In order to practice as an optician in the State of Kentucky, you need to be granted with an ophthalmic dispensing license. The Kentucky Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers administers and enforces statutes that govern opticianry practice. Two avenues are provided by the board, for training for the profession. You may either complete a formal education program in an accredited school of optometry, or you may complete an apprenticeship. The guidelines below will help you to prepare for practice as an optician in Kentucky.
Training for opticianry practice in Kentucky may be accomplished by enrolling in an optometry educational program, or completing a formal apprenticeship. Schools offering optometry programs in Kentucky require applicants to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. The curriculum of optometry schools covers various areas of vision science and eye care, including anatomy and physiology of the eye, optics theory, geometric optics, ophthalmic theory, and maintenance of contact lenses. Programs also allow students to build vital clinical skills and practical knowledge through laboratory sessions, clinical studies and technical work. If you wish to train for the profession through an apprenticeship, your training must be supervised by a licensed ophthalmic dispenser, optometrist or physician. In order to encourage highly skilled and well qualified opticians, the board has set a limit of no more than two apprentices in each training facility. The Kentucky Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers issues apprenticeship licenses for one year. Apprentice licenses can be renewed, subject to completion of four hours of continuing education credits during the year of apprentice.
KENTUCKY OPTICIAN CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
Certification in Kentucky is achieved through the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) certification exams. Not only do the ABO-NCLE certifications give you public recognition, they also increase your employment opportunities and earning power, as well as promoting quality in eye care services. Candidates who successfully take the ABO-NCLE certification exams earn nationally recognized credentials that help to enhance career progression. You may want to check with the ABO-NCLE website for detailed information on certifications and exam registration.
STATE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
The Kentucky Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers has a training requirement for applicants for licensure. You may either have graduated from an accredited school of ophthalmic dispensing, or you may have completed two years of apprenticeship training. Applicants for licensure must also take and pass the Kentucky State practical exam. The Kentucky Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers uses the National Practical Optician’s Examination to meet the practical exam requirement. It is a board requirement that you earn your ABO-NCLE credentials before taking the state practical exam. A license to practice as an ophthalmic dispenser in Kentucky remains active for one year, and expires on December 31st each year.
MAINTAINING PROFICIENCY THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION
Licensed dispensing opticians are required to complete six hours of continuing education every year. Opticians who are issued with licenses after August 1st are exempted from the continuing education requirement for the first year renewal. Courses for continuing education must be approved by the board. The board maintains a list of approved providers for continuing education.
JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
Many of Kentucky’s large cities hold a population in the range of 200,000 to 300,000. With populations as high as these, the demand for healthcare services also increases. Large cities in Kentucky offer the best job prospects for opticians due to the high demand for eye care services. The annual salary for the profession in Lexington ranges between $37,100 and $48,400. In Louisville, the annual salary falls between $37,700 and $49,200. This salary range is found in smaller cities such as Bowling Green, which has a population of about 58,000. Other smaller cities with a population of between 40,000 and 60,000 reflect a similar salary range, such as Owensboro, where the annual salary falls between $37,400 and $48,900, and Covington, with a salary range of between $38,400 and $50,200.