Practicing as an optician in New York is a rewarding professional experience. As one of the highest paying areas for opticians in the US, New York is the perfect choice for a career in opticianry. To be licensed as an optician in New York, you must meet education, examination and experience requirements. As a licensed ophthalmic dispenser in New York, you are permitted to dispense eyeglasses. However, in order to dispense contact lenses, you require additional certification. The preparation involved in applying for licensure, which allows you to practice as an optician in New York, is outlined below.
Both preprofessional and professional education requirements must be met in order to be granted a license in ophthalmic dispensing in New York. The preprofessional education requirement stipulates holding of a high school diploma or equivalent. You should also have completed one year of math education, whether algebra or geometry. General or business math does not count in meeting the math requirement. Two options are offered in meeting the professional education requirement. In both cases, training programs must be approved by the New York State Department of Education. The first option allows completion of a two-year educational program in ophthalmic dispensing. Programs must be accredited by a national accrediting agency. The second option allows completion of a two-year ophthalmic dispensing training program with a licensed ophthalmic dispenser, optometrist or physician. Upon completion of such training, you must obtain a certificate. Additionally, a certificate attesting to completion of training is required from the National Academy of Opticianry’s Career Progression Program.
Certification for opticians in New York is enforced by the Ophthalmic Dispensing Unit of the New York State Education Department. Opticians preparing to enter practice are required to take a written exam, as well as a practical exam. Besides undergoing the state’s certification procedures, you may want to consider earning nationally recognized certifications awarded by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). The ABO-NCLE certifications will help to enhance your career prospects.
NEW YORK OPTICIAN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
The Ophthalmic Dispensing Unit of the New York State Education Department requires applicants for licensure to take both a written and practical exam. The written exam may be administered by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO), or the Ophthalmic Dispensing Unit may administer its own exam. The ABO exam is offered in May and November, each year. You can only apply to take the practical exam after attaining a pass score in the written exam. The Ophthalmic Dispensing Unit liaises with Capitol Hill Testing Service (CHTS) in administering of the practical exam. This exam is offered twice a year on dates determined by CHTS. Once granted a license, it has to be renewed every three years.
MAINTAINING PROFICIENCY THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION
As a licensed optician in New York, you must meet continuing education requirements during each three-year period of practice. For ophthalmic dispensers, 0.5 hours of approved courses must be completed each month of their registration. This amounts to 18 contact hours of continuing education in a three-year period. Out of these hours, a maximum of three hours is permitted to studies on the dispensing and fitting of contact lenses. Those certified as contact lens practitioners must complete 20 contact hours of continuing education during the three-year registration period. Ten of these hours must relate to dispensing and fitting of contact lenses. The New York State Education Department maintains a list of approved providers of continuing education.
JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
Opticians in New York enjoy some of the brightest job prospects across the nation. In New York, the demand for eye care is not only limited to healthcare needs. As the nation’s fashion capital, wearing eyeglasses is one of the hottest trends in New York. Opticians who hold an associate’s degree and national certifications can look forward to a rewarding career in New York. For those who work with established companies and hold several years of professional experience, the job outlook is even brighter. Many of the major cities have a population exceeding 200,000, while New York, the capital, has a population of about 8.5 million. In New York, the median annual salary is about $51,000, with many opticians earning an annual salary of between $47,000 and $61,000. The median annual salary in Buffalo is about $41,000, $42,000 in Rochester, $50,000 in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Yonkers, and $40,000 in Syracuse.