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Thread: Which is the best Optician School?

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    Which is the best Optician School?

    Hello Optiboarders. I tired searching and did not come across any solid leads and hence thought I should just put it up here on the forum. Which according to you is the best optician school in the world? I am planning to pursue a career in the same and join a course. Also kindly understand that I have been in the industry for a while now and did not take algebra in my last two years on school and three years of college. I undesrstand its mandatory to have algebra for some schools to join. However I am not looking at optometery courses and am looking at schools specific for opticians.Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder pseudonym's Avatar
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    Are you planning a move to the US?

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    I wouldn't mind applying for a Visa and moving on provided the school is good and the course is short. Please PM me the details if you have any.
    Are you aware of any schools closer to India. just curious.

  4. #4
    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    I can't say about the world (probably in Germany), but here are some links to various North American schools, and their accreditation agency.

    http://www.nfos.org/

    http://www.coaccreditation.com/about.shtml
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

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    Thanks a lot of the great informative message pseudonym. Feels great to be a part of this awesome board. FYI, I was in talks with a school in Vancouver as they were interested in opening a school in India. Everyone is excited and want to be a part in this countrys size and amazing opportunity. But as things turned out he wanted me to undertake his course which was very expensive and he said he would divert my schooling fee as his share towards our start up. Sounded shady and I backed off. But as they said its a small world and good things happen. I just had a client from Vancouver and the lovely couple were so impressed with my store and detailing on their sale that they have offered me to come to their home and spend sometime with them. They have also spoken around and have said that we can do it cheaper and are all out to help me. What can I say?

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    Sawptician PAkev's Avatar
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    Take a look at Pennfoster.edu
    A good bit of the program is self paced and has a clinical practicum portion for a hands on learning experience.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Bronze Supporter
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    This is where the Spanish Opticians go:

    http://www.centroboston.com/new/en/formacion-boston.php

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    What are you trying to accomplish? If you wish to practice in a particular state, then the NFOS site above will provide information on COA accredited schools. All have solid atributes, and may be your best bet for entry into the profession in a particular state because they are more familiar with all of the local Opticianry laws, and for networking. BC College of Optics is a short course in Canada, but not recognized by COA, which means if you went to a state that requires a professional license, the certificate from BC would not allow you to sit for their boards. PAKev mentions Penn Foster above, but in my review of the program it is VERY basic and would not prepare an Optician to sit for the boards in most states. It will all depend on your location. Good luck in your decision, but to really answer your question, which is best, it is dependent on what you wish to accomplish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    What are you trying to accomplish? If you wish to practice in a particular state, then the NFOS site above will provide information on COA accredited schools. All have solid atributes, and may be your best bet for entry into the profession in a particular state because they are more familiar with all of the local Opticianry laws, and for networking. BC College of Optics is a short course in Canada, but not recognized by COA, which means if you went to a state that requires a professional license, the certificate from BC would not allow you to sit for their boards. PAKev mentions Penn Foster above, but in my review of the program it is VERY basic and would not prepare an Optician to sit for the boards in most states. It will all depend on your location. Good luck in your decision, but to really answer your question, which is best, it is dependent on what you wish to accomplish.
    Thanks for the links David and Pakev.

    Mc donald, At the outset let me just try to introduce myself so that you are able to understand what I am trying to accomplish.
    I am 29 years young and have been assisting in my family retail business right from my school days. I went on after school to complete the only formal optician training program in India and worked for a few years with Carl Zeiss and a further few at Safilo. Later, I worked for distributors for eyewear and contact lens and settled down in my family retail trade. During this time of being in the market I was able to understand a few important things that I can forecast.
    There is a need for formal education for opticians in India. Most of the opticians here are by the pulse and only sell over the counter by way of experience that they have learnt over the years. Optometrist and technicians are formally trained and they normally do not form a part of the sales team as their role ends at refraction. I was looking at getting myself educated in a good reputed school and form a partnership with the same school with whom we can enter the market together and run a similar program in India, I am most importantly looking at a TRANSPARENT and HONEST person/institution who is consistent and looking to score along with me in this journey. Well, this is the plan as of now. Will scout around. Thanks a lot for the replies.
    Benny

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    Benny,
    Let me suggest to you a program that I have worked with a bit. It is Canadian, and largely delivereed via distance learning, combined with practical experience in the optical industry. Those in the program need to be employed in the field. If you want to learn more about that, contact JeannieB@NAIT.ca for additional information. I will also aske he to contact you if you send me your contact information.

