What is your advice for someone working their way to become an Optician?
We have an industry that allows us to continuously learn and grow professionally and it’s amazing. Be ready for learning, and multiple learning curves, but trust me it’s a fun ride. The most important thing, and best advice I can give: Ask questions. There are no stupid ones and we are happy to share knowledge.
Why should anyone get certified/licensed?
Those pieces of paper and letters after your name are not just for show. I can tell you from personal experience that when you study for these tests you start to understand how much there is to learn. And if you’re like me it will make you hungry for more. Not only that, but on a professional level it will help you gain respect and give what you say more weight. It will also help elevate our profession in the industry, but with the public.
In your experience, what is the best way to prepare for an Opticianry test?
Repetition. Seriously. For the ABO, final inspect the jobs in your office and learn the ANSI standards. If a job seems off, do the math by hand and make sure it either passes or fails. For the NCLE, partner with your doctor and learn about the different lenses. The NAO has some amazing study guides and we have some amazing people that offer some great courses. Have fun with it too, if you have coworkers that are studying make a game of it, or a competition.
What do you remember as being a prominent part of the test or that you were surprised to see on the test?
How many questions where about some form of prism for the ABO. For the NCLE how mixed the questions are.
How do you decide if an additional credential should be earned?
For me, if it’s there. I love the learning.
What was the point when you decided to attain your license/certification?
It was about 5 years in for me. I decided I wanted a career with lots of possibilities for change.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an Optician?
That’s a big question – Client facing would be educating and connecting with the person I’m helping. I never sell, I show what works best for their rx. For the technical side, attention to details and a willingness to dig past the marketing claims to better understand how lenses and coatings work.
What role have you held that best helped you to be the Optician you are today?
All of them, I’ve been in the lab, sales floor, a tech, some consulting, management, and a brief time as a frame rep. The lab taught me the technical side of it, the sales floor and being a tech taught me how to communicate effectively, repping how to network, and management how to run an office.
What is your advice to someone who lacks sales skills or confidence?
Get that knowledge up. Find out what AR really does, how progressives really work, how to properly fit a frame, and how to explain why a frame looks good on a face. Once you have that technical confidence the sales confidence will follow.
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 go back and watch the videos on the Larmyk YouTube channel, retake practice tests, and I train new people. If your skills lack, you can’t train well.
Network. We have a small industry and we talk. I’ve gotten jobs because of my relationship with lab and frame reps. Your reputation is a huge thing in such a small industry, keep it clean and make sure you don’t burn bridges.
Responses in this interview provided by Jason Boldt, LDO, ABOC, NCLE
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