Steps to Become an Optician in Idaho
In Idaho, opticianry is recognized within the field of optometry. The Idaho Board of Optometry governs the practice of the field. According to the board, opticianry involves filling prescriptions for ophthalmic lenses, contact lenses and other vision care devices, issued by a licensed eye care health professional. However, in Idaho, opticianry does not include prescriptive authority. Preparing for opticianry practice in Idaho requires completion of an optometry educational program, as well as taking a certification exam. This also prepares you to seek licensure. Below are the steps you need to take in order to practice as an optician in Idaho.
Optician Education Requirements
A few universities in Idaho offer optometry training programs, which focus on human vision care. In order to be considered for admission into an optometry school, you must have completed a pre-optometry program. This usually involves completion of a four-year undergraduate program. Courses covered in pre-optometry programs may include anatomy and physiology, biology, calculus, chemistry, composition, microbiology, physics, and psychology. It is a good idea to major in the natural sciences as this allows you to take most of the science courses required for optometry school. Applicants to optometry schools are required to take the Optometry Admission Test. The curriculum in optometry programs comprises classwork, clinical studies and laboratory sessions. Coursework includes anatomy and physiology, optic theory, diagnostic techniques, contact lenses, and vision health care. Programs also integrate a clinical practicum in a practice setting, which allows students to develop practical skills in patient care and use of vision care instrumentation. Educational programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.
Idaho Optician Certification Requirements
The certification process for opticians in Idaho involves taking the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam. To earn certification, you must attain the minimum pass score established by the board in Parts I, II and III of the exam, as well as the TMOD section. You may want to check with the NBEO website for specific details on exam content, exam schedule and test centers.
State Licensing Requirements
To apply for licensure in Idaho, you must have successfully completed an optometry education program in an accredited school. The Idaho Board of Optometry also requires applicants for licensure to take Parts I, II and III of the NBEO exam. Applicants must also take the TMOD section. In addition, the board requires you to take the state jurisprudence exam, which is an open-book exam. Candidates must attain a minimum pass score of 75 percent in the jurisprudence exam.
Maintaining Proficiency Through Continuing Education
A practicing license remains valid for one year. In order to renew your license, you are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of board-approved continuing education. The Idaho Board of Optometry maintains a list of approved continuing education providers.
Idaho Optician Salary and Potential Pay
A fairly high annual salary range is found in Boise, which is the capital city of Idaho. In Boise, most opticians earn between $38,000 and $49,600. A similar salary range is found in Meridian and Nampa, which hold populations of between 70,000 and 80,000. Caldwell, which holds a much smaller population of about 46,000, also reflects a similar annual salary range. One of the highest annual salary ranges for Idaho cities is found in Coeur d’Alene, which has a population of about 44,000. Here, the annual salary range falls between $38,900 and $50,800. In Idaho Falls, a lower salary range is evident. Most opticians in Idaho Falls earn between $36,800 and $48,100, while Pocatello reflects an even lower annual salary range of between $33,400 and $43,600.