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Thread: Opticianry and Optometry

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister View Post
    Removing a contact lens fitting provision from such a bill would not be changing the status quo one way or the other. If opticians could fit contact lenses under the supervision of another professional in the first place, which they often can, this would continue to be the case had such a bill been enacted. It is not limiting the scope of opticianry, it is just not expanding it to include independently prescribing contact lenses.

    Optometry became licensed professionals with a limited scope of practice first. Then, eventually, and only after establishing a significiant base of specially trained optometrists, optometrists fought successfully to expand their scope of practice. They did not start demanding concessions such as DPA and TPA right out of the gate.
    I still think the problems lie within opticianry. You have two sides on this debate, imho. First the die hards who insist on all or nothing (your experience it appears was controlled by this first group.) The others who say, "don't rock the boat, at least we're working.)

    In NZ, we approached the optometry association asking for their advice and assistance on applying for an increase in scopes of practice. We were met with polite replies and positive nods from most, however the outcome wasn't didn't match the response from the optometry association's board.

    To sum up our position: we hoped to be able to 'refract under supervision' - no contact fitting, and no prescribing. The benefit would be to the rural areas where one day visits often see an optometrist faced with 100 people waiting to be seen.

    In eight years time, approximately 8 graduates were estimated.

    With the Durban Declaration announcing:

    • 153 million people in the world have impaired distance vision because of Uncorrected Refractive Error;
    • Many millions more people over the age of 45 years have impaired near vision (presbyopia) due to Uncorrected Refractive Error;
    • Persons with blindness and vision impairment are entitled to the same basic human rights as are enshrined in all national and international standards, declarations and conventions;
    • Uncorrected Refractive Error drives children and adults further into poverty by limiting their opportunities to education, employment, and seriously impacts their quality of life and productivity;
    • The link between poverty and visual impairment due to Uncorrected Refractive Error places a heavy economic burden on individuals, their families and communities;
    • The paucity of services, personnel, training institutions, affordable glasses especially in the developing countries are the main contributing factors to Uncorrected Refractive Error.
    The course on refraction we wanted to us was already being taught by a reputible institution to dispensing opticians in Asia. We even wrote to the World Council for Optometry, and they reviewed our proposal. We again had asked for their input to help create a workable collegiate environment between opticianry and optometry, offering our country as a trial run, so to speak. We thought our timing was right.

    We were wrong.

    .

    Our country has 180 Dispensing Opticians, over 600 optometrists, and yet - we still failed in our attempt to work together and create something valuable.

    I have the utmost respect for optometry, and their right to fight for what they believe is beneficial to the public. But, what will it take for opticians to realise that we need standards of care which are consistent: state to state, country to country?

    If anyone has any ideas - I'd love to hear about "what we should do" not "why it won't work"

    :cheers:
    Last edited by MarySue; 12-30-2009 at 01:22 AM.

  2. #27
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    A great thread....

    I wish I could add something. But I can't. Politics almost always leads people to wonder why they even bothered. I wish you luck, although here in the U.S. I think Opticianry has some much more basic things to be concerned about. I can tell you're driven in your field. Don't let it drive you nuts! Remember what my old football coach said- "all anyone can ever ask is that you do your best". I hope your best is appreciated by the professionals you work alongside. :)
    Last edited by FVCCHRIS; 01-02-2010 at 10:28 PM.
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  3. #28
    ATO Member HarryChiling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    And Harry, you'd be surprised by what big chain would like to see licensure, and reciprocity between states. I even attended a recent CE class that a walmart employee was taking. Their district manager is encouraging all personel to get an ABOC. So there are at least 2 chains promoting education.
    No I wouldn't be suprised, they're not looking for more licensed states they are looking for reciprocity and the ability to move their people across state lines to fill voids. I heard it from the horses mouth so it comes as no suprise to me.

    If I was to ever believe these corporations I would have to say what has stopped them in their fight for licensure? They have squashed every bill introduced in every non-licensed state for decades now, they have bankrupted legislative coffers across the country. What are they waiting for?

