What is your advice for someone working their way to become an Optician?
It sounds cliche but my advice would be to enjoy the journey. The day will come that you look back with fondness at the time you spent learning your craft. Enjoy the mentorships and friends you acquire on the way. Just today I was telling some of our people at a meeting that we become an amalgamation of many of those we meet on the journey.
Why should anyone get certified/licensed?
Why not? If this is your calling and your lane in life why not be the best you can be. You are doing what is the best for the patients, your co-workers and yourself!! Nobody aspires to play junior varsity… own your craft.
In your experience, what is the best way to prepare for an Opticianry test?
Discipline. Realize that you need a plan and to stick to it. Rather than cram use your lunch break every day for a couple months leading up to a test. Within six weeks transition to an hour to an hour and a half a day. The last two weeks realize is going to stink because your life will revolve around studying in your spare time. Get a good nights sleep the night before the test. Use index cards, quizlet and YouTube videos to supplement traditional study material. For four weeks leading up to a test write your formulas twice daily to memorize and be ready for your test. This method worked for any optical test I have taken.
What do you remember as being a prominent part of the test or that you were surprised to see on the test?
I was surprised to see as much math as I did. Whether it was vertex distance or Martins tilt formula, put the time in learning your math inside and out.
How do you decide if an additional credential should be earned?
I think if you realize that this is not just a job but a career that you owe it to yourself. Why not master something that you devote so much time to. It’s actually a way to serve others. Your patients get better care as you understand the concepts behind the service while you serve as a great role model for aspiring opticians in the industry.
What was the point when you decided to attain your license/certification?
I decided to attain licensure when I decided that I wanted a career in optics.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an Optician?
I feel my strongest skill as an optician is to understand things well enough to explain them simply to a patient or colleague yet get techy and geeky when that is desired/appreciated. Many opticians try to sound smart and just come across as smug and in need of validation.
What role have you held that best helped you to be the Optician you are today?
That is a great question. I feel that every opportunity brought its unique shaping and molding components. Best help was probably a super high volume eye glass mill in the bowels of corporate optometry. The sheer volume of patients at a multi million dollar $100 avg price point office helped me see everything from a trouble shooting, pathology, crazy prescription, slab off perspective. It was nuts and a great way to hone my skills just in an effort to survive the day.
What is your advice to someone who lacks sales skills or confidence?
Grant Cardone has some free classes online that are excellent. Listen to audible in down time. There are so many great books. Also realize that you offer a very valuable service to people that need to see their best. Do some soul searching. If you don’t feel like you are serving those that come to you as an eye care professional, it may be time to move on.
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?
Having been a traditional optician has taught me how hard a job it is. They can be the unsung heroes of an office. A good optician is worth their weight in gold and probably paying a lot of people in an office’s salaries. It has also honed my people skills….. connecting, conflict resolution, critical feedback and relationship building.
I seek each morning to serve everybody that I come in contact with. If you seek to serve and better the patients, colleagues those above and under you things will go well. I pray to be able to do that as I enter the building each day because once the day starts there is never any telling… in a weird way that is kind of what makes me thrive.
Responses in this interview provided by Jonathan Winnegrad, LDO, ABO-AC, NCLE-AC
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