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Thread: student seeking interview

  1. #1
    OptiBoard Novice
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    Hi my name is selina and I am a student in the HCC optician's program, I have been asked to interview an optician for my first homework assignment.
    1. How long have you been an optician?
    2. What did you do before you became an optician and what got you interested in the optical field?
    3. If you had one piece of advice to give to new people going into the field, what would it be?
    4. What do you enjoy most about being an Optican?
    5. How do you feel about apprenticeships, do you think that they should be cancelled.

    Thank you so much for your help

    selina

    [This message has been edited by selina (edited 08-31-2000).]

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder karen's Avatar
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    Selina, I 'll get this started and at the end, I'll nag everybody else to respond

    1.I have been an optician for 14 years- two years ago I stopped dispensing to become a wholesale lab rep.

    2. My father is an optometrist and I have been working fro him in one capacity or another since I was 13 (like cleaning the office and doing filing). when I was 18 they let me start in optical which in retrospect is really scary because I had no idea what I was doing. I moved around alot when I was younger and found that I could always find a job- good optical people are hard to find and I eventually got pretty good :)

    3. My one piece of advice would be to never stop learning and always be open to trying new things. I found after going to work for a lab that there was so much I did not know about optics that would have made me an even better optician-I am glad to have that knowledge now because you never know when I might end up doing that again. I love that our industry is always working to improve what is already out there.

    4. Meeting new people. There is always someone new everyday to help see better. This sounds corny but my very favorite thing to do is to take a pair of glasses that look like they could never be repaired and put them back together. The gratitude you get from a -8.00 on vacation with no spare pair when you fix them is like no other gratitude out there.

    5. I suppose how I got started was kind of like an apprenticeship. I think it is a good idea. It helps the apprentice figure out the kind of place they would like to be while they learn

    Selina, hope that helps-hey everybody, help out. I am sure there are some of you out there with better answers than mine!!

  3. #3
    Optical Curmudgeon EyeManFla's Avatar
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    Redhot Jumper

    1) I came into the field in 1975 as an apprentice in Washington,D.C. while studing at the University of Maryland.
    2)I was a serious music student since high school and was a choral music major. I got into opticianry right out of high school because the Dad of a trombone playing buddy of mine offered me the job to help pay for school.
    3)Know why you are coming into the business. If you think it's a great way to make money, I got news for you. Unless you own your own place as many of us do, or you work in the Northeast, forget about the big bucks. Coroprate Opticianry will rob you of your skills and then your soul. Stay focused. This is a SERVICE industry and that's why you should be here.
    4) sex, drugs and rok and roll.......Well, I have been asking myself that question for 25 years and some day I will have an answer...after I retire to Boca!
    5) NOBODY should be either certified or licensed without being in some sort of apprentice program. Quite frankly, I wouldn't hire most of the licensed Opticians I know because they have no clue about what it means to be an Optician. If you don't know how to make a lens, how can you sell it. If you don't know how a frame material works, how can you sell it. If you can't answer the hows and whys, you can't sell yourself. They don't teach that in school.
    There is a reason why they say "Those who can,do and those who can't, teach!

    If I had to do it all over again, sure, I would still make more money as a Optician than directing Church choirs or teaching school, but would I feel more accomplished...........?

  4. #4
    Optical Educator
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    Hi EYEMANFLA,

    Our program includes everything you listed, both in theory and in hands-on components. Our students will have many semester hours of hands-on "apprenticeship" "lab" "clinic" (same experiences, different names).

    It is not always true that those who cannot do, teach...

    We have never met, and if we ever had a chance to work together, you would definitely not say that of me. Just because one goes into teaching full time it doesn't mean that it is because they cannot do anything else...I took a large pay cut to teach, because I wanted to have "mother's hours" (I have two small children at home). Being home evenings and weekends is worth alot to me. This doesn't mean that I suddenly lost all the skills I have gained along the years.

    You are right in our back yard in Florida...come visit us sometime! I'll bet we'll change your opinion about teaching...

    Have a great day,

    Laurie


  5. #5
    Master OptiBoarder JennyP's Avatar
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    Redhot Jumper

