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Thread: Attention Opticians: Please stop blaming organizations for our failings.

  1. #126
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    Here is some input from a young-ish person who has taken and passed the ABO -

    My only complaint with the ABO was that it is too archaic. Instead of multiple questions about glass lenses, how about some free-form questions? I assume this will happen in time.

    I also realize that there is so much that I don't know that used to be common knowledge. The troubling thing is that I am more knowledgeable than the vast majority of so-called "opticians" I encounter (I am also from the same area as Darryl, apparently. The level of education around here is absolutely atrocious).

    Mandatory licensing is a very good idea, but I seriously doubt this would ever happen. The chains are too big now and would never allow this. As others have mentioned, the trend is towards de-regulation as opposed to more regulation. And even if a few states mandate licensing, I'm sure the chains would just work around the laws and have the "optician" dispense and inspect eyewear while everyone else rings up sales and cuts jobs.

    Online opticals are a joke but of course people are making money off it. Your independent shop may refuse to adjust outside frames but then the 'net buyers would just go to the chains for free adjustments.

    The underlying issue here is that companies can still turn a profit without having knowledgeable opticians. Hire a good salesperson to style people into frames that look nice and then contract the work to an outside lab. Or employ lab techs who only know how to push buttons. If a customer complains, just convince them to go into a different lens or frame style. Eventually they will be satisfied or may take their business elsewhere. The slight loss in business to upset customers is more than offset by the low wages you pay.

    It's unfortunate, but the above pattern seems to be happening everywhere (chains and independents).

    I'm not saying that opticians are not needed, but with digital equipment, lenses, and even measurements, the skills of a good optician are not required as much as they once were. Of course, with free-form and the adaption issues posed in a previous thread, good opticians will always be needed to some degree. But one person to troubleshoot per office is probably all that is needed. That is what makes me sad. I've worked hard and learned a lot over the past decade, but it just doesn't seem right to have so many uneducated colleagues in our midst. When a customer walks into an optical shop, she should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will be encountering good, knowledgeable opticians.

    So we have the problem, what are the steps necessary for a solution?

    I guess we could start at Darryl's #1. Unify opticianry organizations, in particular the ABO and NAO, and then strengthen this organization. Actively promote membership. Charge members enough to allow the organization to work towards our common goals, while showing members the results of that work.

    Whoever is in charge of the ABO and NAO will you please unify and promote membership so that we can actively promote our profession?
    Last edited by Quantrill; 04-29-2012 at 11:31 PM.

  2. #127
    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    Quantrill, I appreciate your commentary, and I will attempt to effect positive change in the industry.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

  3. #128
    Carl Zeiss Vision OptiBoard Gold Supporter Darryl Meister's Avatar
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    Ah, I made a typo. I meant unify the OAA and NAO.

    Best regards,
    Darryl
    Darryl J. Meister, ABOM

  4. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes View Post
    FYI ALL:
    The Summit is one week away. Does anyone have anything to add?
    To build on tx11's post on having a multiple level test, I commented that there were more advantages than was listed, so here is the key advantage to that approach.

    Wes, you stated that the ABO test must be a sampled based on a potential testing candidates. So if we layered the ABO testing, it would essentially change the candidate pool, allowing the test to be more reflective of the actual needs of opticianry and not candidates themselves. For example, the first test could be "Frame Stylist", the second "Apprentice Optician", and the third "Optician", the fourth "Advanced Optician" (the tests could all be adminstered at the same time, at the same location). So for the first test "Frame Stylist" the candidate sample pool would be essentially what we had now. But the Apprentice test sample would be taken from people who passed the first test, and the Optician test would require they pass the first two. T

    This way the sample has effectively improved, they have been tested twice and so have some optical knowledge. This way the test could be geared more towards future needs of real Opticians.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

  5. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister View Post
    .... we are still losingopticianry schools due to lack of interest, not creating them. And very fewexisting schools have so many students enrolled that they must turn many otherpotential students away.
    ... Darryl
    I agree with you Darryl that an increase in demand has to accompany supply ,but that is why this discussion is in this forum: its “testing” that creates that demand. If youlook at where the thriving educational programs are they are ALL in states thathave high testing requirements. That is why if we want to advance education inanyway it has to come from improving the ABO exam (or a replacement), as its the de factolicensure in 27(?) states.

