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Opticians


Licensed Opticians

Like many other health care occupations, opticians have proficiency tests that they can take to show their qualifications and competency.  Twenty-one states and Puerto Rico already require dispensing opticians to obtain a license that must be renewed in order to maintain their status. Texas has a voluntary registration for dispensing opticians to be able to legally use the titles "Registered Dispensing Optician," "Registered Spectacle Dispenser," "Registered Contact Lens Technician," or "Registered Contact Lens Dispenser". These titles do not require licensing, but do require permits for contact lens dispensing.  



Each state has its own requirements and fees for licensing which can include obtaining a degree in the field, having certain hours and experience as an apprentice, passing state written and practical exams, and/or becoming certified through examination from the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners. Some states separate working with eyeglasses and contact lenses as two different programs that require two different tests, while others have one combined for both.  Opticians should check each state’s rules and guidelines in detail to avoid mistakes before applying for licenses.

Although there are states that require licenses and some that don’t, these can all change depending on the states legislature and the Sunset Review.  States that currently require opticians to be licensed can change at any time, there is a review and states can require licenses if they deem it necessary and it's useful to the job. Opticians should keep up with current legislation regarding their field.

Why Opticians Should Have Certification

Opticians work in the health care field and help consumers make important decisions on their eye wear and ensure that the eyeglasses or contact lenses correspond to the prescription. There is a lot of trust from the consumer and knowing that optician is licensed or certified can make a huge difference. Even though many states do not require a license for opticians, many are starting to move in the direction of requiring licenses.

Opticians in these states can get certified through the ABO and NCLE which shows proficiency in the field, in which both consumers and employers will value.  It makes sense to become certified through these two organizations, as it is the only method of showing credentials and the certification is a national standard.  According to the ABO in a recent study, 75% of employers favored to hire opticians with certification, 75% paid higher starting salaries to certified employees, and 40% gave preference for promotions to ABO and NCLE certified opticians. Many job offers for opticians often note requirement of one or both of these certifications or similar ones. Read Optician Salary for more information on the pay scale.

Many licensed states use the ABO and NCLE as part of their requirements for opticians to obtain a license. This allows for easier transition for opticians in non-licensing states, who have certification to move to one state that requires a state license and ABO and NCLE certifications. Certification through these two organizations also requires continuing education in the field which keeps opticians up to date on new technology, products, techniques, and other useful information that will keep them a step ahead of other opticians and more valuable as an employee. The page Optician Continuing Education list some providers.

Optician State License Advice

For practical exams, some state licensing boards use certain instruments like the Marco Lensometer and the Bausch & Lomb Vertometer that examinees may not be used to, and many have special circumstances where examinees can request certain instruments. Be sure to check out the guide for the practical and make sure of the instruments used in testing.

States That Require Optician Licenses

Boards of Opticianry

Alaska:
Alaska State Board of Dispensing Opticians
P.O. BOX 110806
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806
Phone: (907) 465-2543
E-mail: license@commerce.state.ak.us
Website: http://www.dced.state.ak.us/OCC/pdop.htm
Testing Requirements:  ABO or NCLE certification, passing examination from Career Progression Program (CPP) sponsored by the National Academy of Opticianry (NAO) or similar approved program, Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE) or an equivalent written exam.
Fee: $50 Application Fee, $225 License Fee
License Length: $140 or $280 renewal fee depending on year, Biennial cycle, due by June 30th

Arizona:
Arizona State Board of Dispensing Opticians
1400 West Washington Room 230
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: (602) 542-3095
Fax: (602) 542-3093
Email: support@do.az.gov
Website: http://www.do.az.gov/
Testing Requirements: ABO & NCLE exams, pass state practical exam
Fee: $100 Application Fee, $100 License Fee
License Length: $135.00 renewal fee by December 31st each year