    They want the ability to move their licensed professionals around the country, reciprocity. The current state of licensure doesn't allow that, and certain states are much stricter in their licensing than others. These corporations want the LCD the lowest common denominator, they would want the ABO as the licensing standard. I don't know enough about the ABO organization like their bylaws, their current staff, directors, and officers to put faith in them holding the keys to the promise land.
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    What do physicians, pharmacists, nurses, lawyers... have that we don't ?
    Just think about it...
    Licenses only ? Really ?

    I live in a province (Quebec) in Canada with quite strong laws regarding opticians, full-time 3 years program, reserved title, reserved acts and so on, but we are treated about at the same level than those in unlicensed US states, why ?

    Some hints :

    1-Standardized education (QC opticians have it)

    2-High and respected level of education (QC opticians have it)

    3-Known by the public. Nobody would ever think of dealing with someone that falsly pretend to be one. It should be EVIDENT and OBVIOUS to see a ***** about their ***** and NO ONE ELSE. (QC opticians DON'T have it)

    4-What these professionnals are offering is considered as IMPORTANT (QC opticians DON'T have it)

    That was just some suggestions...

    So points 1 and 2 are useless without points 3 and 4.
    QC opticians are a good exemple of this.

    So education is just the first step. It worths NOTHING without recognition.
    Even with all the licenses you can dream about.

    What did opticians do to promote their own profession ?

    We are just living the consequences of many decades of laziness, at almost all levels.
    We took the easy way, so we are now easily replacable.
    Who else are to blame ?
    The other O's just took the place we let them take.

    We are simply 40 years too late, imho

  5. #30
    Master OptiBoarder Darryl Meister's Avatar
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    Oddly enough, Optometry has the most to gain by pushing opticianry licensure, in my opinion. After all, it places minimal burden on optometrists, financial or otherwise, since their dispensers would operate under their own optometry license in most cases.

    Independent opticians and chain retail locations, on the other hand, would need to employ a sufficient number of licensed opticians, who generally command a higher salary compared to unlicensed opticians, which will impact overhead -- and, consequently, net profit -- at these businesses.

    I don't know that anyone has ever actually posed such an argument to optometrists, however. At least I've never seen opticians express licensure, myself, in terms that would actually appeal to optometrists.
    Darryl J. Meister, ABOM

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister View Post
    Oddly enough, Optometry has the most to gain by pushing opticianry licensure, in my opinion. After all, it places minimal burden on optometrists, financial or otherwise, since their dispensers would operate under their own optometry license in most cases.

    Independent opticians and chain retail locations, on the other hand, would need to employ a sufficient number of licensed opticians, who generally command a higher salary compared to unlicensed opticians, which will impact overhead -- and, consequently, net profit -- at these businesses.

    I don't know that anyone has ever actually posed such an argument to optometrists, however. At least I've never seen opticians express licensure, myself, in terms that would actually appeal to optometrists.
    Great post, I in total agreement.
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    Currently, opticianry is the only health related field that rejects college based education in favor of an un-defined, osmotic based, learning system. Until a formal education component is embraced, opticianry will remain on the outskirts of the eyecare delivery system, unable to practice as true professionals, and blocked from advancement. This is not the fault of Optometry or the chain firms, the blame rests solely with opticians as individuals and as a group.


    The ABO/NCLE exams are generally derided as insultingly simple exercises that should never be considered for licensing purposes, yet the pass rate hovers in the 50% range. On the practical side, basic tasks that fall squarely within the realm of opticianry elude mastery. It has been my experience over the past few years that 52% of opticians cannot measure prism thinning in progressive lenses, 64% cannot measure the distance between prism reference points, 48% cannot split prism, and 12% can’t identify the seg width of a bifocal.


    Against this abysmal backdrop, it’s extremely difficult to argue for licensing or scope of practice expansion into contact lenses or refraction. My suggestion would be for opticianry to finally embrace formal education and develop a base of knowledge from which to build. Once upon a time I was optimistic this would happen.

    Roy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy R. Ferguson View Post
    Currently, opticianry is the only health related field that rejects college based education in favor of an un-defined, osmotic based, learning system. Until a formal education component is embraced, opticianry will remain on the outskirts of the eyecare delivery system, unable to practice as true professionals, and blocked from advancement. This is not the fault of Optometry or the chain firms, the blame rests solely with opticians as individuals and as a group.


