What is your advice for someone working their way to become an Optician?
So Worth IT! Depending on the state you live in, the path to opticianry can be complex and challenging, but let me encourage you all to KEEP Going! You will never be bored, never be without a multiple opportunities and today there are so many paths you can follow. It is a wonderful career!
Why should anyone get certified/licensed?
Certification and Licensure assures that you are presenting yourself to the consumer as the absolute best! Additionally, it helps any employer know you have achieved a level of expertise. It is critical for mobility, from state to state and serves to represent you as the expert you are!
In your experience, what is the best way to prepare for an Opticianry test?
It’s been a very long time, but my recommendation is to use flash cards and test preps.
What do you remember as being a prominent part of the test or that you were surprised to see on the test?
I took the ABO and NCLE in 1987 ( yikes!). I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and there was a blizzard. It was only offered in the city, Boston, and at the time I was too afraid to drive in a city, so my Dad drove me! He took me out to breakfast first and waited in the car for 4 hours outside in the snow. I barely passed (shhh) and I believe the one question that put me over the edge was about the Ptosis Crutch!
What was the point when you decided to attain your license/certification?
It was 1986 and I had taken a new job. My employer, a wonderful, caring man, said to me “Dibby, if you are going to be in this profession as a woman, you have to be licensed! I will buy you the study books, teach and train you and pay for your test”. I am forever grateful to him. He changed my life. And in 1986, this profession was dominated by men, and he wanted me to be taken seriously. He was absolutely correct.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an Optician?
I think my strongest skill is relating to my patient. Really taking the time and getting to know what they really want, and sometimes even seeing what they want before they do!
What role have you held that best helped you to be the Optician you are today?
I have worked as a traditional optician, as a frame representative, taught Optical Business in an opticianry school and the COO of an eyewear company. This has given me a unique insight into all aspects of the industry which has been very valuable.
What is your advice to someone who lacks sales skills or confidence?
Pretend the person is your best friend and speak to them with familiarity. They will relax and so will you.
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?
My past positions have helped me understand what is needed to represent and advocate for the American optician in my current roles.
My advice I always give is,” Do it, Even if you are Afraid” I spent much of my life fearful and had to plough through that fear and I am SO glad I did! Now I don’t let anything hold me back.
Responses in this interview provided by Dibby Bartlett, LDO, ABOC
Find Dibby online here:
Opticians Association of America (OAA)