I did both school and apprentice work. When I felt comfortable, I moved to Optical full time. I agree that the cost is a factor but if you can find the right person to train with, you will do well. So I have a Certificate (30 hours classes) and have also taken the ABO exam. My problem now is that I want further certification with the Advanced ABO and my employer is reluctant to reimburse me for the test and I'm not sure if I will receive a raise for this hard work. You need to find an employer who will back you on the education.