    The ABO/NCLE exams are generally derided as insultingly simple exercises that should never be considered for licensing purposes, yet the pass rate hovers in the 50% range. On the practical side, basic tasks that fall squarely within the realm of opticianry elude mastery. It has been my experience over the past few years that 52% of opticians cannot measure prism thinning in progressive lenses, 64% cannot measure the distance between prism reference points, 48% cannot split prism, and 12% can’t identify the seg width of a bifocal.


    Against this abysmal backdrop, it’s extremely difficult to argue for licensing or scope of practice expansion into contact lenses or refraction. My suggestion would be for opticianry to finally embrace formal education and develop a base of knowledge from which to build. Once upon a time I was optimistic this would happen.

    Roy
    Couldn't have said it better! :cheers:

  9. #34
    ATO Member HarryChiling's Avatar
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    The only opportunities for education that are available for opticians outside of licensed states are ones that our own leaders don't accept, ones that the licensed states don't accpept (COA Acrediting), ones that educators don't accept, and prohibitively expensive options.

    1. Either a person can go to an out of state school and pay out of state tuition as well as have to fly there for exams at least 1 to 2 times a year. (Out of state tuition = $5,000 per semester ($20,000); In State Tuition = $1,500 per semester ($6,000)) (using numbers from Roane State since it's in your backyard)
    2. Attend a program online through a canadian school NAIT which is not accpeted by our leaders or licensed states. ($2,000 per year ($2,000) assuming ABO is accepted for the first year)
    3. Test out of a degree through unconventional methods in which case the ABO and NCLE together is accepted for 30 credits at some of the schools leaving the remainder of the credits for math, english, science, etc. This option is not accpeted in licensed states either. (Out of State Tuition = $4,000 per semester ($8,000); In State Tuition = $3,000 per semester ($6,000) assuming that ABO and NCLE are accepted for 30 credits)
    The educators always want to say education is the key, it's only one component and just like the problem of opposition it has many layers as well. Some schools are accepted by licensed states and others are not, like their is an ivy league amoung optical programs. The cost for the COA Acredited schools per the examples given range from 2.5x to 10x the cost of other viable options. The schools are a bit out of touch with the averae opticians needs, the Roane State University site even says:

    http://www.roanestate.edu/keyword.as...ord=OPTICIANRY
    The average salary for opticians in East Tennessee is around $36,000 with starting salaries about $25,000.
    If more opticians need to be educated before licensure can even be a possibility wouldn't the disparity in cost and acceptance of education need to be addressed.

    Number of issues their is no magic bullet, I think education is needed, but our countries education system has a set of problems all their own.
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  10. #35
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Rate of pay is more tied to the cost of living in your geo area than by licensure. Licensed states tend to pay more, but this is due to the cost of living index's of these states. I make way more in a metro area than my brothers and sisters in rural Texas. Same holds true for NYC vs rural NY.

    Doctors, both OD and MD benifit by having highly trained staff. Less re-makes, better troubleshooting, patient satisfaction and retention, the list goes on.

    One other area optician licensure could help all doctors is in the fight against on-line eyewear. When you have licensure laws that state that the final fit has to be approved by a licensed optician...they can't do that over the net. Why some of these states with licensure haven't gone after this illegal practice is beyond me...

    You can't mandate education without licensure. Licensure has to come first. Then you can ensure you have at least a basic level of training for all calling themselves opticians.

  11. #36
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    To Education or not to educate, that IS the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    You can't mandate education without licensure. Licensure has to come first. Then you can ensure you have at least a basic level of training for all calling themselves opticians.

