New Policy Concerning Dispensing Opticians
Five Year Apprenticeship Program

Registered on or before May 31, 2011: Apprentices registered on or before May 31, 2011 may adopt the five year model provided that they make a request in writing to the Division of Apprentice Standards.  The request should include a written plan which includes a schedule to meet the testing requirements within five years.

Registered after May 31, 2011: In order to ensure that every apprentice meets the requirements of passing the ABO and the NCLE exams to become a fully licensed Dispensing Optician with the Board of Registration of Dispensing Opticians (the “Board”), the Division of Apprentice Standards will institute the following process:

Related Training and Testing: Apprentices can use a full dispensing optician curriculum or a test preparation curriculum to prepare for the ABO and NCLE exams. For the test preparation curriculum the equivalent of  the required 450 hours of related instruction will be granted for the preparation and taking of the ABO and NCLE exams. The test preparation component will be worth 75 hours per test preparation course, and 75 hours per test attempt, for a total of 150 hours per year. All test preparation courses must be taken from one provider for each exam. Apprentices participating in a full curriculum (not test prep) may take the ABO and NCLE exams in year 3. Please see the curriculum chart appearing in this document as a reference.

Please note:

  • Each Dispensing Optician apprentice will be required to pass both the ABO and the NCLE before receiving a completion certificate from the Division of Apprentice Standards.
  • If an apprentice in a test prep curriculum registers after May 31, 2011, and has not taken and/or passed either the ABO or NCLE exams by the end of the second year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice, licensed mentor and sponsor representative will be required to attend a meeting with the Division of Apprentice Standards to determine the reasons for the failure and  provide a written schedule to the Division of Apprentice Standards demonstrating that the apprentice can successfully complete the required exams prior to the end of the five year cycle. Apprentices participating in a full curriculum (not test prep) may take the ABO and NCLE exams in year 3.
  • If an apprentice in a test prep curriculum registers after May 31, 2011, and has not attempted 2 exams by the end of the second year, and passed one exam,  the apprentice and sponsor will be required to attend a hearing with the Division of Apprentice Standards to determine the reasons for failure and provide a written schedule to the Division of Apprentice Standards demonstrating that the apprentice can successfully complete the required exams prior to the end of the five year cycle.
  • The apprentice will be granted extensions in years four and five provided that the apprentice continues to take exams each year as scheduled.

After five years if apprentices have not passed both the ABO and NCLE exams they will be terminated by the Division of Apprentice Standards without receiving a completion certificate.  Low passage rates by sponsors will be subject to review by the Division of Apprentice Standards. The apprentice and/or sponsor may appeal the termination to the Dispensing Opticians licensing board however the Division of Apprentice Standards will only re-instate the apprentice if the licensing board allows an extension.

Year One Test Prep: 150 Hours of Related Instruction for the ABO exam as evidenced by completion of a Test Prep Course, approved by the ABO and/or the Board (must be defined specifically as a Test Prep Course) and the completion of the ABO exam. Apprentices must show evidence of registering and completing an ABO approved Test Prep course and of having attempted to take the ABO exam to the Division of Apprentice Training to become and maintain their status as a registered apprentice and progress to the next step.

Year Two Test Prep: 150 Hours of Related Instruction for the NCLE exam as evidenced by completion of a Test Prep Course (75 hours) approved by the NCLE and /or the Board (must be defined specifically as a Test Prep Course). Apprentices must show evidence of registering and completing an NCLE approved Test Prep course and of having attempted to take the NCLE exam (75 hours) to the Division of Apprentice Standards to become and maintain their status as a registered apprentice and to progress to the next step.

The order in which the ABO or NCLE exams are taken can be reversed provided that both are taken by the end of the second year.

Year Three: Evidence of successful passage of ABO and NCLE exams. Apprentices are awarded 75 hours for the passage of the ABO exam and 75 hours for passage of the NCLE exam. If apprentices pass these exams before their third year the credit will count towards their third year of credit.

