By Maryann Santos, Program Director, Vision Care Technology Program, Goodwin College

Certification Matters
Opticianry is a profession in which licensure varies among the states. Some states offer apprenticeship, licensure or a combination of the two. Some states recognize the gold standard for certification in our profession for licensure or registry: National Opticianry Competency Examination (NOCE) that is related to spectacles, and the Contact Lens Registry Examination (CLRE). Both are administered by the American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO/NCLE). Some states have neither apprenticeship nor licensure.

The national exams are administered four times a year: February, May, August, and November. Goodwin College is located in a licensed state. To be eligible for licensure in Connecticut, one must pass both examinations and graduate from an accredited opticianry program or complete a four-year, 8000 hour apprenticeship program.

Review Courses

Goodwin College’s Vision Care Technology program gives back to the optical community by offering review classes for the NOCE and CLRE examinations. These exams are often referred to as the ABO and the NCLE. We have had people cross state lines to attend our classes. Connecticut is a small state, so it isn’t very hard to do that! The reviews are open to both students, apprentices, and employees looking to better themselves by earning these distinctions. In lieu of payment, we ask attendees to contribute to our Transitions Food Pantry. Attendees bring non-perishable food items.

My colleague, Rebecca Soto, does a 4-hour ABO review and I do a 4-hour NCLE review. The time goes by quickly as there’s a lot of content to cover in a condensed time. Attendees vary from individuals who have been on the job for eight months to many years, to second-year opticianry students. All want to be the best they can be professionally.

Hot Topics
There are many good textbooks out there to help support learning. Sometimes, a review class helps the attendee filter out what they need to work on. They leave with a checklist of items to dig into deeper. On the optical side of the house, a common topic that attendees need to dig deeper into is prism. Compounding prism, canceling prism, how to identify prism base direction and how to calculate it, are all reviewed. On the contact lens side, a common topic that attendees dig deeper into is gas permeable lens design. What is the resulting fitting effect when the contact lens fitter/practitioner increases or decreases the lens overall diameter? What happens when the contact lens fitter/practitioner steepens or flattens the base curve of the lens? The attendees leave knowing where they are strong and where they need to spend more time.

State Societies and Opticianry Programs
Often, state societies will hold review courses. If you’re not a member of your state society, explore and see what they have to offer. In addition, if your state has an optical program, contact them about review courses. And as always, certified professionals can mentor rising opticians. For more educational opportunities, check out the CE courses at