Nebraska is one of only twenty-two states that have no official optician training and certification requirements. In unregulated states, optical employers are typically allowed to establish their own standards for opticians. Due to the many different types of establishments that exist, it is not uncommon to find opticians who have varying levels of knowledge and skill. It is important for opticians to make sure they are receiving the kind of training they need to be successful.
In unregulated states, some optical employers encourage opticians to complete formal education and certification while other businesses only train opticians to perform tasks that they consider important for day-to-day business operations such as retail sales strategies and basic frame repair procedures. All opticians, regardless of where they work, are encouraged to voluntarily complete the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Certification Exams. There are many benefits associated with being a certified optician and some employers will even offer to pay the exam fees and reimburse for any review materials that need to be purchased.
One of the benefits of being a certified optician is the fact that employers are often willing to pay certified opticians more money. Optical employers know that customers prefer to interact with opticians who they know have met national standards for competence. Credentialed opticians are an asset to an optical business and represent a competitive advantage over other optical businesses. Savvy business owners know that they can use optician credentials as a tactic for attracting and retaining customers. This can have a big impact on the financial performance of the business.
Another important benefit of voluntary certification is the ability to transfer credentials between regulated and unregulated states. Opticians who decide to move to a regulated state at some point in their professional career may find it frustrating to have to return to school, work as an apprentice, or successfully complete the certification examinations before being granted a state license. Most states will allow opticians who have been certified to apply for licensing through reciprocity.