The practice of opticianry in Wisconsin is regulated by the Wisconsin Optometry Board. As an optician in Wisconsin, your work will involve taking facial measurements, as well as processing, fitting and adjusting of eyewear and associated products. The Wisconsin Optometry Board permits opticians to duplicate, replace or reproduce eyewear that does not require optometric service without prescription. To practice as an optician in Wisconsin, you need to meet an educational requirement and successfully take a licensure exam. Below are some key steps to help you prepare for practice in Wisconsin.
MEETING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
To prepare for the opticianry profession in Wisconsin, you need to enroll for an educational program in a college of optometry. Applicants to optometry schools must hold a high school diploma, as well as an undergraduate degree. Undergraduate programs allow students to build general knowledge in communication, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Training programs in optometry cover various areas of vision science. Learning consists of coursework, technical work and clinical practice. Through an extensive curriculum in vision care, students build a comprehensive knowledge base in anatomy, optical theory, ophthalmic theory, geometric optics, ophthalmic optics, and maintenance of contact lenses. By combining theoretical knowledge and practical skills, programs provide students with a learning experience that assures marketable skills in the field of opticianry. Training institutions must be approved by the Wisconsin Optometry Board.
The certification process for opticians in Wisconsin involves taking the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) certification exam. Besides certifying opticians, the NBEO exam is also used for licensure purposes. Candidates are assessed in various areas of opticianry, including applied basic science, patient assessment and management, and clinical skills. In order to be certified, the Wisconsin Optometry Board requires you to attain a pass score in Part I, II and III of the exam. The NBEO website provides detailed information on testing dates and test centers.
WISCONSIN OPTICIAN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
To qualify for licensure, you must have graduated from an accredited optometric college. Applicants for licensure in Wisconsin are required to take the NBEO exam. Candidates must attain the minimum pass score set by the NBEO. In addition to the exam, the licensure process entails taking the Wisconsin law exam. The Wisconsin Optometry Board sets a minimum pass score for the law exam after consultation with subject matter experts. You may retake the state law exam, should you fail to attain the minimum pass score.
MAINTAINING PROFICIENCY THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION
The Wisconsin Optometry Board has a 30-hour continuing education requirement for each two-year licensure period. Continuing education relates to the diagnosis and management of eye disease. At least seven of these hours must be in glaucoma education. A maximum of six hours must be in areas that focus on contact lenses, functional vision, general optometry, low vision, jurisprudence, and practice management. Continuing education courses must be approved by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE), the American Optometric Association or the American Academy of Optometry.
JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY
Wisconsin’s large cities are well populated, creating an ever-increasing demand for eye care services. With a population of well over half a million, Milwaukee offers some of the best job prospects in the state. Most opticians in Milwaukee earn between $37,000 and $48,000. In Madison, which has a population of about one-quarter million, opticians earn between $36,600 and $47,800 in annual salary. In Green Bay, the annual salary for the profession ranges between $36,700 and $48,000, while in Kenosha, the annual salary falls between $37,300 and $48,700.