    OK, so taking your argument of Licensure before education:

    I live in Illinois, an unlicensed state, In order for me to become a licensed optician if your argument were to be passed I would have o go back to school for some period of time to get a degree. What about the last 22 years I have been out here training, teaching, working, learning, leading?
    Under your program, I'm out of luck and have to close up shop. How do you handle this situation? How do you take into account experiential learning for those already on the ground? This is where the argument has its core concerns. Its not the new young opticians coming in, its all the ones already here. Do you grandfather them in? If you do that you nullify the license. Do you exclude them and tell them to start over? Then you loose support. Do you allow them a window of time to take prescribed CE to get on board. Oh, wait there's an idea! There was another organization in eyecare that did that.. now which one one is... oh never mind it will come to me. Oh wait that wont work because the organization that approves the CE is seen as a bunch of numb-skulls that haven't figured out there Certification is worth less than the paper its printed on. At least in an unlicensed state.


    As my mentor did before me, I will sit for my Masters exams and write my paper this coming year. I apprenticed under a Master Optician and now my time has come but being a Master Optician is a marketing piece, this is a business first and foremost. My proving my ability has little to do with a test and more to my being able to do it real time in. I have seen many a 'Certified Optician' that couldn't hold a screw driver.

    We convince ourselves that we are in a medical profession on par with Optometrists because it makes us feel better. We are not. We are tradesmen and salespeople. we work in a retail environment that in some areas brushes on healthcare, but that is not our domain. Would it not be better to think of opticianry as more akin to an electrician or some other trade? These trades have prescribed journeyman programs. Maybe instead of looking to Optometry for a blue print we should look to other trades for a formula to cohesion, licensure and sustainability.

    This is all of course IMHO.

    KC

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    Opticianry is faced with three interlocked and formidable challenges. The first is education. Without education, there can be no meaningful professional advancement in a health related area. The second is licensure. The argument here centers around quantifiable knowledge and skills possessed by the field wishing to be licensed and how such a move will best protect the public. If opticianry wishes licensure without education, it is necessary to convince state authorities that its internal training mechanism is so strong that formal education is unnecessary. This is the third problem. A reasonable and consistent base of knowledge simply does not exist. This is one of the reasons a huge percentage of working opticians cannot demonstrate mastery of the most elementary of skills.

    These are all issues that should have been addressed decades ago. What we are currently discussing is the culmination of generations of feckless opticianry leadership choosing to punt this problem on down the road.

    Roy

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    Master OptiBoarder Darryl Meister's Avatar
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    I think there is an underlying misconception in some of these posts regarding licensure and formal education. They are not inextricably linked.To the best of my knowledge, no licensed state requires a 2-year degree to obtain a license. There may be exceptions, but I believe this to be the general rule.

    Sufficient apprenticeship experience -- e.g., 3 years of on-the-job training -- combined with a passing score on the written and/or practical exams will still earn you a license in many states. In fact, in many licensed states, I believe that you are still required to pass the exams, even with a 2-year degree.

    Consequently, a lack of opticianry programs or other forms of formal education does not preclude state licensure or vice versa, although formal education would certainly be required to expand the scope of practice of opticianry beyond basic spectacle dispensing.
    Darryl J. Meister, ABOM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister View Post
    Consequently, a lack of opticianry programs or other forms of formal education does not preclude state licensure or vice versa, although formal education would certainly be required to expand the scope of practice of opticianry beyond basic spectacle dispensing.
    http://www.nfos.org/mission.asp

    I found the above association. The list of schools is at http://www.nfos.org/schoolsindex.asp?SchoolState= ... The Mission for the site says:

    The National Federation of Opticianry Schools is an association of opticianry schools dedicated to facilitating the development of formal educational programs in identified areas of need; upgrading the standards of opticianry education; facilitating the exchange of teaching methods; working for the uniformity of formal education in opticianry; and aiding other national opticianry associations as deemed mutually beneficial.

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    I think NJ requires an Associates Degree in Applied Optics.

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    Degree in Science

    Quote Originally Posted by fjpod View Post
    I think NJ requires an Associates Degree in Applied Optics.
    I'm all for a Bachelor's in Science - to mirror the ABDO model.

