Optician Training and Certification in Virginia

Virginia 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 Virginia Department of Professional Occupational Regulation. The following information will be relevant to you if you want to be a licensed optician in the state of Virginia.


Virginia State Opticianry Law:

Licensing: Chapter 15

General Eligibility Requirements:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A graduate of an accredited high school, or the equivalent
  • Has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a misdemeanor or felony

Technical Skills and Training Requirements:

  • Has completed at least one of the following…
      • A board-approved two-year course in a school of opticianry
      • A three-year apprenticeship with a minimum of one school year of related instruction or home study while registered in the apprenticeship program

Opticianry Training Programs:

1) The Navy, through its Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity (NOSTRA), offers a 24-week optical fabrication program for those wanting to become Army Optical Laboratory Specialists or Navy Opticians. There are no degrees conferred by this program, but it is a great opportunity for service members to advance their standing in the military as well as gain valuable experience in the optical industry in case they ever want to apply their skills in the civilian sector. The program is located in Yorktown. All instructional personnel have been certified by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO). For a detailed description of the program and its history, visit the NOSTRA website by clicking here.

Optician Training in Virginia2) J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (JSRCC), located in Richmond, offers a 2-year Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.) in Opticianry. This program is primarily online, but does involve on-campus patient experience at the eyeglass and contact lens clinics. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the Virginia State Licensing Examination. Applicants are expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Complete one unit of High School Algebra with a grade of “C” or better
  • Complete all developmental coursework prescribed by JSRCC placement tests
  • Completion of one unit of High School Biology and Physics is recommended

For a detailed description of the program and its requirements, you can visit the program website and view the program specifics page.


Examination Requirements:

Licensure by Reciprocity:

  • The board, using the following standards, shall issue a license to any person licensed in another state who:
      • Has met requirements equivalent to those of Virginia
      • Has passed a substantially equivalent examination

Fees and Forms:

  • Application Combined Exams, $350
  • Application Practical Exam, $125
  • Application by Reciprocity, $100

State Contact Information:

Phone:          (804) 367-8509
Fax:              (866) 245-9693
Virginia State SealE-mail:         opticians@dpor.virginia.gov

Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400
Richmond, Virginia 23233-1485

Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation

State Association:   Opticians Association of Virginia

8 Responses

  1. T
    T November 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm | | Reply

    If I take a Penn Foster course and get ABO and NCLE certified can I then sit for the state exam and get licensed in VA?

  2. Grace
    Grace November 10, 2015 at 12:55 pm | | Reply

    In the requirements above it states no misdemeanor or felony in any jurisdiction. Is that in Virginia only or does that include the entire United States?

  3. Jazmine
    Jazmine March 14, 2015 at 3:49 pm | | Reply

    Does Penn Foster offer a good program to become accredited by Virginia?

  4. Cathy Carroll
    Cathy Carroll August 29, 2014 at 9:59 am | | Reply

    Hi, I’m looking to relocate. I’ve been New York State licensed in ophthalmic dispensing for 15 years. What is the process for transferring my license to Virginia. Am I required to retake the licensing exams?

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