What is your advice for someone working their way to become an Optician?
Listen with an open mind, ask questions and take notes. Seek out educational opportunities where ever they are offered.
Why should anyone get certified/licensed?
Licensure and/or Certification is more than just a title, it represents a commitment to yourself and your future. It’s the realization that you will be a recognized healthcare and vision care professional by your clients/patients and your peers.
In your experience, what is the best way to prepare for an Opticianry test?
Study and get hands-on experience. Find the best educational program available, either through a community college program, an apprenticeship program or online education. There are so many resources currently available and our technology changes so rapidly, that simply relying on informal conversations, vendor specific training and on-the-job experience alone is not enough.
What do you remember as being a prominent part of the test or that you were surprised to see on the test?
It’s been so long since I passed my State Boards, I don’t remember being surprised, but I do remember being challenged on several fronts especially ophthalmic optics. I can still see those flash cards in my mind!
How do you decide if an additional credential should be earned?
When you find a subject or skill you want to learn more about. For me, it was refractometry. Those classes allowed me to see my clients needs differently and craft more appropriate solutions for them. Additional credentials are not everyone’s cup of tea, but it it is yours, go for it! Always be looking for the next step or the next skill.
What was the point when you decided to attain your license/certification?
I was mentored by some really outstanding people, one was a long time optician and the other was an optometrist. The optician began teaching me some basic adjustments and repairs. The optometrist allowed me to take the lead in working with patients. The day I knew I wanted that license was the day that OD told me I had a real gift for fitting, adjusting and dispensing eyeglasses. That was all I needed to charge forward.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an Optician?
Listening. Really listening to what my client is saying, and taking notes so that together we craft solutions.
What role have you held that best helped you to be the Optician you are today?
Navy wife and mother. Both roles required creativity, flexibility and the need to confront change with a positive attitude and patience.
What is your advice to someone who lacks sales skills or confidence?
Network! Become active in your local optical community. Start small and keep your ears open. There are talented people all around you, listen and learn!
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?
As a sales manager for Luzerne Optical, I understand what’s happening on the other side of the dispensing table. Because I’ve been in their shoes, I can empathize with their issues and offer real-life solutions. Because I represent an independent lab, I can offer solutions from many different products and vendors.
Learn to recognize the difference between excellent marketing and real education.
Responses in this interview provided by Judy Canty, Licensed Optician