Arkansas:
Arkansas Board of Dispensing Opticians
Post Office Box 627
Helena, Arkansas 72342
Phone:(870) 572-2847
Fax: (870) 572-2847
Website: http://www.abdo.arkansas.gov/
Testing Requirements: pass state written and practical exam
Fee: $200 License Fee
License Length: $60 renewal fee by June 10th of each year

California:
California Medical Board RDO Program
2005 Evergreen Street Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95815
Phone:( 916)-263-2382
Fax: (916)-263-2567
Website: http://www.mbc.ca.gov/allied/rdo_program_rdo.html
Testing Requirements:
Fee: $75 Registration Fee
License Length:

Connecticut:
Connecticut Department of Public Health Optician Licensure
410 Capitol Ave., MS#12 APP
P.O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134
Phone: (860) 509-7603
Fax: (860) 509-8457
Email: oplc.dph@ct.gov
Website: http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3121&q=427586
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the National Contact Lens Examination, Connecticut State Board Practical Examination and Jurisprudence Examination
Fee: $100 License Fee
License Length: $100.00 renewal fee annually

Florida:
Florida Board of Opticianry
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin #C08
Tallahassee, FL  32399-3258
Phone: (850) 245-4474
Fax: (850) 412-2707
Email: MQA_Opticianry@doh.state.fl.us
Website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/opticianry/index.html
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, Florida opticianry licensure examination
Fee: $100.00 Application Fee, $750.00 Examination Fee, $155.00 Initial License Fee
License Length: $305 renewal fee Biennial

Georgia:
Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217-3858
Phone: (478) 207-2440
Website: http://sos.georgia.gov/plb/opticians/
Testing Requirements: ABO & NCLE Certificates, Georgia Practical Examination
Fee: $50.00 Application Fee, $65.00 Examination Fee
License Length: $65 renewal fee Biennial cycle

Hawaii:
Hawaii Board of Dispensing Opticians
P.O. Box 3469
Honolulu, HI 96801
Phone: (808) 586-3000
Email: optician@dcca.hawaii.gov
Website: http://hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/pvl/programs/dispensingoptician/
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, Florida opticianry licensure examination
Fee: $20.00 Application Fee,  $20.00 License Fee, $35.00 Compliance Resolution Fund fee or $70.00 Compliance Resolution Fund fee + $50.00 fee for the second year of the two-year period (depending on year)
License Length: Biennial cycle, June 30 every even numbered year

Kentucky:
Kentucky Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers
P.O. Box 1360
Frankfort, KY 40602
Phone: (502) 564-3296
Email: Carla.claypool@ky.gov
Website: http://bod.ky.gov/
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, Kentucky state practical examination
Fee: $50.00 Application Fee
License Length: $50 renewal fee Annually by December 31

Massachusetts:
Massachusetts Board of Registration of Dispensing Opticians
239 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 727-5339
Fax: (617) 727- 1627
Email: zane.b.skerry@state.ma.us
Website: http://www.mass.gov/dpl/boards/do/index.htm
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, Massachusetts state practical examination
Fee: $32.00 Application and License Fee, $32 wall certificate
License Length: $82.00 Biennial by birthday of odd year

Nevada:
Nevada State Board of Dispensing Opticians
P.O. Box 19625
Reno, NV  89511
Phone: (775) 853-1421
Fax: (775) 853-1408
Email: nvbdo@govmail.state.nv.us
Website: http://nvbdo.state.nv.us/
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, Nevada state examination
Fee: $350.00 Examination Fee and initial License Fee
License Length: $300.00 Annually

New Jersey:
New Jersey Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers
P.O. Box 45011
Newark, NJ 07101
Phone: (973) 504-6435
Email: askconsumeraffairs@lps.state.nj.us
Website: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/ophth/
Testing Requirements: New Jersey state examination
Fee: $100.00 Application Fee, $300 Examination Fee, $420 initial License Fee of first year or $210 for second year
License Length: $420 renewal fee Biennial cycle

