What is your advice for someone working their way to become an Optician?
Opticianry is an applied science so all the prism questions, vertex formulas, and indices of refraction are relevant to your role. You may not see the application immediately, or even before you achieve your basic certification, but as you learn more things will begin to click and you will be a better optician.
Why should anyone get certified/licensed?
Optical is a field that one is usually drawn to; the reasons may vary but the passion and drive is always there. If you have that drive then you should show it and achieve everything you can to advance your knowledge.
In your experience, what is the best way to prepare for an Opticianry test?
There are several good programs out there. Of course I think mine is the best but then there’s Laramy-K and a couple of others that can help you reach your goal. I would not rely on other opticians in your location alone as we sometimes forget stuff. I believe books are invaluable when it comes to studying and then after the test you can use them as a resource.
What do you remember as being a prominent part of the test or that you were surprised to see on the test?
When I took it, it was in the 1990s and I was surprised, and am still surprised to a certain extent although I understand why, at some of the older techniques and technology that is being tested on.
How do you decide if an additional credential should be earned?
If you use money as your sole motivation, you will never get your advanced certifications. They are usually a matter of pride and a desire to learn more. However, although they may not earn you more money in the short term, they may open doors in the future.
What was the point when you decided to attain your license/certification?
Immediately. Within my first 90 days I knew that I wanted to move forward and get my license. It was when I met the late Daryl Meister that I knew I wanted to get my Master designation.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an Optician?
That’s hard to answer because it’s been a long time since I’ve dispensed but I have always been a nerd so I would say my technical knowledge. I’ve always had a knack for selecting the correct lens/frame combo and then being able to explain to the consumer why it was the best for them in a way they understood.
What role have you held that best helped you to be the Optician you are today?
Every role, even the bad ones. The good ones teach you what to do and the bad ones tell you what not to do. My worst managers have taught me the most.
What is your advice to someone who lacks sales skills or confidence?
Knowledge and time equals confidence. So, listen, observe, ask questions, read about why you do what you do. All of that will boost confidence over time. And, if you know it, say so. Don’t let group think sway you from what you know is correct.
Responses in this interview provided by Carrie Wilson, MBA, ABOM, NCLE-AC, LDO