    :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by FVCCHRIS View Post
    I wish I could add something. But I can't. Politics almosy always leads people to wonder why they even bothered. I wish you luck, although here in the U.S. I think Opticianry has some much more basic things to be concerned about. I can tell you're driven in your field. Don't let it drive you nuts! Remember what my old football coach said- "all anyone can ever ask is that you do your best". I hope your best is appreciated by the professionals you work alongside. :)
    FVCChris - Thanks for this - you're absolutely correct - I can only give my personal best, but I also play to win! :D Regardless of any appreciation, I am passionate about my patients, and absolutely hate the stories I hear over and over as I travel - clients who haven't been informed, don't know what they bought, aren't sure what it's supposed to do ... etc.

    Thanks again Chris for the pep talk, sometimes I take myself way too seriously.:cheers:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister View Post
    I think there is an underlying misconception in some of these posts regarding licensure and formal education. They are not inextricably linked.To the best of my knowledge, no licensed state requires a 2-year degree to obtain a license. There may be exceptions, but I believe this to be the general rule.

    Sufficient apprenticeship experience -- e.g., 3 years of on-the-job training -- combined with a passing score on the written and/or practical exams will still earn you a license in many states. In fact, in many licensed states, I believe that you are still required to pass the exams, even with a 2-year degree.

    Consequently, a lack of opticianry programs or other forms of formal education does not preclude state licensure or vice versa, although formal education would certainly be required to expand the scope of practice of opticianry beyond basic spectacle dispensing.
    Your right it doesn't but if n optician gets a degree, why should it matter if the school is COA Acredited or not? In this current model the studentwould still have to complete an aprenticeship program and start from scratch just as a novice would. Even though they would be more than likely a step ahead.

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    Master OptiBoarder Darryl Meister's Avatar
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    why should it matter if the school is COA Acredited or not?
    Academic accreditation ensures that schools offer consistent, quality education that meets minimum education standards. Without accreditation, anyone could open up a website with a shopping cart to sell degrees in opticianry, or any other field for that matter. And then what point would the degree serve?

    The chances of someone receving the same level of education from a non-accredited school is unlikely, since this is typically not the lure of these programs, which more often than not focus on fast degrees with minimal participation. Besides, if the school actually meets the minimum education standards, there would be no reason not to seek accreditation.
    Darryl J. Meister, ABOM

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarySue View Post
    I'm all for a Bachelor's in Science - to mirror the ABDO model.

    :)
    A NY licensed optician I know, with a BA in psychology, and many years of experience, was not allowed to sit for the licensing exam in NJ because she didn't have at least an AS in applied Optics.

    Inter-state issues aside, there really should be a way for experience credentials to count for something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister View Post
    Academic accreditation ensures that schools offer consistent, quality education that meets minimum education standards. Without accreditation, anyone could open up a website with a shopping cart to sell degrees in opticianry, or any other field for that matter. And then what point would the degree serve?

    The chances of someone receving the same level of education from a non-accredited school is unlikely, since this is typically not the lure of these programs, which more often than not focus on fast degrees with minimal participation. Besides, if the school actually meets the minimum education standards, there would be no reason not to seek accreditation.
    Accreditation comes from many organizations, the COA is a fairly new organization yet it is the accepted standard amoung licensed states for an education. These agencies are trusted bodies yet one of the COA's commissioners was caught buying a dimploma from a diploma mill as you suggested above. There are other avenues of education out there available to opticians, I would think if we want educated opticians we would start with more education before the process of whittling them down begins. Also keep in mind that many of the smaller schools and schools in unlicensed states will have a smaller pool of students to draw from and every cost incurred can make or break them. The unlicensed states again will be handicapped by the smaller pool of potential students, I can see a divide here.

  22. #47
    OptiGeek Wes's Avatar
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    Angry the problem is definitely in the "leadership"

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryChiling View Post
    Great post 24/7 and from my perspective your right very few opticians will respect you the more education you get
    They don't, in my experience.

    I work in a military optical lab, and have been affiliated with them since 93, so I've got quite a bit of time in this organization. There's a reason I'm telling you this.

    Many of my coworkers, especially the older seasoned ones say things like" why are you doing all of that?" When they see me studying or getting my higher certifications. Some even try to discourage me. The younger ones are either indifferent or supportive, depends on their mindset. The supervisors are nearly hostile. When I picked up my first AC last year, the lab chief said, and I quote "that aint gonna do you no good here". It has also been suggested to me that I should take my AC certification down from my desk because its pi$$ing folks off since it makes me look smarter than them. I have not taken it down.

