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Thread: Licensure... is it worth it?

  1. #1
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    Licensure... is it worth it?

    Licensure... is it worth it?

    I read about how licensure offers no real benefits and only restricts the number of opticians available in certain jurisdictions. I cannot agree.
    Licensure, whether in Canada or USA, requires the formal learning of certain core competencies and provides for the blend of both theory and practical training, so that qualified ‘licensed’ opticians can usually troubleshoot almost any dispensing problem. And even with formal opticianry training, many Opticians (and even OD’s and OMD’s) need to request help from fellow OptiBoarders for a new or complex optical issue.
    It is always a false economy to hire ‘off-the-street’, and then provide only rudimentary opticianry training to save on wage costs. Yet many doctors and opticals continue to post employment ads that say “No experience necessary”. The costly and embarrassing re-dos that result from unqualified staff cannot end up being truly cost effective. The newly-trained employee will eventually want a better wage, but will still lack the necessary optical background to avoid future dispensing errors. Sure, such errors can always be blamed ‘on the lab’, but the operation still loses some credibility with the public. And with the huge wholesale costs of some specialty lenses, even a 50% redo lab credit is still very costly.
    Some untrained employees complete the basic ABO and then consider themselves qualified ‘opticians’, yet almost all could not resolve standard dispensing issues involving aniseikonia or vertical prismatic imbalance. Only mandatory formal opticianry training for all optical dispensers can resolve this broken business model.

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    Well said and very true, however I disagree on the value of licensure. There was a time I believed in licensure, but not today. The value isn’t in licensure or regulatory bodies or associations. The value is in seeking knowledge and learning everything you can about optics, then the customers will seek you out and so will employers. Customers don’t ask to see a license, they ask for results that your knowledge, experience and trouble shooting abilities bring to them. Spend your money on learning not licensure.

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    I agree, and the public usually assumes optical competency from those in a retail setting. But licensure in Canada requires the passing of formal opticianry examinations that signify some understanding of core optical competencies... and which include the 1) MUST KNOW and 2) SHOULD KNOW competencies that any qualified 'Optician' should bring to the table.

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    Part of the core problem here is that not all staff need to be licensed in licensed states. Most practices can get away with having an OD or one licensed optician on staff during business hours. The rest is a free for all.

    My experience with the majority of licensed individuals is that they know just enough to pass. Once the licensee is in hand, instead of keeping up on their knowledge, they continue to take CEs on subjects they already know, instead of expanding their knowledge. Of course, this varies from state to state. All I’m saying is that I know quite a few unlicensed opticians that can run rings around the so called licensed opticians.

    The ABO is a starting point. There needs to be a national standard for licensing, instead of individual state requirements that varies so much.

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    Getting the individual States to give up their licensing power would require a huge state-federal agreement much like Canada’s ‘Agreement on Internal Trade’ (AIT). Our National (federal ) government realized that there was much waste and inefficiencies in Canada’s ten (10) Provinces all making interprovincial border rules that stifled labour mobility, trade and competition. So Canada’s 10 Provincial Premiers managed to get together and all agreed to basic licensure reciprocity for every trade, profession and occupation in Canada. Anyone licensed in one province could move to another province and ‘exchange’ their license without the need of any further examinations, and no one would look behind a provincial license.
    In opticianry, government asked the question...”Do you dispense eyeglasses in Newfoundland any differently than say, in Ontario or Alberta?” They received a negative response.
    So now a licensed dog groomer in Nova Scotia may move to British Columbia and automatically qualify to receive a BC dog grooming license without BC dog grooming regulators first imposing new examination requirements. Of course BC would check to see if the Nova Scotia license was in good standing, to make sure that that person was not trying to avoid some sort of disciplinary action back in his home province.
    Initially, our federal government gave a large grant to all the regulatory bodies to come up with their own Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for licensure reciprocity. When a few years passed and some provincial regulators could still not agree on a national MRA, licensure reciprocity was imposed on every regulatory agency that couldn’t demonstrate good public policy reasons for not being bound by the AIT. The result is that Canada now enjoys national ‘labour mobility’, and long distance truckers no longer have to have multiple license plates attached to their rear of their tractors to travel across our country.
    The Canadian AIT was signed in 1995 and finally in 2007, labour mobility and licensure reciprocity was imposed on all regulators in Canada, unless a provincial government was awarded an exemption on public policy reasons.
    It took a lot of good will among regulators and over 12 years for Canadian licensure reciprocity to arrive. And that is without Canadian ODs becoming involved. But some ODs here still hire ‘No experience necessary’ staff for their optical dispensaries, under the fiction that these newbies are being supervised by the doctor. So, many of your Maryland issues are still present here in Canada.

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    its not the great thing you think it is Ted:

    there is only true labor mobility without licensure

    mandated CE is not mandated learning
    Last edited by idispense; 05-01-2018 at 09:19 AM.

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    It's the mandatory formal education part of licensure that I support. But once licensed, I agree not much new learning takes place through mandatory Continuing Education Credits (CEC).

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    Ghost in the OptiMachine OptiBoard Silver Supporter Quince's Avatar
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    I know that in my company, we have had better luck hiring 'off the street' compared to hiring people from corporate environments. We prefer to train from scratch but also strongly encourage getting certified.

    Being independent and accepting RXs other places won't, has provided opportunities for further education in that we make our own decisions as to what we offer and as new challenges arise, we take it as a chance to conquer a new obstacle.

    I guess what I'm getting at, is that environment has everything to do with growth. Someone who is content at Eyemart in a licensed state is not necessarily a better optician than your average Joe or Jane at the local optical shop who is not certified. I know we've had this convo before- but it still stands true.

    lensmanmd hit the nail on the head- ABO is a good starting point.
    Have I told you today how much I hate poly?

  9. #9
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    Fabricating eyewear in a lab from a written prescription require a completely different skill set than the competencies required by a ‘licensed’ optician. So I agree that off-the street hiring can be as effective in lab work as corporate lab training, given an intelligent and motivated ‘apprentice’.
    ABO is a good start, but for what? In my view to proceed to ABO-Advanced.
    Yet regulators in many licensed States require formally educated opticians to pass only ABO-basic as part of their registration process, and many ODs/OMDs are satisfied to see their staff achieve only this ABO entry-level credential. And the ABO generates boatloads of cash each year by maintaining this status quo.

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