New York:
New York State Board for Ophthalmic Dispensing
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234-1000
Phone: (518)-474-3817
Fax: (518)-402-5944
Email: odbd@mail.nysed.gov
Website: http://www.op.nysed.gov/od.htm
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, New York State Basic Ophthalmic Dispensing practical examination, New York State Contact Lens Practical Certification Examination
Fee: $100 licensure and registration fee
License Length: $50 renewal fee Triennial cycle

North Carolina:
North Carolina State Board of Opticians
P.O. Box 25336
Raleigh, NC 27611
Phone: (919) 733-9321
Testing Requirements: North Carolina Written Examination
Fee: $200.00 examination fee, $50 initial license fee
License Length: $100 renewal fee Annually

Ohio:
Ohio Optical Dispensers Board
77 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614)-466-9709
Fax: (614)-995-5392
Email: odb@odb.ohio.gov
Website: http://optical.ohio.gov/
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and the NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination within one year of passing
Fee: $50 application fee or less depending on month sent
License Length: $97.50 renewal fee Annually

Rhode Island:
Rhode Island Board of Opticianry
3 Capitol Hill, Room 104
Providence, RI 02908-5097
Phone: (401)-222-2828
Fax: (401)- 222-1272
Website: http://www.health.ri.gov/hsr/professions/optic.php
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination, Practical exam
Fee: $70 application fee
License Length: $90.00 renewal fee Biennial Cycle

South Carolina:
South Carolina Board of Examiners in Opticianry
PO Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211-1329
Phone: (803) 896-4665
Fax: (803) 896-4719
Email: combsa@llr.sc.gov
Website: http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Opticians/
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination, NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, South Carolina Practical Opticianry Examination
Fee: $150 Application and Examination Fee, $25 certificate fee each for both optician and contact lenses
License Length: $230.00 renewal fee Biennial Cycle

Tennessee:
Tennessee State Board of Dispensing Opticians
227 French Landing, Suite 300
Nashville, TN  37243
Phone: (615)-532-3202
Website: http://health.state.tn.us/boards/DO/
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination, NCLE Contact Lens Registry Examination, Tennessee Dispensing Optician Examination, Tennessee Jurisprudence Examination
Fee: $230 Application
License Length: $200.00 renewal fee Biennial Cycle

Vermont:
Vermont Board of Opticians
Redstone Building, 26 Terrace Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05609-1101
Phone: (802)-828-2837
Fax: (802)-828-2465
Email: pskinner@sec.state.vt.us
Website: http://vtprofessionals.org/opr1/opticians/
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination
Fee: $70 Application Fee
License Length: $200.00 renewal fee Biennial Cycle

Virginia:
Virginia Board for Opticians
9960 Mayland Drive  Suite 400
Richmond, Virginia 23233-1463
Phone: (804)-367-8509
Fax: (804)- 367-2474
Email: Opticians@dpor.virginia.gov
Website: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/dporweb/opt_main.cfm
Testing Requirements: ABO National Opticianry Competency Examination and Virginia Practical exam or Virginia written and practical exam, must take NCLE test and Virginia practical for contact lens endorsement
Fee: $300 for initial Application Fee, Virginia written and practical exam or $125 for initial Application Fee and Virginia practical exam, same for contact lens endorsement
License Length: $125.00 renewal fee Biennial Cycle

Washington State:
Washington State Dispensing Optician Board
300 SE Quince St.
P.O. Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7870
Phone: (360)-236-4700
Website: http://www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/Professions/Dispensing_Optician/default.htm
Testing Requirements: Washington State written and practical exam
Fee: $200 Examination Fee
License Length: $100.00 renewal fee Biennial Cycle

Puerto Rico:
Office of Regulations and Licensing
P.O. Box 10200
San Juan, PR 00908
Phone:( 787)-725-8161
Fax: (787)-725-7903

 
 

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