    Hi Selina!
    1) I have been working in this field for 6 years. I have been an ABO certified optician for about 3 of those years, and have been NCLC for 2 years.
    2) Check the discussion that Jeff started on this subject, I have given some of my background info...
    3) Find a good place to learn outside of class... a place where at least 2 or 3 people can and are willing to answer your questions and show you how to do the daily stuff (adjustments, repairs, etc.) since a book can't help you learn how much you can bend or heat an old frame or fit a wiggly distracted child. Find a place where you are treated with respect, not abuse or ridicule.
    4) I like helping people and I like puzzles.
    Take an rx and a face and that person's sense of style, optical needs, and budget.
    From those parts, create a wonderful pair of eyewear that look, feel, and work great. And when someone comes in and says "YOU helped my husband/mother/neighbor/golf buddy and I want YOU to help me find some glasses" that warm glow will stay with you all day.
    5) If it weren't for apprenticeship in my state, I would still be just a sales person in an eyeglass store. TN has one school that offers a degree in Opticianry and I could not afford to move there for my education once I realized I wanted to do this for the next 20 years. Now with the distance learning programs becoming more feasible, I really feel that apprenticeship without class training should be phased out. My state requires ABO and NCLE certification, as well as passing a state practical exam and diploma from a 2 year opticianry school OR 3 year apprenticeship. My state also requires keeping those certifications current. It is my understanding that no optical shop can operate legally in TN without a licensed optician being on premises during all business hours. Because of this rule, my company has a good reimbursement program for the expenses I accru for renewal of certification and licensure. (I don't know the rules for optical businesses where the doctor operates the dispensary.)
    Hope you have many more posts to your questions!! jP

  6. #6
    sub specie aeternitatis Pete Hanlin's Avatar
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    Hi Selina,
    1.) I've been in the optical business since 1989. I've been certified since 1991, and I became licensed in Florida shortly after moving here in 1997.

    2.) Before I entered the optical field, I earned a B.A. degree in Theology/Philosophy from Lee University. I entered the optical field about three months after graduation (my wife had taken a contact lens tech job at a superoptical, and I thought that working in the lab looked interesting).

    3.) Make sure there's someone at your first optical job who knows what they are doing- and doesn't mind teaching you the ropes of the optical field. Also, invest in some optical textbooks (e.g., "System for Ophthalmic Dispensing," by Brooks & Borish). Ask questions and read, read, read.

    4.) I enjoy the technical aspects of Opticianry the most (figuring out "why" a patient is having problems with a prescription, and coming to a successful conclusion by applying optical formulas, etc.). I also enjoy demonstrating products that can improve a patient's visual comfort (e.g., polarized lenses, ARC, computer lenses, low vision devices, etc.).

    5.) Do I think I (or anyone else who has the knowledge and communication skills needed to teach a profession through guided experience)could successfully apprentice someone to the point that they would be a Professional Optician ? <FONT COLOR=#00FF00>Yes</FONT>. Do I think the current state of "apprenticeship" as a whole is producing superior opticians? <FONT COLOR=#FF0000>No</FONT>. Ideally, apprenticeship should be replaced by education requirements. Realistically, it would be productive for the field to come up with a better defined system for apprenticeship.

    It is my hope that one or all of the new distance learning programs that have appeared over the past year will provide the capacity to make formal education practicable. For that to happen, it would probably be best for one of the programs to become the standard for all.

    Good luck with your education. I hope you find OptiBoard to be a useful tool in the process of learning the trade.

    Pete Hanlin, LDO, ABOM

    [This message has been edited by Pete Hanlin (edited 09-01-2000).]

  7. #7
    Master OptiBoarder Jeff Trail's Avatar
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    Originally posted by EyeManFla:
    1)
    5) NOBODY should be either certified or licensed without being in some sort of apprentice program. Quite frankly, I wouldn't hire most of the licensed Opticians I know because they have no clue about what it means to be an Optician. If you don't know how to make a lens, how can you sell it. If you don't know how a frame material works, how can you sell it. If you can't answer the hows and whys, you can't sell yourself. They don't teach that in school.
    There is a reason why they say "Those who can,do and those who can't, teach!
    Being a little harsh aren't ya? .. First I work with A LOT of "opticians" that got their lic. through sponsorship and some of the questions I get from them are down right scary..As for you saying "if you don't know how to make a lens how do you sell it?" .. well the VAST majority of sponsorerd opticians I deal with on a daily basis as a wholesale lab owner have NEVER set foot in a lab, be it surface or just finishing...WHILE, if you want to check out the program that Hillsbourough is offering, DO make you WORK in a lab (surface and edge) as well as dispensing :) .. they HAVE an actual lab on the campus that is used to teach with...as for "they don't teach the how's and why's in school"..hmm I think you might have got this backwards.. it's just the opposite.. you get ALL the theories behind the optics as well as refraction and physiology..while most of the sponsor people I know do NOT teach the sponsored person the theoretical side to go along with the physical side...and that last line "those that can do, do, and those that can't teach" ... another shot that is uncalled for in my opinion... I have "taught" classes both at my local college as well as give seminars to my accounts.. AND I own a wholesale optical lab, as WELL as two retail locations, with I figure, a little over 15 years in the optical business.. I'm not looking to bash ya, but just telling you I think your opinion of the classes being offered to get the degree at Hillsbourough are not based on the facts.. just check out all the classes required before bashing us "students" ..yes I am TAKING some classes as well and I do THINK I understand optics fairly well :) ..
    Hey everyone is entitled to an opinion and I'm sure nothing I said will change your's but you might want to take a few minutes and see what the school is REQUIRING these guys to do to get the degree, and not be so quick to judge them..

