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Opticians Should Join Their State Associations to Make Connections and Protect Profession

Joining your local or state optician society presents great networking opportunities both socially and to further your career.

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(Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in ROWT Magazine, titled “Reasons To Be A Part Of Your State Optician’s Society.”)

Many states in the US require a license to work as an optician. These states also require continuing education to maintain licensure!

Some opticians across the country go it alone, relying on online sources for continuing education, product information, and job searches. Opticians in corporate settings are provided education by their employers. An alternative to these is joining your state or local optician society.

State societies provide in-person education where top-notch educators present timely topics on a variety of subjects, including new products and technologies. Many state societies also offer online courses that have been curated to be ahead of the curve, providing the necessary information to excel as an optician.

Additionally, being involved in your state or local society presents great networking opportunities both socially and to further your career. These meetings bring camaraderie among opticians. I have been a member of the New York State Society of Opticians for many years. I’ve made great relationships with fellow opticians through my NYSSO membership during this time, as a member, as a contributor on the Social Media Committee, and as a Regional Director. I love being involved in an organization that’s main mission is protecting our profession. And it’s fun to meet and network with your colleagues in other parts of the state.

Optician associations also work to educate state legislators about our place in the optical universe. Many of us feel that our profession is at risk. For instance, there is a push towards deregulation of opticianry in some licensed states. The quality of care to our customers would decrease if people without proper education are allowed to be called Opticians. Deregulation could also adversely affect the pay scale in licensed states. Getting involved in an optician society gives you a voice in what happens in your state and with your profession.

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The benefits of becoming a member of an optician association outweigh the membership dues. Membership fees are tax deductible in many states. Fees also can be negotiated into your salary, as it is a tax deduction to your employer. And what employer wouldn’t want to ensure you are properly educated to better assist their clientele – it’s a win-win!

So who’s coming with me? We are stronger together, so consider joining your state association today! The easiest way to find your state society is to go to OAA.org. The Optician’s Association of America provides national exposure for our profession and lobbies for protection of the profession. Membership in these 20 state societies includes a reciprocal membership with the OAA: Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.

You also can join the OAA if you work in a non-licensed state!

Article written by: Stacey Nutting

Find her here: LinkedIn

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