Steps to Become an Optician in Louisiana
Opticians in Louisiana are recognized within the practice of optometry, which involves various primary eye care procedures. This includes the sale and dispensing of a wide range of eye glasses and contact lenses. The Louisiana State Board of Optometry Examiners regulates the practice of optometry within the state. All applicants for licensure are required to meet minimum training requirements, and must also fulfill licensing requirements. Outlined below are key steps to help you in preparing for practice in Louisiana.
Louisiana Optician Education Requirements
Optometry educational programs are offered by a few schools in Louisiana. As a prerequisite to admission, optometry schools require completion of a four-year undergraduate degree. The undergraduate curriculum includes subjects from the basic sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and humanities. Most students elect to major in biology or chemistry. Undergraduate programs aim to ensure a well-rounded learning experience for students preparing to join optometry school. The training in schools of optometry focuses on various topics in primary eye care. Areas covered by the curriculum include biology, chemistry, contact lenses, general anatomy, pathology, ocular diagnostics, optometrical mechanics, primary eye care procedures, and vision therapy. It is important to select an optometry program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. Students who meet all course requirements are issued with the Doctor of Optometry degree.
Optician Certification Requirements
Opticians in Louisiana are certified by taking the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam. The certification exam is used to assess candidates’ knowledge of physiology of the eye, eye diseases and treatment of diseases. Students are also assessed on clinical skills, to ensure that they hold the basic competencies in providing efficient and safe patient care.
State Licensing Requirements
Applicants for licensure are required to have completed high school education in an approved school. You must also have graduated from an approved school of optometry. The Louisiana State Board of Optometry Examiners uses the NBEO exam for licensing purposes. Candidates are required to achieve a minimum pass score in Parts I, II and III, as well as pass the TMOD section and injection test. The board administers the exam once a year. Candidates who fail to achieve the minimum pass score can apply to retake the exam after six months. Applicants for licensure are also required to take a board-administered clinical-practicum exam. Successful applicants are issued with a one-year practicing license, which must be renewed by March 1st each year.
Optician Salary and Potential Pay
The high population in many of Louisiana’s large cities is associated with a high demand for healthcare service, including eye care. In New Orleans, which holds a population of about 344,000, optician salaries exceed the national average of between $39,419 and $51,449. Most opticians in New Orleans earn between $39,600 and $51,800. In Baton Rouge, which holds a population of about 230,000, most opticians earn between $34,200 and $44,700. The annual salary for opticians in Shreveport, with a population of about 200,000, ranges between $36,200 and $47,300 annually. Some of the highest earnings in the state are found in Metairie, which holds a population of close to 140,000. The annual salary for the profession here ranges between $39,600 and $51,800, while in Lafayette, with a population of about 120,000, the annual salary ranges between $33,000 and $43,000. In smaller cities that hold a population of between 60,000 and 70,000, the salary range compares well with that found in major cities within the state. In Bossier City, the annual salary ranges between $36,200 and $47,300, in Lake Charles, most opticians earn between $35,800 and $46,700, while in Kenner, annual salaries fall between $39,600 and $51,800.
Maintaining Proficiency Through Continuing Education
Dispensing opticians are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education each year. All continuing education courses must relate to current visual and healthcare practices. A minimum of ten hours of continuing education must be completed in a classroom setting. The board maintains a list of approved providers for continuing education.