade workers, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.  

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Tools and technologies

Tools include:

  • Screw and locknuts
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Specialist Frame Repairer
  • Tweezers
  • Hand Drill
  • Files and Reamers
  • Soldering Tools
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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an optical mechanic you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. The optical mechanic/technician apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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