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Steps to Become an Optician in Georgia

Georgia is one of the best-paying states for opticians in the US. As a licensed dispensing optician in Georgia, your work will primarily involve filling the written prescription orders issued by optometrists and ophthalmologists, and fitting customers with eyewear. Opticians also play an educative role by advising customers on how to care for their vision aids. The opticianry practice in Georgia is regulated by the Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians. To become an optician in Georgia, you need to either complete a formal Opticianry education program or 3,000 hours as a registered apprentice, as well as seek licensure. Outlined below are key steps to help you in preparing for practice in Georgia.

Optician Education Requirements

Formal training for opticianry practice in Georgia can be acquired by enrolling in an educational program or completing an apprenticeship. Under the authority of the TCSG (Technical College System of Georgia), various technical colleges in Georgia’s cities offer opticianry training programs. Programs are offered at the certificate, diploma, and associate’s degree levels. Most certificate programs can be completed in six months, while associate’s degree and diploma programs are designed to be completed in 24 months. Through training, students acquire entry-level skills for opticianry practice. Certificate programs cover the basic areas of vision care such as theory in optics, eye physiology and care of contact lenses. Associate degree and diploma programs prepare students for licensure by providing more intensive training in vision care, and integrate a clinical practicum. Students also receive training in customer service skills and business concepts. It is recommended that you select a program accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation. On the other hand, if you wish to complete an apprenticeship instead of formal opticianry education, you need to submit an application to the Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians. The board provides guidelines for apprenticeship training.

Georgia Optician Certification Requirements

In order to validate your competencies in opticianry, the Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians requires you to undergo a certification process. This involves taking the national certification written and practical exams given by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE). You will be required to take the basic certification and practical exams, which will assess your knowledge and skills in ophthalmic dispensing. You may check with the ABO-NCLE website for specific details on testing centers and testing dates.

Georgia State Optician Licensing Requirements

Applicants for licensure in Georgia are required to submit proof of graduation from an approved Opticianry program or 3,000 hours as a registered apprentice. Applicants for licensure in Georgia are required to present their ABO-NCLE written and practical certifications to the Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians.  Successful candidates are issued a two-year renewable license to practice as a licensed dispensing optician (LDO).

Maintaining Proficiency Through Continuing Education

The Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians requires applicants for renewal of licensure to have completed ten hours of continuing education during the two-year licensure period. The ten hours of continuing education must include two hours in contact lenses and one hour in Georgia law.  In addition, the ABO-NCLE certifications must be renewed every three years. Proof of Georgia licensure may be submitted in lieu of continuing education to satisfy the renewal requirements for ABO-NCLE certifications. The ABO-NCLE website provides details on continuing education requirements for the basic and advanced certifications.

Georgia Optician Salary and Potential Pay

Atlanta is one of the best practicing locations for opticians in Georgia. The annual salary range in Atlanta falls between $39,700 and $51,800. This does not include bonuses and benefits, which further raises an optician’s overall earnings. Although Athens has a population of about 117,000, which is about one-quarter of Atlanta’s population, the annual salary range is similar to that of Atlanta. A similarly high annual salary range is found in Roswell, which holds a population of about 90,000. Here, opticians earn between $39,700 and $51,800. In Columbus, which has a population of close to 200,000, the annual salary falls between $37,100 and $48,400. In Savannah, the annual salary for the profession ranges between $35,900 and $45,900. Most opticians in Macon earn between $37,000 and $48,200, while in Albany, most opticians earn between $32,900 and $42,900.

Resources

American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE)

Commission on Opticianry Accreditation

Georgia Optometric Association

Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians

Opticians Association of Georgia

Opticianedu.org

Salary.com


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