Updates on National Practical Exam now used in Florida

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Exam Update as June 2014

The procedures and needed steps to register for the new National Opticianry Practical Exam.

1. Once a candidate meets Florida’s educational/apprenticeship requirements and has successfully completed the ABO/NCLE exam they are eligible to complete and submit the Application for Licensure Examination. The candidate can complete the application online or download the paper version and submit it directly to the board office by mail. The application fee for the licensure is $100 and is due with the application. Note: the board now accepts credit card payments with online applications.

2. Licensure applications are reviewed by the Florida Board of Opticianry (Board) to be certified eligible to sit for the NCSORB National Optician’s Practical Examination. The eligible candidate's information is forwarded to the NCSORB office.

3. The candidate will receive a confirmation from NCSORB with further instructions including the National Practical Optician Candidate Manual, the Spectacle and Contact Lens Examination Candidate Checklist and Study Materials Overview. It is vitally important that the candidate thoroughly read both of these manuals.

4. Within 3-4 weeks of submitting your registration form and examination fee to NCSORB, you will receive an authorization letter from NCSORB. The authorization letter will provide you with the test administrator’s website and ID number to access the exam tutorials, candidate handbook, and scheduling information. The exam fee is $325 to take the combined two part exam at the same time and $275 for each part when taken separately.

The NCSORB National Optician’s Practical Examination is given in computer testing centers on a year round basis throughout the United States in a multiple-choice and skill simulation format. The NCSORB Optician’s examination is two-part, one for spectacles and one for contact lenses. An applicant must receive a passing score on both parts to obtain licensure as an Optician in Florida.

5. Candidates will be allowed to register and schedule their exam date with the exam testing center Pearson VUE only after they have completed their registration and exam payment to NCSORB. Candidates must schedule and complete their exam within 90 days of receiving the authorization letter from NCSORB, please refer to the National Practical Optician Candidate Manual for additional details on exam scheduling.

Exam Update as of January 2012

Florida Board Adopts New Licensing Exam to Start in 2012

NCSORB is very excited about the new board exams which feature a simulated testing experience as well as multiple choice examination questions.

The following documents are now available for your review:

National Practical Optician Candidate Manual

Optician Skill Examination simulation Spectacles and Contact Lenses checklist 

For additional information please visit the NCSORB website, www.ncsorb.org, which now live!

 

New Exam Adopted in November 2011

During their quarterly meeting earlier this year, the Florida Board of Opticianry voted to adopt a new two part state board exam for initial licensure that will replace the current board exam as in January of 2012.

The new exam was developed by the National Committee of State Optical Regulatory Boards (NCSORB) based on their years of research and surveys on the required competencies of opticians from member state licensing boards.

One part of the exam will test for competencies and knowledge of optics and dispensing skills and the other part on contact lenses and their fitting. Each part is designed to be two hours in length. The estimated cost of the exams will be $300 total for both parts of the exam, a significant reduction from the current $870 exam fee.

The computer based exam will test for multiple skill competencies including the computer simulation of a variety of spectacle and contact lens tasks.

Understandably, there will be many opticians and others that will be skeptical about the ability to test for opticianry skills virtually, and here is what one well respected and long time optical educator, Ed De Gennaro, MEd, ABOM had to say about the NCSORB exam in his May column on TotallyOptical.com entitled Moving Opticianry Forward’,

The developers of this simulated practical exam are to be congratulated for creating a series of tasks that are so real that you almost forget it’s a simulation. Sure, there’s a learning curve required to understand how to manipulate the various controls of the manual lensometer, the slit lamp, etc., but once you’ve done that, the realism is amazing. Even the mires of the keratometer rotate exactly as they should when you turn the barrel to align the axis for oblique toricity.”

In addition to a steep reduction in the exam fee, the other good news is it will be administered in certified testing facilities in various cities around the state of Florida on a date and in a location scheduled by the exam candidate. This will be another welcome improvement, over the current exam procedure of offering the exam only in one city twice a year.

In addition to cost savings and an increased accessibility to exam candidates, the main reason that the Opticianry Board voted to use NCSORB’s exam is a Florida law that requires all state regulatory boards to adopt the profession’s national exam, if one is available.

As of the beginning of 2011, the opticianry board was one of only three health care professions in Florida that were still administering their own exam. Since then, the board of dentistry also adopted the use of national exams for both dentists and dental hygienists. The board of optometry is the only health care profession in Florida that will be administering their own state board exam after 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are planning to take the Florida exam after October of this year, you will no doubt have plenty of questions about this new exam, and we have included ALL of the information we know about exam in this article and even if you call the office or email us, there will be nothing else that we will be tell you about the exam. Sorry And because the exam will be administered by the NCSORB and not the Board of Opticianry, the Board Office may also not be able to provide you with information on the exam until after the State Board of Opticianry meets on November 4, 2011, at Vision Preview in Ft. Lauderdale.

In the meantime, you are welcome to join in on the discussion and ask the questions you want there. We will do our best to address them the best we can and you can see any updates that we learn about the new Exam on POF’s Facebook page

Please know that POF will be working on a new State Board Exam Review for this new test as soon as we know more, which may not be until 2012.

Updates as of November 4, 2012

The FL Board of Opticianry on Nov. 4th voted to allow those candidates who failed either portion of Florida's practical examination in 2011, will only need to pass the spectacle portion of the new national exam for licensure. They will not have to take contact lens portion. Read more on this topic.

The eligibility requirements to be become a Florida Licensed optician have not changed because Florida has adopted the National Exam. To review Florida's current requirements visit our Become Florida Licensed page