How I Went from Corporate Opticianry to Private Practice 

Making the switch to independent practice provides a better work-life balance, closer relationships with patients, and more opportunity for career growth.
Photo Credit: Bill Oxford, Getty Images

My journey in the optical industry began in 2012 at LensCrafters as a seasonal greeter while I was in college. This first role in the optical world piqued my interest to see where else it could take me, leading me to future roles as a frame stylist and a sales supervisor. 

My journey to becoming an optician was significantly influenced by my former general manager. She recognized my potential and guided me towards this fulfilling profession, suggesting I consider a role in the optical department and explaining how rewarding it could be to help individuals see better and improve their quality of life. She took the time to walk me through the various aspects of the job, from patient interaction to the technical skills required for fitting and repairing glasses. 

Over time, I transitioned to Luxottica’s luxury department, Ilori, where I decided to shift my career focus from early childhood education to Ophthalmic Dispensing, earning my degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing from Essex County College. 

Making the Switch
After 12 years in a variety of corporate positions, I wanted to challenge myself and fully utilize my skills by working more closely with optical lines. While I held a managerial position in the corporate world, it was hard for my voice to be heard and to feel like I was making real, lasting changes with patients. I had gotten to a place in my career where I wanted to see if there was something else out there that didn’t involve the understaffed, high-pressure environment of the corporate world. I was looking for a workplace where I’d be able to grow, collaborate with others, overcome challenges as a team, and make a positive impact on the community. 

Not to my surprise, private practice is an entirely different world. In January 2024, I made the jump from corporate opticianry to private practice opticianry. Since making the shift, I feel more confident than ever that it was the right decision for me. The smaller setting of independent practice allows me to focus on all of my favorite parts of opticianry: seeing someone’s face light up when they put on their new glasses and realize how clearly they can see, selecting new frame collections and learning the stories behind each design, and surprising customers by fixing glasses, bringing them back to life when they thought they were beyond repair.

The Benefits of Private Practice
In an independent practice, I’ve found a better work-life balance, including having weekends off, which wasn’t the case in my corporate role. There is also more time between patient care tasks, allowing for more focused and personalized service. In private practice, there’s also greater transparency and involvement in business decisions, from frame selections to promotions. This has made me feel that my contributions are valued. 

Additionally, working directly with brands and tailoring our offerings to our specific clientele is a significant benefit. Serving as an optician in a private practice also offers you direct partnership with each brand, and you can form close relationships with their representatives, who are always readily available for support. 

The private practice setting has been both fulfilling and inspiring for me as an optician. Working this way has given me the opportunity to go above and beyond for my customers, whether it’s personally delivering a pair of glasses or taking extra time to just listen. My customers’ questions and needs drive me to find solutions and continually improve my skills.    

Be Open to Career Growth
While I’ve found my fit in private practice, I still have many goals for my future as an optician. I’m working to get licensed in Connecticut soon, and I want to continue learning new skills, such as edging and designing lenses. Ultimately, I aspire to create my own eyewear line, drawing from my growing knowledge of different materials and techniques.  

I’d encourage anyone considering a career in opticianry, whether in a corporate or private setting, to talk to as many people in the industry as possible. The optical industry can be challenging but rewarding.  Start somewhere and learn the trade. The time you invest in understanding the products and their functions will pay off, and putting in the necessary effort can open countless doors. 

  • Jessica Batista, ABOC

    Jess Batista, ABOC, is a certified optician who brings over a decade of experience in the world of optical. Her wealth of knowledge ensures that every pair of glasses not only enhances patients' vision, but reflects their unique style. From classic designs to modern trends, Jess’s discerning eye and attention to detail make her a trusted guide in the realm of eyewear. When she's not crafting the perfect frames, Jess enjoys the simple pleasures of life and celebrating the beauty of clear vision.

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