    In Washington state the Optical programs are growing (I instruct at one), andalthough we are a licensed state, licensure is NOT fully required to practice, it’sonly offered. Any OD or MD can hire asmany unlicensed people as they want, and they can do all the work of opticians,anywhere in the practice with no requirements what-so-ever. And they can make decentmoney. They can't legally however open their own practice or callthemselves “Dispensing Opticians” without a license. (LDO's in WA can actuallyfit and RX contacts based on a recent spectacle RX too).

    So why do people study, and take the LDO exam? Thetesting in WA is fairly rigorous and people take the test not necessarily forfinancial reasons but for professional stature. As a response, theschools here are growing.
    Washington is proof that this doesn’t have to be legislated;there is effectively no enforcement in Washington, and 95% of Opticians can continue in thier current position if licesure ended tomarrow. If we raise the testing requirements, peoplewill seek education to meet those requirements.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

  6. #131
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    Blue Jumper The apprenticeship system was well suited for the Middle Ages........................

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister View Post

    Apprenticeship was a common method of passing on trade skills before formal education and training programs became widely available. You would spend years learning and mastering a trade from a master craftsman, until you finally took over for him or started your own shop. It does not refer to a guy who learns to use the cash register at McDonald's during his first week of "training." Nor does it refer to learning to take a PD measurement from someone who got hired 6 months before you did.

    The apprenticeship system was well suited for the Middle Ages. Today, however, "apprenticeship" simply means "no experience or training necessary." And you will never increase your professional status in that kind of context. Yet the term "apprenticeship" has been thrown around in these discussions for at least 20 years or more in an attempt to romanticize what we are doing. But, since the status of professional opticianry has failed to advance in over 20 years, are we really fooling anyone but ourselves?

    Nice speech Darryll........................However in those days of what you call Middle Ages, which still applies today to the central Europeen countries an optician that has gone through the apprentiship, is a heck more qualified to be called that name than what you describe in your post.

    If you have not learned the basics you will never understand the more advanced stages. In Europe you have to get the papers stating that you do master and understand, and can work in this profession. A apprentiship in Europe is most of the time a 4 year practical learning stage with 2 days of optical trade school a week at 8 hours per day. That totals to 400 hours per year, excluding 2 weeks of holidays. Over the 4 years we would have 1,600 hours of schooling, if that is not enough for a basic opticians profession please let me know. To end the apprentiship they have to pass the final exam that is a three day expirience. If successfully passed the papres are accepted just about all over Europe.

    An optician at that stage can work, but not manage and run a business, he needs further education and has to have the necessary diplomas to prove his status.

    I really believe that the antiquitated "Middle Age system" across the Atlantic is still more advanced than what you got this side of the Atlantic.
    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

  7. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    Look to the NFOS site and, if memory serves, there are close to 40 programs. The COA accredits only 25 or so. The link for the NFOS is www.nfos.org. I did look at it, and I see one additional program, Sharpstick, yours, that is not even a member. You really ought to do that.......it is not an expensive organization to join and faculty can share much.
    Warren, I went through both lists before posting. A few of those 40 programs are in Canada, & TOPS is not open the public (military only). 2 in California don't offer any more than a 10 month program . Two didn't have working websites (or any mention on thier school website), so if they don't have a website in this day and age I could not consider that program active. In those cases I searched both Google or the school website for mentions of the program, to no avail.

    After eliminations, that left only 25 verifiable programs standing that offer a 2 year program (and I counted mine) with any web presence. I am sure we could find one or two more, but then we really have a marketing issue on our hands as well.
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  8. #133
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    All well and good, my friends, except for one important thing:

    Most of the hands-on "skills" that really differentiate the in-person, B&M experience from online are ONLY learned through a proper apprenticeship, wherein the master knows what's what, and the apprentice knows he's got alot to learn.