    I wrote my masters paper and submitted it a few days ago, and when I told the "bosses" just a few minutes ago, the head boss didn't even blink. Didn't say a word. Just walked out of the lab and went home.
    This is the hostility I get for trying to excel.

    As I've stated in other posts, if I could find another place thatd pay me like the govt, with similar benefits, I'd be out of here, but the compensation package is just too good to leave.

    Lack of education is clearly not the only problem, its also apathy, jealousy, and hostility to education.
    Wes

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    ATO Member HarryChiling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wss2020 View Post
    They don't, in my experience.

    I work in a military optical lab, and have been affiliated with them since 93, so I've got quite a bit of time in this organization. There's a reason I'm telling you this.

    Many of my coworkers, especially the older seasoned ones say things like" why are you doing all of that?" When they see me studying or getting my higher certifications. Some even try to discourage me. The younger ones are either indifferent or supportive, depends on their mindset. The supervisors are nearly hostile. When I picked up my first AC last year, the lab chief said, and I quote "that aint gonna do you no good here". It has also been suggested to me that I should take my AC certification down from my desk because its pi$$ing folks off since it makes me look smarter than them. I have not taken it down.

    I wrote my masters paper and submitted it a few days ago, and when I told the "bosses" just a few minutes ago, the head boss didn't even blink. Didn't say a word. Just walked out of the lab and went home.
    This is the hostility I get for trying to excel.

    As I've stated in other posts, if I could find another place thatd pay me like the govt, with similar benefits, I'd be out of here, but the compensation package is just too good to leave.

    Lack of education is clearly not the only problem, its also apathy, jealousy, and hostility to education.
    Wes
    I could see why there were no programs available to the older generation and by the time there were many either felt they were too old for it to make a difference in their careers or they felt they were better. I respect the ehck out of your drive, I love seeing bigger, better, badder opticians. I like you think that their is hostility, these older folks also are the ones who consistently push for aprenticeship programs and the like look where that has gotten the profession. I hear the number of years worn as a badge on a daily basis here and elsewhere yet the guy with the education is better off leaving their mouth shut around opticians. We NEED education, but we don't WANT it.

    Wes I'm f'in proud of you man. E-mail me an address and I will send you a nice bottle of something or a cuban cigar if your a smoker.
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  24. #49
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    Standardization

    Dr. Ferguson is correct, as usual. Education must be required across all jurisdictions before Opticianry can be accepted as legitimate. Someone above mentioned that they were concerned that they would have to close up shop and go get a degree after some years of experience, which is a real concern to some, but not a valid one. What we must consider is improving the future Optician, which is where the requirements must increase. Those trained under the old formats cannot be expected to have to re-train. But even that is a problem. Those who were trained in apprenticeships seem not to want to see others get a degree they do not have. Again, an indication of a lack of understanding of the value of education. We must develop such an understanding across the country, as every other health-related field did years ago. Not just the technical aspects, but critical thinking, and other higher order skills.

    KCount above mentioned that we are a trade only, akin to the electrician and plumber, and if that is the case, then so be it. I do not think most here see themselves as merely "tradespeople", but strive for professional recognition. Remember, those master trainers are rare today, and even then can only provide the training they have mastered themselves. Opticianry is a multi-faceted field that demands we get more from our training than simply spectacle dispensing. It is more than making a pretty pair of spectacles, and requires a knowledge of optical principles I rarely see in continuing education session. He mentions Illinois, which has a fantastic Opticians Association that struggles to keep membership. In that beautiful state, it requires a single thing to be an Optician....... a pulse! The public is not being served very well by these folks who know very little. It is fine that you had your training, and I am sure you are a good Optician, but what about the others. It is about making sure the others receive an EDUCATION......different from training. Assuring the public that they are being cared for by a competent individual. You see us as a trade.......I see what we can become. Help us get out of the past, and think beyond the current hill to mountains we can still climb if we work together. If we receive the requisite education, then we can do more and licensure will be a legitimate need.

