To practice as an optician in Kansas, you need to fulfill a training requirement, as well as meet licensure requirements. Training for the opticianry profession is offered by select schools in Kansas. When considering training institutions, it is best to select an approved school or college of optometry. The Kansas State Board of Examiners in Optometry regulates the practice and licensure of the profession. Preparing for opticianry practice in Kansas involves several steps, as outlined below.
In Kansas, approved training institutions are those that meet the standards established by the Kansas State Board of Examiners in Optometry. Admission into an optometry school requires completion of an undergraduate program in an accredited school. Undergraduate studies contribute to a well-rounded learning experience, with a curriculum that draws from the basic sciences, communication, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. During undergraduate studies, students preparing to join a college of optometry are required to complete certain Pre-optometry courses such as biochemistry, biosciences, microbiology, physiology, and psychology. Optometry programs are a four-year learning experience, during which students learn about advanced anatomy, contact lenses, geometric optics, ophthalmic optics, pathology, and vision science. Besides coursework, optometry programs provide opportunities to develop vital clinical and technical skills for practice. This may be accomplished through a practicum or internship.
CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS IN KANSAS
The Kansas State Board of Examiners in Optometry uses a national certification exam to validate the knowledge and competencies of those preparing to enter into practice. The National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam is used for both certification and licensure purposes. Candidates who successfully take the exam are certified as competent for practice, as they demonstrate sound understanding of applied basic sciences, patient assessment and management, and clinical skills.
KANSAS OPTICIAN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
In order to qualify for licensure in Kansas, you must show evidence of having completed an optometry program from an accredited school of optometry. Candidates for licensure are required to attain a pass score in Part I, II and III of the NBEO exam, as well as pass the TMOD section. You may check with the NBEO website for information on exam registration and other exam information. The Kansas State Board of Examiners in Optometry also requires applicants for licensure to successfully take the state law exam. Applicants who meet all the licensure requirements are issued with a two-year practicing license.
MAINTAINING PROFICIENCY THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION
Licensed dispensing opticians are required to complete 48 hours of approved continuing education during each licensure period. Continuing education courses must relate to the clinical practice of primary care optometry. Twenty-four hours must be completed during each of the two years. Out of the 24 hours, a maximum of four hours may be earned through observing ophthalmic surgery, while up to four hours may be in practice management. The board allows completion of a maximum of eight hours through courses that do not involve a live presentation.
JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
Many of Kansas’ large cities offer bright job prospects for opticians. High populations, ranging from 125,000 to 382,000 are associated with a high demand for healthcare services, including eye care. In Wichita which has a large population of about 382,000, annual salaries range between $38,000 and $49,600. Although this is slightly below the national range of $39,400 and $51,400, it does not include bonus and benefits. In Overland Park, which has a population of about 173,000, the annual salary falls between $38,700 and $50,600. With a population of about 146,000, Kansas City offers yet another ideal practicing location for opticians. The annual salary here is similar to that found in Overland Park and Olathe. In Topeka, the annual salary ranges between $36,800 and $48,000. A similar salary range is found in smaller cities such as Lawrence and Manhattan, which hold populations of between 60,000 and 90,000.