- Read the Bylaws set forth by The Opticians Association of Georgia, Inc.
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The state of Georgia offers two routes to licensure. This post addresses the formal education route as authorized by statutory or code law OCGA 43-29-7 which is the controlling legal authority in matters such as this.
There are two categories of schools approved by the state of Georgia. The first is state approved programs authorized by the TCSG (Technical College System of Georgia). These programs are diploma programs, as opposed to 2 year degree programs, but are authorized by state statue to permit graduates to be eligible for the state board practical exam. These programs are based on applicable eligibility criteria and allow enrollees to participate in the state of Georgia Hope Scholarship and Grant programs.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
495 N. Indian Creek Drive
Clarkston, GA 30021
Lanard C. Atkins, LDO, Program Director
Ogeechee Technical College
1 Joe Kennedy Blvd
Statesboro, GA 30458
Deborah DeLoach, LDO, Program Director
Wiregrass Technical College
4089 Val Tech Road
Valdosta, GA 31602
Gerald Wilkerson, LDO
All three state technical college programs require an application process for admission. Eligibility for taking the state board practical exam - as specified - is based strictly on completion or graduation from the program. Contact each school as provided for to obtain more information regarding enrollment, etc.
Another category of recognized schools in the state of Georgia is based on 2 year degree programs as accredited by the COA (Commission on Opticianry Accreditation) www.coaccreditation.com. The COA is the sole national accrediting agency for 2 year degree programs in the country. The unique distinction of the 2 year degree programs is in the area of academic credential transferability, as it relates to meeting licensure eligibility standards in different states based on educational attainment. Generally speaking the 2 year degree is the universally accepted definition of education across the state licensure candidate landscape. Simply put graduates of 2 year COA accredited degree programs are typically eligible for state board licensure exams – and other local state specified criteria - upon application.
While both categories of Opticianry program graduates are exempted from the requirements of apprenticeship as provided for in state statue OCGA 43-29-7 para. b-d, all category of applicants for licensure must provide evidence of passing the ABO/NCLE national certification exams to meet all the requirements of receiving a license to practice. Opticianry program graduates are also immediately eligible to take the ABO/NCLE Advanced Certification exams upon application with ABO/NCLE. The Advanced Certification programs are the intermediate steps to Master level certification in either spectacles and/or contact lenses.
At this point in time online programs from institutions such as Penn Foster and NCE (National Career Education) Center, etc., are not recognized by the Georgia state board for the purpose of licensure candidate eligibility. If licensure is not the goal, these programs and others similar may be suitable for eligibility of ABO/NCLE certification singularly, and with other non-licensed occupational categories. Licensure as opposed to various certifications, are not the same credentials. Licensure establishes professional accountability and authority to practice a designated occupation. Certification(s) in the context at issue does not. There is no such category of “partial licensure” based on registered apprentice or certification status. In any and all cases, it is strongly recommended to research all educational programs - prior to enrollment - for suitability of professional credentialing goals.
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