The Texas Optometry Board issues licenses to different categories of optometrists and eye care providers, including opticians. As a dispensing optician in Texas, you will select, as well as manufacture and dispense spectacles and contact lenses. All applicants for licensing must have graduated from an approved college of optometry and meet certification requirements, in order to practice. Below are the key steps to help you prepare for licensure in Texas as a dispensing optician.
MEETING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
The Texas Optometry Board has a formal educational requirement for the field of optometry. If you intend to apply for a practicing license, you must complete an optometry educational program in an accredited school. Texas has two optometry schools. Applicants to optometry schools must have completed an undergraduate degree in an accredited school. It is vital that undergraduate coursework is drawn from the basic sciences, social and behavioral sciences and the humanities to give a well-rounded learning experience. Pre Optometry courses are completed during the undergraduate years. These may include advanced physiology, biochemistry, biosciences, calculus for the biosciences, laboratory investigations, microbiology, organic chemistry, and psychology. To be admitted into an optometry school, you should have successfully taken the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), administered by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. The optometry school curriculum includes courses on community health, geometric optics, human anatomy, pathology, primary care optometry, ophthalmic optics, and vision science. Programs also have a practicum component. Optometry programs are four-year programs that award the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree upon completion of studies.
In order to be certified for practice, the Texas Optometry Board requires opticians to take the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam. Opticians must also take a state law exam. Certification exams test candidates on areas such as physiology of the eye, eye diseases and treatment of diseases. Exams also assess candidates on their clinical skills in opticianry.
TEXAS OPTICIAN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
Applicants for licensure are required to have graduated from an approved optometric school in the US or Canada. In addition, applicants should have successfully taken the NBEO national certification exam for the profession. The Texas Optometry Board requires scores from all four parts of the NBEO exam. In addition, applicants for licensure must take the Texas jurisprudence exam, which is an online exam given by the NBEO. The law exam is given six times each year. Licenses remain active for one year, and must be renewed on or before January 1st each year.
MAINTAINING PROFICIENCY THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION
All practicing dispensing opticians in Texas are required to complete 16 hours of continuing education each year. A minimum of six hours must relate to the diagnosis or treatment of ocular disease, while a minimum of one hour must be on professional responsibility or ethics. Only board-approved courses are permitted in meeting the continuing education requirement. Practicing opticians should check with the Texas Optometry Board for approved courses.
JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
Populations exceeding one million in Dallas and San Antonio, and a population of about two million in Houston, make Texas an excellent state for practicing opticians. Many of the state’s large cities, such as Arlington, El Paso, Fort Worth, and Austin, have populations ranging from 360,000 to 790,000. The high human population creates great demand for eye care services. An estimated 70 populous cities in Texas offers opticians plenty of choices, regarding where to practice. In Houston, the median annual salary is about $43,000, with most opticians earning between $39,600 and $51,700. Annual optician salaries in San Antonio range between $40,000 and $48,000. In Dallas, the annual salary for an optician falls between $39,600 and $51,700, while in Austin, salaries range between $37,900 and $49,500. The annual salary in Fort Worth ranges between $38,800 and $50,600.