    A license is something designed to protect the public. As Darryl mentions above, it is not tied to education. In my state of NC, one of the toughest states in the country to get a license, we can still train as apprentices, and most do. Durham Tech graduates a number but the largest group annually to take the licensing exam is from the apprenticeship programs. Pass rates are abysmal because they do not get the necessary education! Many come to take the exam and have been doing what they do for a long time, expecting to pass. Eventually, when they learn what they do not know about the full scope of Opticianry tested for on the 2-day examination, they find appropriate material, study it and pass. That is not fair to those folks, and we should better prepare them in the first place. Unfortunately apprenticeship is nothing more than cheap labor in this field, and little training actually occurs. That is the fallacy of the system.

    What must happen is a standardization of the entire field across the board. A degree with a required internship, OR a well-designed training program in which those to enter the field all get the same knowledge should be instituted. It has to be accepted as valid across all jurisdictions, allowing Opticians to move from state to state. All states must institute licensure, once education is in place (remember, you must learn to drive before you get that license) and maybe then we will gain the stature we seek. In some cases, like Texas, where they have instituted a voluntary registration process with the state, a few of the thousands of Opticians there are banding together to make a difference and may just get a license without that education requirement, but it will generally be a prerequisite for licensure to occur.

    The problems.........poor leadership, and poorly motivated people. We have folks who lead the organizations, largely with no education themselves, who see education as unnecessary, and licensure as unachievable. We need radical change in the state and national organizations to provide real leadership into the future. What can we become, not what we are now should be the focus, and we are so mired in the current conundrum we cannot see beyond the current horizon. I often sound unappreciative of those volunteers who lead the organizations, and in truth, I am not. They do provide countless hours of service, which we must recognize and celebrate. BUT we do not elect the best people......they are anointed by those ahead of them by "coming up through the chairs". The leadership wants to be sure that those elected will appoint them to the correct boards with all the perks that follow, truth be told. Evidence is the long-standing folks on both the ABO/NCLE! Hell, we need a real election whereby people who have great ideas can present them to the people they serve. Currently, it is reversed. Developing new ideas is what I am talking about. It can't be worse than the current situation. The people follow the demands of the boards, and in reality have little voice.

    To the second concern: If you think about it, Opticians are well paid for what they do in most parts of the country. There is little difference between the salaries of licensed and unlicensed states (about 2500.00 a year according to my research). We are paid more than school teachers in most states and have very little in preparation in comparison. If we tout the income potential, and show we are moving in a positive direction, we will again attract the best and brightest.....not those who enter the field because it is easy! Now someone will chime in and say they work for $8.00/hour and that is all their state pays. If that is the case, you must have had tremendous difficulty finding anything else. which sounds like you may be in the wrong field, because you are well below the average in both my research and the NAO annual survey, which indicates around 40K across the country.

    Enough of this......I almost did not post on this thread, because I have said these same things over and over again for many years. I do not see any significant change happening in my lifetime, but still do not give up. Maybe I am just obsessed, but I want Opticianry to reach its potential, as Optometry has done. I wish you all well in your optical endeavors and encourage you to thing beyond what is, to what could be if we only can develop a shared vision.
    Last edited by wmcdonald; 12-31-2009 at 05:34 PM.

  25. #50
    OptiGeek Wes's Avatar
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    The Doctors are right

    Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Mcdonald seem to be the major prominent voices in favor of further education. I agree and support you, but I don't think it will ever be enough. Too many "opticians" for too long have done just enough to get by. They fear further licensure requirement, they fear education, they fear exposure as a "fraud".

    Before anyone gets their hackles up, I'm going to reiterate what I've said here many times: Optiboarders, just by the very nature of their participation, represent the cream of the crop of opticans. People that are here both want to learn, and share what they have learned. I rarely encounter opticians like this in the "real world". We often have differences of opinion, and that's ok. If we all agreed on everything, this forum would be unnecessary, as it would just be a bunch of opticians patting each other on the back.

    And Harry, thanks. That means a lot to me. Hold on to that cuban until Feb. and we can smoke a couple together.

    Wes

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