To practice as an optician in Vermont, you must be licensed by the State Office of Professional Regulation. Licensure for opticianry in Vermont involves meeting a training requirement, as well as certification by exam. The department offers two options in meeting the training requirement for those preparing for the opticianry profession. If you plan on practicing as an optician in Vermont, the following steps will be helpful in your preparations.
In order to enroll for a formal educational program in opticianry, you must have earned a high school diploma. Training to become an optician in Vermont can be achieved by taking either of two routes offered by the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. You may enroll at a college for a program in ophthalmic dispensing. College-level programs take two years to complete. The other option is to complete a three-year apprenticeship. Programs in ophthalmic dispensing aim to equip students with the necessary opticianry skills that allow them to efficiently fit customers with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Learning involves taking studies in optics, fabrication, medical anatomy and dispensing. Some of the courses covered by the curriculum include anatomy and physiology of the eye, contact lens theory, geometric optics, ophthalmic dispensing, and principles of refraction. Upon completion of training, graduates can apply to become licensed ophthalmic dispensers. Those who opt for the apprenticeship are required to register with the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. Areas covered during the apprenticeship training include anatomy and physiology of the eye; adjustment of eyeglasses; ophthalmic dispensing; ophthalmic regulations; types of specialty lenses and applications; and resolution of client complaints. Graduates of educational programs and those who complete an apprenticeship are required to take certification exams upon completion of training.
Certification in Vermont involves taking an exam, which is also used to meet a licensure requirement. The Vermont Office of Professional Regulation uses the National Optician Competency Examination (NOCE) to certify opticians for practice. This is a spectacle-related exam, covering areas such as adjustment of lenses, dispensing preparation, eyeglasses, laboratory, ophthalmic materials, and prescription interpretations. You may check with the administrators of the exam, namely, the American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE) for details on exam schedule.
VERMONT OPTICIAN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
Licensure in Vermont is conducted through examination. In order to take the exam, you are required to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent, ad must have completed a training program. Those who meet the training requirement can apply to take the NOCE in order to qualify for licensure. The Vermont Office of Professional Regulation provides two options for meeting the training requirement. One option requires completion of a two-year college program in ophthalmic dispensing. Programs must be accredited by an accreditation agency approved by the US Department of Education. The second option requires completion of an apprentice program with a licensed optician, ophthalmologist or optometrist. Successful licensure applicants are issued with a two-year practicing license.
MAINTAINING PROFICENCY THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION
Practicing opticians are required to renew their licenses every two years. Opticians are required to complete at least 10 continuing education credits, every two years. At least three credits may be earned in the area of contact lenses. Not more than two credits may be earned through home study courses. A maximum of two credits may be earned through live web seminars and interactive television. All continuing education courses must be approved by the Office of Professional Regulation.
JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
Vermont is one of the smaller US states with comparatively lower city populations. Nonetheless, optician salaries in Vermont’s cities do not fall too far below the national average of $36,820. In Burlington, the largest city, the median annual salary is $39,700, with most opticians earning between $36,700 and $47,900. Similar earnings are found in Colchester, Essex, Rutland, and South Burlington, where the annual salary of many opticians ranges between $36,700 and $47,900.