    Barry

    Pop Quiz: My opening line is a direct quote from what seminal Sci-Fi movie of the Mid-1950's?

  9. #134
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    All well and good, my friends, except for one important thing:

    Most of the hands-on "skills" that really differentiate the in-person, B&M experience from online are ONLY learned through a proper apprenticeship, wherein the master knows what's what, and the apprentice knows he's got alot to learn.

    Barry

    Pop Quiz: My opening line is a direct quote from what seminal Sci-Fi movie of the Mid-1950's?
    ...and the circular route begins again. Sigh.
    "Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel." --Roger Ebert

  10. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpstick777 View Post
    Warren, I went through both lists before posting. A few of those 40 programs are in Canada, & TOPS is not open the public (military only). 2 in California don't offer any more than a 10 month program . Two didn't have working websites (or any mention on thier school website), so if they don't have a website in this day and age I could not consider that program active. In those cases I searched both Google or the school website for mentions of the program, to no avail.

    After eliminations, that left only 25 verifiable programs standing that offer a 2 year program (and I counted mine) with any web presence. I am sure we could find one or two more, but then we really have a marketing issue on our hands as well.
    I think I mentioned above 25 accredited programs on the site, but it may be 24. My point is there are several places folks can go. But the indistry must support education before these programs are truly meeting their potential. Kepp working on yours, Van. We need it.
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

  11. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by CuriousCat View Post
    ...and the circular route begins again. Sigh.
    Correct, Judy. What Barry fails to understand is that all of the online programs REQUIRE some hands-on training as a part of the curriculum, and that the old masters he refers to area long gone. But he means well........
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

  12. #137
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CuriousCat View Post
    ...and the circular route begins again. Sigh.
    I'm not advocating apprentiship for book learning, only for hands-on skills, which are given the short shrift re: competancy in most of today's schools. And by online, I was referring to buying glasses online.\


    NOT circular. Just misunderstood.

    B

  13. #138
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    If nothing else, I will say this thread has caused me to look a little harder at possibly joining some of the national organizations.

  14. #139
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    Education will grow after branding takes place . You can't sell me a "Fix It Again Tony" after I am sold on the brand "Porsche"

  15. #140
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    if you don't believe in branding first then try an experiment, try talking a dental student into being an optician.

  16. #141
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    Wes,

    Wow! I appreciate your honesty! I learned a long time ago if I really want to learn and grow I must be willing to listen and observe everyone and everything I surround myself with or in.

    I am continuously learning. I want to keep improving and keep the passion of being in this field that totally amazes me and opens my eyes and expands my brain cells some days to the point that it hurts! LOL!

    I thank you for your willingness to help us when we have a question or need guidance.

    ICU2020

  17. #142
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    Ah, what the heck, I'll try this again... some people just never learn

    1) When does an agency, regardless of process, become ethically negligent in offering something of little or no value? Does the umbrella agency step in at some time and say, this field has such a low standard that this test is now invalid? Who is minding the store?

    2) Does the lack of participation by the very people that your organization professes to represent not say that the organization is failing to meet its mission?

    I have posted this elsewhere on this forum and my own blog - "If your organization has been around 20,30, even 40 years and you have not fulfilled your mission and created positive change in your field or profession then you have FAILED. Some of the organization mentioned throughout this post have been around longer than many of you have been alive and yet we are still talking about what role they should have and the lack of results they produce."

    I have also repeated, "The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing" So, just stand by and watch the standard get lower, and lower, and lower and blame the opticians, the organizations etc...

    In the meantime I'll keep actually DOING something about it!