    Dr. McDonald

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    Optician School

    There are 2 other programs that offer distance education in the US and both are quality Associate Degree programs and COA accredited. Take a moment to contact Bill and Yvonne to see if they can meet your needs.

    Hillsborough Community College in Florida
    Program Director: William Underwood
    Office Phone: (813) 253-7430
    Office Location:
    Email Address: bunderwood@hccfl.edu


    J Sargeant Reynolds, Richmond, Virginia
    Program Director: Yvonne Metten, BS NCLE-AC COA
    Office Phone: 804-523-5415
    Office Location: Downtown campus 558
    Email Address: ymodrak@reynolds.edu

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    If you want to look at the UK then either:

    City & Islington College (URL:http://international.candi.ac.uk/courses/subjects/optics/) does a FdSc course in Ophthalmic Dispensing this in done in conjunction with The City University, London, Department of Optometry and can be used for the qualification FBDO (Fellow of the Association British of Dispensing Opticians).

    or contact the ABDO (Association British of Dispensing Opticians) (URL: http://www.abdo.org.uk/ ) and they can advise you. The FBDO is available through distance learning in the UK whilst in practice (in the UK) with residential courses for parts of the course at the ABDO College. The ABDO also award further qualifications in Contact Lens Fitting and Low Vision. The FBDO qualification allows registration with the UK General Optical Council. The registration body for both Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians.

    or if you want technical training then I would recommend contacting the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (URL: http://www.spectaclemakers.com/award...ning/index.htm ) after all they have been doing this since 1629, so I think they may know something about it.
    As an aside they were one of the original awarding bodies for optometry qualifications, that function now having been given to the College of Optometrists, but I am old enough to have been awarded the Fellowship of the Company when I started as an Optometrist.

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    Thank you for the links. Will respond and keep you updated.

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    Master OptiBoarder Striderswife's Avatar
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    The best school is experience

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    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Striderswife View Post
    The best school is experience
    +1,000,000,000

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    Master OptiBoarder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Striderswife View Post
    The best school is experience
    Are you saying Opticians do not need to be formally educated?

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    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    From reading beejay's posts, it looks like he/she has gone as far as possible with experience and the training available and is looking for a quality formal program to bring home.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

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    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Striderswife View Post
    The best school is experience
    Metaphorically speaking any school needs a foundation that supports the superstructure called experience. It can be made of any number of materials but the best is concrete.


    Formal education provides a concrete foundation.

    Go for it beejay!

  19. #19
    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Fester View Post
    Metaphorically speaking any school needs a foundation that supports the superstructure called experience. It can be made of any number of materials but the best is concrete.


    Formal education provides a concrete foundation.

    Go for it beejay!
    Very well said.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

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    Master OptiBoarder Striderswife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Striderswife View Post
    The best school is experience
    I didn't type this. I had a computer signed in with "Remember Me" and didn't log out when I left. Can't say that I was hacked, but it was my own fault for not logging out. I'll explain later. . . :/
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  21. #21
    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Striderswife View Post
    I didn't type this. I had a computer signed in with "Remember Me" and didn't log out when I left. Can't say that I was hacked, but it was my own fault for not logging out. I'll explain later. . . :/
    Didn't sound like you ;-)
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    College of Optics is a short course in Canada, but not recognized by COA, which means if you went to a state that requires a professional license, the certificate from BC would not allow you to sit for their boards.


    “.. is a short course...not recognized by COA’.


    It’s true...this (accelerated) Canadian course is not eligible to apply for COA-accreditation.
    COA is a one (1)-person accrediting agency led by a former 2-year opticianry school instructor and almost all her COA directors are personal friends and 2-year opticianry instructors of the opticianry programs that COA purports to accredit. Yet no conflict-of-interest issues are raised, and COA continues its course-length policy that requires a minimum 2-year opticianry program for COA accreditation.


