How to Become a Licensed Optician

How do I become a Licensed Optician in Virginia?

To become licensed as an optician in Virginia, an applicant must be at least eighteen years old, have a high school diploma (GED or equivalent), be of good character as established by the Board, have satisfactorily completed a two year course from an approved school of opticianry, (or must have completed a three year apprenticeship in accordance with the standards established by the Division of Apprenticeship Training of the State Department of Labor and Industry and approved by the Virginia State Board of Opticians), and pass an examination. If an applicant has been previously licensed elsewhere he/she must be in good standing as a licensed optician in those jurisdictions, and meet the Board’s requirements. Individuals licensed out state may be eligible for license by endorsement upon approval by the Board. There is an examination fee required. Licensure is renewable biennially.

Per the regulations:

Qualifications of applicant.

A. Any person desiring to sit for an examination shall submit an application on a form provided by the board with the required examination fee. All fees are nonrefundable and shall not be prorated.

B. Each applicant shall provide information on his application establishing that he:

1. Is at least 18 years of age;

2. Is a graduate of an accredited high school, or has completed the equivalent of grammar school and a four-year high school course, or is a holder of a certificate of general educational development;

3. Is in good standing as a licensed optician in every jurisdiction where licensed;

4. Has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, sexual offense, drug distribution or physical injury, or any felony. Any plea of nolo contendere shall be considered a conviction for the purposes of this subdivision. The record of a conviction authenticated in such form as to be admissible in evidence under the laws of the jurisdiction where convicted shall be admissible as prima facie evidence of such conviction; and

5. Has completed one of the following education requirements:

a. An approved two-year course in a school of opticianry, including the study of topics essential to qualify for practicing as an optician; or

b. A three-year apprenticeship with a minimum of one school year of related instruction or home study while registered in the apprenticeship program in accordance with the standards established by the State Department of Labor and Industry Division of Apprenticeship Training and approved by the Virginia State Board for Opticians.

Examination Schedule.

The Board shall schedule an examination to be held at least twice each calendar year at a time and place to be designated by the Board. The examination application and fee must be received 60 calendar days prior to the written examination.

Content of Optician examination.

The optician examination given by the board will include the following topics:

1. Ophthalmic materials;
2. Ophthalmic optics and equipment;
3. Ophthalmic spectacle lens grinding;
4. Prescription interpretation;
5. Theory of light;
6. Finishing, fitting and adjusting of eyeglasses and frames;
7. Ethics of relationship in respect to patient and physician or optometrist;
8. Anatomy and physiology; and
9. Administrative duties.

Passing grade and reexamination.

The passing grade shall be 70% on the written section and 70% on the practical section of the examination.

1. An applicant who fails any section shall be required to be reexamined on that section and shall pay the required reexamination fee.

2. Any applicant who fails to pass the previously failed section within the next two successively scheduled examinations will be required to take and pass the entire examination and pay the full initial examination fee.

Licensing of out-of-state opticians.

A. An out of state licensed optician seeking to be licensed as an optician in Virginia shall submit an application on a form provided by the Board with the required fee. All fees are nonrefundable and shall not be prorated.

B. The Board, using the following standards, shall issue a license to an person licensed in another state who:

1. Has met the requirements equivalent to those listed above; and

2. Has passed a substantially equivalent examination.

Endorsement to fit contact lenses; examination.

The board shall administer a contact lens examination to Virginia licensed opticians desiring to obtain an endorsement of “Contact Lens Competency” to fit contact lenses. The “Contact Lens Competency” endorsement shall be mandatory for opticians to fit contact lenses.

1. The applicant must achieve a passing score of 70% on the contact lens examination.

2. Pay the fee for the contact lens examination or reexamination. All fees are nonrefundable and shall not be prorated.

Accredited Opticianry School

Reynolds Community College
Downtown Campus
Opticianry Program
700 E Jackson St. Room 512  Richmond, Va 23219

Richard McCoy, Program Director