  18. #143
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Soooo, on that note, who is attending the National Opticians Convention in DC next month?
    "Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel." --Roger Ebert

  19. #144
    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    Change takes time. I believe we will soon be seeing some progress in the right direction. Slow progress, but progress.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

  20. #145
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    I sure hope so, Wes. I just cleaned out a bookshelf in my office and found my BOD binder of minutes from my state association. We're still talking about the same issues from the early 90's. #1 reason I backed away. #2 is watching major lens, frame and big box retailers usurp independent leadership.
    "Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel." --Roger Ebert

  21. #146
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    I agree and I also think poor opticians should not be blaming the lab that supplies there lenses for their inability to order correctly. We get some pretty crazy scenarios in which our accounts are yelling at us for something they did.. When we do get an account who knows what they are doing we are very thankful. www.acculab.net

  22. #147
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC1111 View Post
    I agree and I also think poor opticians should not be blaming the lab that supplies there lenses for their inability to order correctly. We get some pretty crazy scenarios in which our accounts are yelling at us for something they did.. When we do get an account who knows what they are doing we are very thankful. www.acculab.net
    While I agree, that's not what we're talking about. I don't want to see this thread go sideways.
    "Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel." --Roger Ebert

  23. #148
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    I'm excited to be going to the conference next month, I've only been ABO for a year but I've been in labs and dispenserys for about 6 years now. Some think I'm crazy for loving what I do when there is "more money" to be made elsewhere, but its what I love to do!

  24. #149
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    While I must admit I have a very short stint into opticianry as a whole, I did have a very advanced resource at the healm of my apprenticeship between our ophthalmologist and the optician who has been in the field for 30+ years both as a lab-man and behind the PD stick to teach me what I do know.

    For those who do want to advance themselves and learn what they do not know, I can add some very useful resources to this post at the very least. As I must agree my short term in this field at the very least has taught me what this entire thread has been about. The exams were a joke and required no effort on my part to pass, but they reflect the community it seems. TN recently dumbed down our exam from what I understand and I was "lucky" enough to be one of the firsts to take our new licensure exam and am still waiting to hear back on that. I firmly believe to keep moving forward you must continue education, rather at a B&M school, online, or just through individual studies which can sometimes be the most rewarding. After all, you can only learn what you've seen/experienced.

    More onto the original point of my post before I get fired up on one of my first posts...

    Very in depth learning to be had here if you're willing to pursue it for your own personal growth, no degree, no paper at the end, nothing but your own drive and willingness to accomplish and further yourself regardless of others input.

    MIT openware courses in optics. While they are older, they will give you a good understanding of optics in general and how/why they work. Keep in mind there is plenty more of the advanced stuff in these courses as well, certainly not for the feint of heart or un-driven individual.

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrica...ory-fall-2005/

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mechanica...g-spring-2002/

  25. #150
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacingTiger03 View Post
    While I must admit I have a very short stint into opticianry as a whole, I did have a very advanced resource at the healm of my apprenticeship between our ophthalmologist and the optician who has been in the field for 30+ years both as a lab-man and behind the PD stick to teach me what I do know.

    For those who do want to advance themselves and learn what they do not know, I can add some very useful resources to this post at the very least. As I must agree my short term in this field at the very least has taught me what this entire thread has been about. The exams were a joke and required no effort on my part to pass, but they reflect the community it seems. TN recently dumbed down our exam from what I understand and I was "lucky" enough to be one of the firsts to take our new licensure exam and am still waiting to hear back on that. I firmly believe to keep moving forward you must continue education, rather at a B&M school, online, or just through individual studies which can sometimes be the most rewarding. After all, you can only learn what you've seen/experienced.

    More onto the original point of my post before I get fired up on one of my first posts...

    Very in depth learning to be had here if you're willing to pursue it for your own personal growth, no degree, no paper at the end, nothing but your own drive and willingness to accomplish and further yourself regardless of others input.

    MIT openware courses in optics. While they are older, they will give you a good understanding of optics in general and how/why they work. Keep in mind there is plenty more of the advanced stuff in these courses as well, certainly not for the feint of heart or un-driven individual.

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrica...ory-fall-2005/

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mechanica...g-spring-2002/
    seriously, if the business of eyewear were essentially about optics, we'd all be on easy street by now.

    B

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