    You also neglected to mention that COA is no longer recognized as a National accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education. COA was dropped a few years ago for failing to meet basic U.S. Dept of Ed accreditation standards. To save itself, and to maintain COA-accredited schools eligibility for government student loans, COA was forced to apply for membership in the non-governmental CHEA organization, which has less rigorous accreditation agency standards.


    COA actually has a very good accreditation model, but unfortunately its 2-year minimum course duration policy is a remnant of the 1960's. But since most private opticianry programs in the US make use of condensed, accelerated business models, it’s no surprise that very few private opticianry programs ever achieve COA recognition.


    COA boasts a modern training philosophy that states... ‘Number of hours spent on any (optical) topic is never dictated so as to encourage innovation in teaching methods... and to make use of recent technological advances in teaching aids and materials’.

    Yet when new training aids and technological advances result in course-time savings, rather than shorten their 2-year opticianry course durations, the public COA-accredited schools are required to fill any time savings with new, and sometimes questionable, optical competencies. For example, take the (voodoo) science of ‘Color Draping’... where an optician places swatches of colored cloth on a client’s shoulder to label him/her a ‘Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall’ (to assist in frame color choice). Since ‘Color Draping’ training was deemed an ‘essential’ for COA accreditation, all 2-year COA “recognized” opticianry programs had to find time to teach it.


    Thanks, but no thanks. We can live without COA recognition!

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    Mr. Morse,
    I was not intending to belittle your school, and I have even gone so far as to say some good things in the past, but you seem to take offense to any comment. Relax. This individual had posted a desire to come to a state in the US to practice, and despite your dislike of the COA, graduation from a COA-accredited school is required to sit for licensure in most licensed states, which is exactly what I said in my response. Here is something else of interest that might prove valuable at this point in the conversation. This poster said the following:

    "Thanks a lot of the great informative message pseudonym. Feels great to be a part of this awesome board. FYI, I was in talks with a school in Vancouver as they were interested in opening a school in India. Everyone is excited and want to be a part in this countrys size and amazing opportunity. But as things turned out he wanted me to undertake his course which was very expensive and he said he would divert my schooling fee as his share towards our start up. Sounded shady and I backed off. But as they said its a small world and good things happen. I just had a client from Vancouver and the lovely couple were so impressed with my store and detailing on their sale that they have offered me to come to their home and spend sometime with them. They have also spoken around and have said that we can do it cheaper and are all out to help me. What can I say?"

    The OP was taling with some school in BC, and I am not sure who is there, but was not comfortable, so that door was closed. I was attempting to offer other institutions, including NAIT, who I have represented here in the US for some time.

    Now to your concerns about accreditation. The accreditation process in the US is cetainly not perfect, but it is time-tested and not likely to change. COA does have issues. For example, there are others who have had some concern about the folks who serve, and most often that is due to some issue between thse parties. I know most of the folks who serve as commossioners, and they are good people who want to do the right thing. An remember, they are volunteers. The Director is a fomrer educator, and an exemplary one. She understands the process well, and is doing an admirable job.

    As to COA losing its recognition with the Department of Ed, you are woefully misinformed. Yes, the COA chair at the time was not on top of the issue, and the staff neglected to file appropriate forms to maintain their recognition, but that was not the real issue. There was a strong move to take programmatic accreditaiton out of the Department's hands and move it to a more appropriate organization. CHEA is the major organization who accredits health and other agencies, and it was the correct place for COA to move, and I applaud their efforts.

    Again, I wish you and the BC College of Optics the very best, and not attempting to stir controversy here. Only offering to assist this individual in reaching their goals. Yoou seem to be in search of new ventures for the college. There are many states here in the US who could use a good school, and if you are interesting in opening a branch, let me know. I have made this offer before and heard nothing, but I extend this hand again.

  24. #24
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter
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    Dr. McDonald,
    Your right of course... I have a very thin skin when it comes to my 28-year school's reputation, and I do recall that you had some good things to say about our school. Please accept my sincere apologies.
    I will PM you.

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    Thank you for the responses. I understand experience is the best school,yet education has its benefits as very well put across by the members here.Tmorse, noone wanted to belittle your school, its always good to know on how the market thinks first hand. Chill.

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