    Jeff "I always try to keep an open mind" Trail


  8. #8
    Master OptiBoarder Texas Ranger's Avatar
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    Selina,
    1.2. Since I started in the lab in '65, I cna barely remember B.O. But I was a Navy Corpsman from '66 to '69, go to work with the Ohthalmologist(a Commander) at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. they also sent me to audiometry(hearing testing) school in Pensacola,Fl., then I went to Vietnam with a Seabee(construction) battalion for all of '68. When I got back to the world, I rehabbed a while, then went back to work for my uncle's optical company. It was way safer!
    3. learn all you can about optical science, applied optics, refracting and how to get along with all of mankind, and learn what your boundaries are.
    4. Since I have owned my own shop for 25 years, and work as an independent optician, I love working with long time clients, solving evolving problems; I enjoy making a good living, setting my own work schedule, dealing with the vendors I choose. My sons work with me in the shop and that's real special too.
    5. Well, in florida, where you're regulated by a state licensing board, with required apprenticeship, I think it's a great thing, if not abused. Of, course, I'm in the great unlicensed state of Texas, where major optical retailers having their home offices here have lobbied successfully for no minimum comptency standards. so, basically, they don't care here if you got out of jr. high, much less have a formal education and apprenticeship. Who cares so long as your "rollin back" the prices?

    and a P.S.: Some of the very best opticians I know are teaching! And I congratulate all their fine dedication to our mutual best interests. Hooray for Laurie Pierce, Ed August, Joe Soliceto, and others who make it possible for us to continue to learn, and Ed DeGennaro, too!

  9. #9
    Bad address email on file stephanie's Avatar
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    Redhot Jumper

    Hi Selina, I have been in the optical field for almost 4 years. I used to be a waitress and after the restaurant I worked at for 4 years went out of business, I answered an ad in the paper hoping someone would have mercy on me. I was lucky to find that the doctor was a former customer of mine, and he hired me on the spot! I am an apprentice optician now with one year on the program to go. I passed the ABO back in May by pure luck. I think the apprentice program is good if you have someone willing to help you study and help you through it. However I don't think it is a very good idea for someone who doesn't learn well out of a book. Remember the people at school are being paid to teach you this and that is their job. People at work may have your best interest at heart,but for the most part you are on your own. I would strongly reccomend anyone getting interested in this field to go to school!!!! It is so difficult doing it this way. If I had it to do over again I would have definately went to school. While I am a very good lab tech it wasn't until I was preparing to take the ABO that I realized that there was a lot of technical terms that I didn't know. I might know how to do it, but I needed to call it something and there was a formula to figure it out. Even though in the lab I knew how to get the right answers I had to know the how and the why of it. I love the work I do. It is very fullfilling being able to do something to make people see better. I can't tell you how interesting I think the work is!! How in the world can we take plastic,poly, and glass and make people see through it is truly amazing to me to this day!!!!! I knew from the moment I was put into the lab it was what I wanted to do forever. Hope this helps you.
    Have a great weekend!!!
    Steph

  10. #10
    Bad address email on file Suzy W's Avatar
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    Hi Selina
    1. I got started in this business almost 7 years ago. I have been certified by the ABO for 4 years and NCLE for 3 years. I think I passed the NCLE by pure luck.
    2. Before doing this I was an assistant manager at a fabric and craft store. I had come back to town after a trip overseas and the receptionist for the Dr. I now work for tracked me down. (I had been a patient of the doctor for many years before so we knew each other well) I went by the office in jeans and a sweatshirt and the whole interview was about 2 minutes. He asked if I wanted to work for him and when I could start. I knew nothing about this business when I started, but quickly grew to love it.
    3. The only piece of advice I can think of is to love this business. If you don't, I don't think that you can keep up with all the changes that are going on and keep you patients enthused about their eyewear .
    4. I think showing younger people how the world can look is the best part of my job. I remember on teenage boy that was about 15 when he got his first pair of glasses. He was so overwhelmed that he hugged his mom and thanked her for buying the glasses for him. It's seeing things like that that make the bad times a little easier to handle.
    5. I have to agree with apprenticeship programs. The Dr. I work for did all his own repairs, dispensing, etc before I started. He has taught me more than any book or article I have ever read. I don't know how you could learn most of this without someone there showing you how it's done.

    Suzy

  11. #11
    On the Sunset Tour! Framebender's Avatar
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    Hi Selina,

    1. All of my adult life. 2. Played marbles & rode my bike. 3. Always believe in your own ability to create something from nothing! 4. At 50 years old I still feel the same thrill that I did when I was 16. (I think!) Nothing ever remains the same in this business. Alot of us remember when cataract patients used to go blind. Now they can Rx the lens that's being implanted. I spend an average of 20 hours a week exploring new technologies, new styles, new business concepts & sometimes I feel like I'm barely treading water. 5. I believe that a combination of apprenticeships & formal education are the wave of the future.

    Good luck to you! I hope you turn out to be one of our best & brightest! Have fun & make money!

    Framebender

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