New Jersey is one of only twenty-three states that require optician licensing by law. Rules and regulations regarding optician training requirements, licensing, and certification are established by the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians. The following information will be relevant to you if you are wanting to be licensed as an optician in the state of New Jersey.
New Jersey State Opticianry Law:
Any person entering into employment in an ophthalmic dispensing establishment for the purpose of obtaining practical experience and skill as a licensed ophthalmic dispenser or ophthalmic technician shall register as an apprentice with the board.
General Eligibility Requirements:
- Holds a high school diploma or equivalent
Technical Skills and Training Requirements:
- Has fulfilled either of the following…
- Holds an associate degree in ophthalmic science or its equivalent from an accredited institution and has worked full-time as an apprentice ophthalmic dispenser under the supervision of a licensed ophthalmic dispenser for not less than 4 months nor more than 1 year prior to taking the examination.
- Has served not less than 36 calendar months as an apprentice dispenser, during which time, has satisfactorily completed not less than the requisite number of school hours of board approved courses in ophthalmic science, said number of hours to be determined by the board.
- Upon completion of the first 12 months as a dispensing apprentice and satisfactory completion of the requisite educational requirements, an apprentice shall be required to take and pass a qualifying technical examination administered by the board.
- An apprentice who fails to pass the examination may attempt to pass 2 subsequent examinations for a total limit of three.
- Upon accumulation of not less than the requisite number of school hours and the required supervised employment, the apprentice shall be eligible to take the examination for licensure.
- A more detailed outline of this process can be found here
- Information about the upcoming state board examination can be found here
Opticianry Degree Programs:
1) Camden County College, located in Blackwood, offers a 2-year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing. This program gives you the skills and knowledge you need to obtain licensure in any state that regulates opticianry. Graduates are also eligible to sit for the New Jersey State Board Exam after working only four months as an optician trainee.
The Ophthalmic Science Department at Camden County College also offers a 3-year Ophthalmic Dispensing Apprentice Program that allows individuals to complete the coursework required to become a licensed optician on a part-time basis. Students are required to work at least 32 hours per week in the optical field. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the New Jersey State Board Exam to become a licensed optician.
2) Essex County College, located in Newark, offers a 2-year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Vision Care Technology. The College will generally require you to complete a placement exam in order to assess which courses are right for you. They may require that you complete developmental courses in Reading, English, and Mathematics before taking the core curriculum courses. It is also recommended that you complete courses in Trigonometry, Biology, and Physics at the High School Level. A minimum of 71 credit hours are required to complete the degree program.
Upon completion of the degree program, graduates are eligible to sit for the New Jersey State Board Exam to become a licensed optician. Graduates may also elect to obtain American Board of Opticianry (ABO) Certification. You can learn more about the details of the program by visiting the division website.
3) Raritan Valley Community College, located in Branchburg, offers a 2-year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Ophthalmics. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the College’s ophthalmic laboratory and on-campus clinic. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the New Jersey State Licensing Examination. You can learn more about the program and its curriculum by visiting the department website.
Fees and Forms:
- Application for Apprentice Ophthalmic Dispenser, $300
- Application for Apprentice Ophthalmic Technician, $100
- Application for Temporary Permit to Practice Ophthalmic Dispensing, $100
- Application for Apprentice Ophthalmic Dispenser
- Application for Apprentice Ophthalmic Technician
- Application for Temporary Permit to Practice Ophthalmic Dispensing
State Contact Information:
Phone: (973) 504-6435
Fax: (973) 273-8075
E-mail: Submit Here
Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers
PO Box 45011
Newark, NJ 07101
State Association: Opticians Association of New Jersey