Year Four (if needed): Evidence of registration of repeated attempts to pass ABO and NCLE.

Year Five (if needed): Successful passage of ABO and a plan to pass the NCLE.

COMPETENCY-BASED EXAM PREP CURRICULUM:

YEAREXAM PREP COURSEEXAM ATTEMPTEXAM PASSED
 1  75 HOURS75 HOURS75 HOURS (credit year 3)
 2  75 HOURS75 HOURS75 HOURS (credit year 3)
 3 

75 HOURS ABO

75 HOURS NCLE

(repeat attempts)

150 HOUR CREDIT
 4 REPEAT ATTEMPTS 
5 REPEAT ATTEMPTS 

FULL CURRICULUM (stores pre-approved by DPL):
YEARFULL CURRICULUMEXAM ATTEMPTEXAM PASSED
 1  150 HOURSoptional 
 2  150 HOURSoptional 
 3  150 HOURSATTEMPT EXAMS 
 4 REPEAT ATTEMPTS 
 5 REPEAT ATTEMPTS 

Work Process:  The apprentice must also complete the dispensing optician three year work process of 6000 hours under a licensed optician which is listed below. It is the responsibility of the sponsor to ensure the following subject matter is taught to the apprentice. 

235 CMR 4.04: Subject Matter Requirements for All Apprenticeships

Every apprenticeship undertaken pursuant to 235 CMR 4.00 shall provide the apprentice optician with both supervised work experience and related classroom instruction in all of the following subject areas:

  1. Lensometer measurement, including sphere, cylinder, axis, and prism measurement and marking of measurements;
  2. Lens cutting;
  3. Automatic edging of lenses;
  4. Drilling and rimless mounting of plastic lenses;
  5. Hand stone edging of lenses;
  6. Lens hardening, including drop ball testing;
  7. Use of a colmoscope;
  8. Alterations of plastic frames and lens insertion;
  9. Use of lens-measuring devices, including clocks, Geneva lens measures, thickness gauges and neutralization devices;
  10. Use of fitting tools, including pliers, files, distometers, pupillometers and frame warmers;
  11. Supervised optical fitting of eyeglasses with patients, including measurement of patients for eyeglasses, interpretation of prescriptions, selection of lens types, designing of lenses, and adjustment of eyeglasses;
  12. Principles of administrative work, including inventory control, purchasing, use of statistical studies, and formula pricing;
  13. Principles of office management;
  14. Resolution of client complaints;
  15. Use of contact lens equipment, including keratometers, slit lamps, radioscopes, cobalt light with flourescein, and measuring gauges; and
  16. Preparation and fitting of contact lenses, including keratometer measurement, corneal lens design, and lens inspection

Examples of ABO and NCLE approved Test Preparation curriculum providers are shown below.

National Academy of Opticianry                                               www.nao.org                   
Optical Training Institute                                                         www.opticaltraining.com           

Once the ABO and NCLE exams and the work process are successfully completed apprentices will receive a journeyworker certificate from the Division of Apprentice Standards which will allow them to apply to sit for the practical exam.

Management Apprentices: Apprentices wishing to participate in company management while apprenticing may work towards completing their manager status during their apprenticeship by using this new apprentice model. During this time, apprentices must demonstrate mastery of the apprentice optician work process as demonstrated by their evaluations and passage of either the ABO or NCLE exams before the end of the second year of apprenticeship. The additional two years of on the job training will allow the apprentice the opportunity to explore both career paths. During this time apprentices will sign a non-conflict of interest clause indicating that they will not be managing the licensed dispensing opticians whom are supervising their apprenticeship.

Part Time Apprentices: Many Dispensing Optician apprentices are only able to work on a part time basis.  This hybrid apprenticeship will allow these apprentices the ability to successfully complete an apprenticeship. Any apprentice working on a part time basis will be able to complete the 6000 hours necessary over a five year period. The part time apprentice must meet the same exam requirements as a full time apprentice. ie successful completion of either the ABO or NCLE exams before the end of their second year of apprenticeship.