What is your advice for someone working their way to become an Optician?
Read!!! Pick up a textbook, a trade magazine, a marketing flyer from any rep. Just read everything you can find. The next thing is to make mistakes. No one grows by playing it safe. If you progress, you will make mistakes. Learn from them and move on–just be sure not to keep making the same mistakes over and over.
Why should anyone get certified/licensed?
In states that are licensed, sitting for your license shows your employer, coworkers, and the public that you take your career seriously and legitimizes what we do as opticians. ABO/NCLE/COA etc certifications show that you have made the effort to continue your education in the field. Be proud of your certificates!! But never stop learning and reaching for the next level.
In your experience, what is the best way to prepare for an Opticianry test?
Consult with other opticians that have taken the test. Practice as much of the material; hands-on in real life so you can get an idea of how the information is practically applied.
What do you remember as being a prominent part of the test or that you were surprised to see on the test?
When sitting for the NCLE basic, I was astounded by the number of questions related to RGP lenses. At that point in my career, I had very little experience with them and was operating solely on book knowledge.
How do you decide if an additional credential should be earned?
If it’s available in my field, I want to earn it!!
What was the point when you decided to attain your license/certification?
I started my career in Texas, an unlicensed state. In 2001, two years into my career, I sat for the ABO at the urging of my manager, and honestly for the raise that was promised for passing. It was the start of earning my basic and advanced ABO and NCLE certifications. I applied for my Nevada license just prior to my move to the state.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an Optician?
I honestly feel that my work as an ophthalmic and optometric technician have given me a big advantage as an optician. It has given me more of an insight into the “why’s” and “how’s” of what we do applies to the patients in the real world.
What role have you held that best helped you to be the Optician you are today?
Working in multiple practices with vastly different structures and goals has allowed me to shape my behavior into what I feel is the best fit for the largest number of patients. Understanding different doctors and management styles, as well as a varying demographic prepares you for almost anything they can throw at you.
What is your advice to someone who lacks sales skills or confidence?
Practice!! Work on your sales pitch in the mirror. Sell to your friends. Learn your field and become an expert. Once you know that you know your field, your confidence will come naturally.
If you are no longer an Optician in the traditional sense on a daily basis, how did your Optician skills help you with what you’re doing now?
I currently work as Clinic Coordinator in my office. I am the primary optometric technician and one of the contact lens fitters here. The optical background has prepared me for what I am doing today.
Use your resources. Join opticianry groups. Join your state association. Join the national organizations. Find an experienced optician and watch them work; ask them questions. Never stop learning!!
Responses in this interview provided by Bob Faktor, LDO, ABO-AC, NCLE-AC
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