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78% of You Think the Profession of Opticianry Should Have Some Sort of Licensing

But there’s no consensus on what the common standard should be and whether the nation or states should regulate it.

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Yes: 78%

  • What we do as opticians is professional. And professions should be licensed to maintain a standard level of competence and excellence. — Todd Lapointe, VIP EYES, Portland, ME
  • I don’t think all of the states will ever agree on this, but I do think there should be a national standard when it comes to opticianry. Opticians help create eyewear by being competent, knowledgeable and by offering appropriate products per patients lifestyle, prescription, and desires. —   Heather Harrington, Elevated Eyecare, Denver, CO
  • National standard seems like the best way to do it since we should be regulated the same across the nation. —   Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO
  • I believe national and state credentialing should be the norm for our profession. I don’t just sell eyeglasses I help educate a patient on the importance of their eyewear. I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a patient to invest in a lens treatment and really having no clue what I’m talking about…thanks to my certifications and professional licensing requirement I am confident I’ve fit and recommended the appropriate treatments based on a patients RX. —   William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • Absolutely! I am proud of our profession and I want to be able to have something to show for it. There should be standards for training and testing so everyone is trained in the same way. National licensure would be a good idea to ensure that all opticians are all on the same page. —   Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH
  • Opticianry should have a national standard. This would make it easier for opticians to go from state to state. A standard would also help the states that do not require licensure to become a licensing state. We need to protect our craft. I live in an unlicensed state and see how the field is unqualified in a lot of ways. I feel inadequate when talking with a licensed colleague. I have not had any formal training and only one day of instruction on how to be an optician but have studied on my own, have my ABOC, and am working on my ABOA. But there are many times I feel like I am missing something, or there is a different or better way to do it. Having a national standard would also make it easier and compelling to start a school in my state. —   Nichole Montavon, Oskaloosa Vision Center, Oskaloosa, LA
  • I live in Florida and we are a license state we all should be created equal and everyone should have to be licensed I think it’s a great idea and it gives the customers confidence on your background and skills. —   Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • For proper eyewear many things need to be considered. In order to be a great optician, education and training are essential. National licensure would be best. —   Kimberly Theis, Powell Vision Center, Powell, OH
  • Our state licensing has a high standard. If it takes a national licensing to make the profession have higher standards I’m all for that as well. —   Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • Lens are medical devices. The people making them should have a certain level of education. When issues arise with the glasses they have the tools to trouble shoot the problem. —   Susan Holt, Coastal North Vision Care, Myrtle Beach, SC
  • State licensure should suffice. —   Denise Robertson, Washington State University Vision Clinic, Pullman, WA
  • I believe a national standard that’s similar to the ABOA would help get our profession the recognition it deserves. Something that teaches us the optics side but also teaches the basics of frame making and designing so we have a better overall feel for what being an optician means. —   Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • A national standard insures the same level of professionalism across the country. With state licenses there is the question of its acceptance from one state to another. In the event a person moves to another state, they may be required to gain their certification through additional testing and licensing procedures. —   Pam Housley, Texas State Optical of Nederland, Port Arthur, TX
  • So that continuing ed would be mandatory to stay up with all the areas they think they are qualified to be getting involved in. —   Ken Weiner, OD, Livingston, NJ
  • By being a licensed profession will give a better opportunity with pay and advancement. It should be a national standard with guidelines to be followed no matter what state you are working in. A state license with continuing education and renewal. —   Danielle Doniver, Heritage Optical, Detroit, MI
  • Proof of some level of competency, otherwise it’ll all go online. Yes, national standards will work, but that’s not likely. Just look at ODs, no reciprocity even till this day. —   Minh Ta, Specs Appeal, Decatur, GA
  • It keep a standard of professionalism and brings value to an undervalued career. —   Bethany Cassar, Complete Eye Health, Holland, MI
  • I have seen too many folks in the optical profession who should never be there. For instance, I witnessed a gentleman in his late 70s, a retired mortician and a greeter at Walmart, put in the optical department as an optician that didn’t know anything about being an optician. I felt sorry for him because he was a fish out of water. He was trying, but he couldn’t do it. —   Martha Davenport, Safe Vision, Wheatfield, IN
  • I do believe that there should be a national standard, there is a national standard for all sorts of medical professions, why should this one be any different? I also believe that if there was a stronger national standard that online vendors would have a harder time being successful. The lack of standards creates a loophole for them. —   Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • From a training perspective it would be nice to have new opticians come into the office with a base of knowledge, even if it were just a semester. Each office is different so there would still need to be training, but if there were already general skills for adjustments and repairs, frame selection, lensometry, etc., it would be very helpful. I think a national standard would be nice, since now things seem to vary a lot by state. —   Elizabeth Knaus, A to Z Eye Care, Arcata, CA
