The Society To Advance Opticianry (SAO) was established by a diverse group of opticians that believe
formal education is necessary for opticianry to grow and flourish as a
Opticianry is the only field of the three O’s that has no formal
education as an entry point. Only twenty two states require licensure or
registry of opticians. The remaining twenty eight don’t have even
minimal standards to work as an optician.
Those states that do require licensure generally require passage of
the National Opticianry Competency Exam (NOCE) administered by the
American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the Contact Lens Registry Exam
(CLRE) administered by National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE).
One of the goals of the SAO is to increase mobility and reciprocity
between states for opticians. That will necessarily include
standardization of licensure requirements among states and will
certainly include passage of both of these exams.
Those who have earned a degree of some type have shown they have a
certain level of critical thinking ability demanded by our ever changing
ophthalmic marketplace. When opticians have earned an advanced
certification from the American Board of Opticianry or National Contact
Lens Examiners they have demonstrated a higher level of knowledge and
skill than an optician that hasn’t earned those certifications.
A student who has earned an associate degree or associate in applied
science degree in opticianry has likewise demonstrated a higher level of
learning and skill. Someone that desires to be recognized as an expert in ophthalmic
optics should have a well rounded knowledge of all the disciplines in
our field. That includes keeping current with the ever changing
technologies in spectacle and contact lenses.