Optician Training and Certification in Tennessee

Tennessee 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 Tennessee Department of Health. The following information will be relevant to you if you are wanting to be licensed as an optician in the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee State Opticianry Law:

Licensing: Chapter 0480-01

It is unlawful for any person who is not licensed to represent himself as a dispensing optician or to hold himself out to the public as being licensed by means of using a title on signs, mailboxes, address plates, stationery, announcement, telephone listings, calling cards, or other instruments of professional identification.

General Eligibility Requirements:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Well regarded in moral character and professional ethics
  • Graduate of an accredited high school or possess an equivalency

Technical Skills and Training Requirements:

  • Must complete one of the following…
      • A two-year course of study in opticianry in a college level program
      • Practical experience and training (apprenticeship) of a grade and character satisfactory to the board for not less than three years under the supervision of a licensed dispensing optician, a licensed optometrist, or a licensed ophthalmologist.

If the applicant holds an unrestricted dispensing optician license in another state, the length of time for that state’s training and supervised experience requirements for initial licensure shall be considered as time toward fulfilling Tennessee’s three (3) year requirement.

Opticianry Degree Programs:

Optician Training in TennesseeRoane State Community College, located in Harriman, offers a 2-year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Opticianry. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to apply to take the Tennessee State Licensing Exams. To learn more about the admissions process and the steps you will need complete prior to enrollment, click here. If you are interested in viewing a detailed list of the opticianry degree plan, click here.

Examination Requirements:

Fees and Forms:

  • Application for Optician License, $270
  • Application for Apprenticeship, $110

State Contact Information:

Phone:          (615) 532-5138
Fax:              (615) 532-5369
E-mail:         tn.health@tn.gov

Tennessee State SealBoard of Dispensing Opticians
227 French Landing, Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37243

Web Site:   Tennessee Board of Dispensing Opticians

Association:   Tennessee Dispensing Opticians Association

17 Responses

  1. Christine
    Christine May 4, 2016 at 4:09 pm | | Reply

    Hi Brian,

    I have officially moved to Nashville, Tennessee from Florida and am now licensed here also. I want to keep both licenses active but I can’t find anything local that is approved by both states. Florida has course specifics too. I’ve called both boards as well as ABO/NCLE and many others but no one knows who is approved for what. I may have to return to FL every 2 yrs, ask TN for approval on the convention I attend, then do another 9 TN hrs the following year. Would you possibly have a better idea that doesn’t cost a non-reimbursable arm and leg?

    Thanks in Advance

  2. Annie
    Annie April 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm | | Reply

    I am a licensed optician in Washington State with a 2 year optician degree from Middlesex Community College in Connecticut. Is there any reciprocity between these two states?

    Thank you in advance.

  3. Tim
    Tim March 19, 2015 at 11:16 pm | | Reply

    I have looked into an online optician program that covers all the required classes of a two year program even though it is self-paced. The company is called ed2go based out of California and I was wondering if this degree is honored by and granted through the University of Tennessee? Will it be accepted the same as a two year program by the Tennessee Board of Dispensing Opticians?

  4. Christine
    Christine March 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm | | Reply

    Hi, I am a Florida licensed optician since 2007. I have my ABO/NCLE and a 3 year apprenticeship from 2002-2005. I am moving to Tennessee soon and will need to take their state required exams. I’m hoping it’s just one and a practical exam. Can anyone shed some light on what to expect and if there are any review classes that cover what is on the exam? Thanks in advance.

  5. Nick
    Nick January 14, 2015 at 8:36 pm | | Reply

    I am an apprentice optician in New York that has been wanting to move to Tennessee. Will they be able to transfer my permit to TN? I work for a national company with stores in both states.

  6. Michael
    Michael July 10, 2014 at 9:39 am | | Reply

    I am currently looking for a position in a lab or as an optician or even mangerial in the tricities area. Anyone aware of anything available right now? I am willing to work in Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport and surrounding areas.

  7. Kate
    Kate April 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm | | Reply

    My husband and I are wanting to move to Tennessee from Michigan (a non-licensing state to a state requiring licensure). Is there any grace period? I have been an optician for 12 years and am not certified but would like to be.

  8. Becca Bridges
    Becca Bridges January 27, 2014 at 9:09 pm | | Reply

    I am getting ready to sit for the practical next month. Late last year TN switched to a simulated practical (which seems simple enough, PD, SEG, and Rx neutralization), with a 75 multiple choice exam after. However, I can’t find any information on what I can expect on the latter portion.

    I didn’t know if I needed to refresh my knowledge of everything I studied for the ABO, archaic as the info is- or if it will be more current.

    I have asked the board and the testing agency, and neither have offered much help. I didn’t know if there was anyone out there that has taken it in this new format that could offer some insight.


  9. Jane Munding
    Jane Munding September 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm | | Reply

    If you are a licensed optician in the state of New York with a two year AAS degree, can you apply for a license in the state of Tennessee without taking any more exams?

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