  • I live in Mississippi which is a non-license state. There is no standard here which makes my ABOC less valuable both monetarily and through the public’s eye. I think both a national standard and a state licensure could benefit the profession by increasing awareness of what we do, creating a divide between those who want to excel in this field and those who don’t, and getting people together through things like continuing education, so we can bounce ideas around and learn from each other. —   Kirk Lee, Eye Care Associates, Ellisville, MS
  • I guess I’m not concerned if there is state or national requirements, just that there is some type of licensing. I think some basic standard knowledge for the profession is an excellent idea. Think about what it would do for the online ordering sector if you needed to have professional measurements taken to complete your order. And the idea that opticians are not just “selling” you something, but actually making recommendations based on your prescription and the daily needs of your eyes. —   Kim Hilgers, Monson Eyecare Center, Owatonna, MN
  • I think it’s important for an optician to take continuing education to maintain a license, be on top of new technologies and products which they may not do unless its required through a licensing board. I do think state licensure is sufficient. —   Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • Opticians are important for the proper fit and design of frames for patients, proper lens recommendations to accommodate the eye doctor’s prescription, ensuring it is made properly and within standards, and to dispense and maintain the patient’s eyeglasses. State licensing is adequate for protection of the consumer. —   Robert M. Easton Jr, OD, FAAO, Oakland Park, FL
  • I have seen eyeglasses that came from unlicensed places and they were terrible. —   Gene Folgo, Strand Optical, Cranston, RI
  • State licensure should suffice. —   Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT
  • There should be at least a national standard. Opticians need to be recognized and employers need to appreciate them. All too often employers don’t pay the optician what they are worth. —   Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • Yes, more confident competent employees. —   Ivy Frederick, OD, New Castle, PA
  • National standard so you can practice anywhere. —   Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • I believe state licensure and national standard would increase the validity of opticianry. Certified/state license opticians are so much more than frame stylists. —   Ron Catterson, Clear View Optix, The Villages, FL
  • I think that currently the certifications offered by the ABO, NCLE, and other bodies are a good starting points at the national level, yet every state has the right to license their professionals as they see fit, for the protection of the public. —   Pablo E. Mercado, Optima Eye Care, Alpharetta, GA
  • National standard so that the industry has reciprocity. —   Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK
  • I think state licensure is enough. —   Pam Neagle, Austin Eyeworks, Austin, TX
  • I think it is important that opticians know what they are doing and be tested in it. National standard is fine because once you go to the state, everyone has a hand out looking for money from you. —   Tammy Warmouth, Main Optical, Luzerne, PA
  • Yes, to maintain a minimum standard of quality eyewear for our public. I believe having optically correct and quality eyewear is as important, or more important, than pet grooming and hairstyling, which are both licensed professions. I think state licensure is adequate. —   Dianna Finisecy, Wagner Opticians, Washington, DC
  • State licensure should suffice. We have been a licensed state since 1951. I have been licensed since 1991. Yes, people can be trained to do this job, but if they take away licensure no one is going to take the time to train someone correctly and I just can’t imagine that scenario. —   Stephanie Crowley, Sie Eyecare, Charlotte, NC
  • It’s medicine, it should be licensed. —   Sabina Krasnov, i2ioptique, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensure does not guarantee that patient’s rights are respected, but it’s the closest thing we have to ensuring that the optician has been vetted. —   Vlad Cordero, Focus Eye Care PC, Hackensack, NJ
  • There should be a national standard. It’s an important job and some offices have little training for their optical staff so I feel there should be a standard for all opticians. —   Kimberly Riggs OD, Ligonier, PA
  • I don’t have a problem with opticians refracting. Otherwise, I don’t think they need a license. —   David Momnie, OD, Chicopee Eyecare, Chicopee, MA
  • Without licensure, opticians lose credibility. —   Dennis Iadarola, OD, Center for Vision Care, Monroe, CT
  • State licensing would ensure competency, regulate the industry and get rid of the riff-raff. —   Annette Prevaux, The Visionary, Allen Park, MI
  • We as an industry should have licensed professionals taking care of our vision needs due to all the errors that could occur from unlicensed individuals. —   Chris Clark, Advanced Eye Care, Panama City, FL
  • There is a lot of knowledge needed to be an optician and if you don’t need a license then our offices would be inundated with problem glasses issues which I would not look forward to. —   Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • There needs to be standards that can be taught just like my profession has some standardization. If not licensed, then it would be a step backwards, and with no regulation, patients will be hurt. —   Kenneth Weiner, OD, Livingston, NJ
  • A national standard would put all opticians on an equal playing field. The knowledge and skills expected would be nationwide. On a personal note, in California only opticians who work for an optical location can be licensed. Those of us working for ophthalmologists, optometrists, and medical groups cannot be licensed. We can of course be ABO certified. I have been an optician for 35+ years, working for a doctor for 32 years, have a Bachelor’s degree, and am ABO certified. I had the unfortunate experience of speaking to a representative of a national opticians’ association at VEW 2019. He stated, unequivocally, “How can you possibly call yourself an optician if you don’t have a license?” We were talking about setting a national standard at the time. —   Dawn Christman Munoz, North Valley Eye Medical Group, Mission Hills, CA
  • In Canada, we are all required to be licensed. It is important to be trained and tested for competency before dealing with a client’s eyes and vision. —   Sarah Bureau, sbspecs, St. Catharines, ON , Canada
  • Better pay, better training. —   Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, OD, Pekin, IL

