Optician Training and Certification in California


California is one of only twenty-three states that require optician licensing. Rules and regulations regarding optician training requirements, licensing, and certification are set by the The Medical Board of California. The following information will be applicable to you if you are wanting to be licensed as an optician in the state of California. Before the Medical Board of California can issue a license, a criminal record clearance must be received from both the state Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Licensing:

The state of California differentiates between Spectacle Lens Dispensers & Contact Lens Dispensers when it comes to licensure. If you are wishing to perform tasks associated with both spectacle lenses and contact lenses, then you will need to be licensed for both.

Spectacle Lens Dispensers: Sections 2559.1 – 2559.6

No individual may fit and adjust spectacle lenses unless the registration requirement of the State of California is complied with, and unless the individual is a duly registered spectacle lens dispenser or the individual performs the fitting and adjusting under the direct responsibility and supervision of a duly registered spectacle lens dispenser.

Examination Requirements:

Optician Training in CaliforniaContact Lenses: Sections 2560 – 2564.6

No individual may fit and adjust contact lenses, including plano contact lenses, unless the registration requirement of the State of California is complied with, and unless the individual is a duly registered contact lens dispenser or the individual performs the fitting and adjusting under the direct responsibility and supervision of a duly registered contact lens dispenser.

Examination Requirements:


Optician Training Programs:

American Career College, located in Los Angeles, provides the opportunity to complete a dispensing program that can be taken during the day for a period of 40 weeks or in the evenings for a period of 50 weeks. The program is available on all three campuses including Orange County, Ontario, and Los Angeles. Graduates are prepared to fill positions as Optical Lab Technicians, Contact Lens Fitters, Optical Dispensers, and Vision Center Retail Staff. You can check out their website to learn more about the program and the online application.


Fees and Forms:

  • Initial registration fee ($100).
  • Renewal fee ($100).
  • Delinquency fee ($25)

State Contact Information:

Phone:          (916) 263-2382
Fax:              (916) 263-2487
California State SealEmail:           webmaster@mbc.ca.gov

2005 Evergreen Street, Ste 1200     Sacramento, CA 95815

Web Site:     The Medical Board of California

Association: California Association of Dispensing Opticians

19 Responses

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  1. Ann
    Ann July 4, 2014 at 1:34 am | | Reply

    Hi Frank,

    I used to work at an independent optometrist office. I never got my license as an optician nor was I ever labeled as one but part of my duties then included fitting/dispensing eyewear, repairing frames, and taking basic measurements (PD, fitting heights). Was that illegal?

  2. Angela
    Angela March 9, 2014 at 10:47 am | | Reply

    Hi Brian,

    I currently live in Virginia. I am a licensed optician and also have my ABOC. I am currently working on my NCLE classes to sit for my exam in 2015.

    Will I be able to transfer my license to be able to work in California?

    On a side note, due to some of the emails I read on this website. I attended J.Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA they are an accredited Opticianry Program. They offer online classes and live lectures. In other words, I was able to ask the professor any questions and speak to other classmates. This is an incredibly awesome school! Their curriculum is recognized by the board. Penn Foster’s curriculum is not recognized by the board, I called them to verify this information when I was looking for a school.

  3. Frank
    Frank February 20, 2014 at 9:13 am | | Reply

    Hey Brian,

    I’m quite new to this. If a license is expired in CA, because it has not been renewed (fees have not been paid). Can we accept a certified optician form from the American Board of Opticianry? Or would we need a updated license as well for verification?

    Thanks,
    Frank

  4. Dave
    Dave January 25, 2014 at 9:38 am | | Reply

    Hi, I am English and am moving to California (Orange County) in the Summer. In June I will take my dispensing optics exams to gain an English FBDO qualification and BSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing. Can you tell me if me being an FBDO is actually going to be of any use to me, if I want to continue my career in optics? Finding it hard to find information elsewhere. Thank you so much!

  5. Lynnette Morris
    Lynnette Morris October 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm | | Reply

    I held an ABOC for a few years but let it expire as I have proven my worth as an optician in Delaware, where licensing is not required. Would renewing my ABOC make me eligible to work in California or is there a state license required?

    Lynnette

  6. Jean
    Jean June 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm | | Reply

    Can you please tell me what the ramifications may be if one is pretesting (auto refracting, visual fields, Optomap etc.) and dispensing without being fully trained or licensed? Thank you.

  7. Pamela
    Pamela March 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm | | Reply

    Hi!
    Am I correct in stating that this above mentioned Optician Training Program isn’t the only one for the State of California that the State recognizes. When You do searches, there are other schools in California that prepare you for the exams in California?
    Thank You in advance.

  8. mohammad towfiq teraky
    mohammad towfiq teraky March 2, 2013 at 1:35 am | | Reply

    I currently live in Syria, but am wanting to become an optician. I was curious if there are any good online training programs available?

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