What is your advice for someone working their way to become an Optician?
Go to every source you can find – mentors, publications, CE classes, texts, online forums.
Why should anyone get certified/licensed?
Certification demonstrates that you are qualified and competent. It shows that you maintain up-to-date skills and knowledge, while increasing earning potential and job opportunities.
In your experience, what is the best way to prepare for an Opticianry test?
Study everything you can find with a ‘study buddy’ and refer to the study materials recommended by ABO/NCLE and your state association.
What do you remember as being a prominent part of the test or that you were surprised to see on the test?
I took these tests and licensing exam in the early 1980’s, but formulas and calculations were a large part of all of the exams.
How do you decide if an additional credential should be earned?
It depends on job opportunities and earning potential. I became licensed in two additional states because of my employer’s needs. When I began offering CE classes, I maintained those licenses to stay in touch with my attendees’ needs.
What was the point when you decided to attain your license/certification?
I had been an optometric assistant for three years and realized I had greater earning potential as a licensed optician.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an Optician?
Troubleshooting – identifying patient issues and resolving them.
What role have you held that best helped you to be the Optician you are today?
As a CE provider, I researched topics that opticians wanted to learn about. As a result, I continued my own learning and was able to apply it in practice.
What is your advice to someone who lacks sales skills or confidence?
For sales, we are less selling than finding and offering solutions for patients’ vision needs. Once patients understand what we can do for them, they will most often choose what’s best for them.
For confidence, never stop learning. Each new thing learned builds on what was known before. The more you know, the better you can serve your patients.
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?
Everything I learned in practice has helped me understand what opticians need and want to know so I can provide information that is interesting and beneficial to other opticians.
Be curious about the field, embrace new technologies, and be patient with learning. Seek help with understanding if needed.
Responses in this interview provided by Linda Conlin, LO, ABOC, NCLEC
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Linda’s articles in 2020