No: 22%

  • Self-regulating national boards like the ABO are sufficient. If a state wants to create a redundant certification that’s on them. A federal government standard isn’t necessary. —   Kevin Bushouse, Rx Optical, Kalamazoo, MI
  • For CL fitting opticians, yes licensure. For all others, no need. —   Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL
  • Certified but not licensed. —   Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • Anyone can order glasses at any time from overseas companies that direct ship to the patient without the inspection of a “licensed” individual. Why should the businesses that sell and dispense glasses (in those states that are required to have license opticians) held to a higher standard? —   Mark Perry, OD, Vision Health Institute, Orlando, FL
  • Opticianry should stay how it is, certification optional. With modern advances in technology, anyone can be an optician with a few months of training and experience, and we find our best opticians come from outside the industry (think: previous salespersons and coffee shop managers). Because certification isn’t required, opticianry is one of those increasingly rare fields where someone with no degrees and no money can come in, learn a trade, and end up in a well-paying and fulfilling career. Amazing customer service is mandatory to be a great optician; a solid understanding of physics, lens edgers, and math equations, not so much. If folks can handle all that, they should absolutely get certified and embrace the higher pay that comes with it! —   Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • I am a kick butt optician with 20+ years and tons of knowledge but do not test well! Tests make me freeze. —   Gayle Bergthold, Bee Cave Vision Center, Bee Cave, TX
  • No. I’m not licensed and I work with someone who is. He has double the experience, yet has brought no new tricks or knowledge to the table and patients feel less comfortable with him because he comes across apprehensive and unsure. I am requested much more often by patients for the confidence, fun and expertise I hold, not the letters behind my name. If your patients trust you, the certification/letters are unnecessary. —   Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • I think all eyewear sellers should have to live by the same rules. If Warby can sell glasses and mail without licensed dispense we shouldn’t be any different. —   Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • I DO think there should be some kind of educational certificate requirement, not necessarily a regulated trade. As an employer I would not appreciate or be able to afford the increased wages that would be caused by regulation. But I also wish I could find employees who have a vested interest in our trade and that is almost impossible without some accountability to the profession. —   Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • On the job training is just as valuable as going to classes. Plus, it’s a pain in the butt to have someone on the premises, with a license, just to dispense glasses all the time. —   Deanna Phillips, Clemmons Family Eye Care, Clemmons, NC
  • I think an ABO certification means a lot. There is a lot of knowledge needed to pass that test. I think licensing would discourage a lot of great people from coming into the profession, like me! I fell into the job, like a lot of people I know, and I think major requirements would have dissuaded me. —   Jenna Gilbertson, McCulley Optix Gallery, Fargo, ND
  • I’ve worked the majority of my time in practice with excellent unlicensed opticians. Often they learned by having a good mentor over time in the profession. Licensure just stands as an obstacle to their career because it is costly both financially and time-wise to obtain and maintain. —   Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, Tarrytown and White Plains, NY
  • I live in Indiana, a state that does not require a license. I have worked in private practice optometry for over 21 years now. In fact, even though it continues to be a goal of mine, I don’t even have my ABOC. I always find it so disappointing to read the posts in social media groups that should be encouraging our profession be so nasty towards someone because they are not licensed nor taken “the test.” I’ve done this since 1998. I have patients that have followed me to three different offices during that time. I still find myself learning new things every year and I don’t think a license would define my career more. —   Renee Berry, Nappanee Family Eyecare, Nappanee, IN
  • If it was the same across the country and there were good schools to train, then I would say yes, but currently, I can barely find good ways to train my staff. —   Kristina Jordan, OD, The Eye Site, Mishawaka, IN
  • My answer is actually maybe. There are too many variables. In Ohio, for example, there just needs to be a licensed optician on staff, or during working hours. If all opticians were required to be licensed the industry couldn’t afford to pay them. And, let’s face it, just because you have a license doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. I’ve worked with enough licensed opticians who didn’t know their ass from a spring hinge screw. —   Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA

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