Why Be Certified?
There are several ways that certification will benefit you and your career. Most of them fall under four main topics: public recognition; employment opportunities and increased earning power; job mobility; and the potential role of certification under managed care.
Public recognition. ABO and NCLE certification demonstrates to the public, your co-workers, and the industry that you are qualified and competent. It proves you take pride in your profession and in maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge. In particular, it identifies you to the public as a dispenser who will handle their eye wear needs with competence – someone who can be trusted to provide the quality care they want and deserve.
Employment opportunities and increased earning power. Certification is recognized by employers as a standard of competence, and it can offer tangible rewards such as increased earning power and job opportunities. According to the responding employers in a recent survey:
- 28% required certification of their employees
- 75% gave preference in hiring to certified applicants
- 75% paid higher beginning salaries to certified personnel
- 40% gave preference for promotions to ABO or NCLE certified employees
- After 10 years in dispensing, certified employees earn approximately $6,000 more per year than noncertified employees
Job mobility. ABO and NCLE certification is a national standard, not a state license and is recognized in every state and many foreign countries. In non-licensing states, certification is especially important; it is your only credential – your professional distinction. It's also interesting to note that:
- 90% of state licensing boards use the ABO and NCLE exams as the basis for state licensing
- 23% of licensing states require current ABO/NCLE certification for move-ins who apply for licensing
Potential role of certification in future health care systems. No one ever knows for sure what the future will bring, but the experts are betting that managed care is the future of health care. Credentials, such as ABO and NCLE certification, will play a key role in determining who will be accepted by managed care as a provider of services. Without certification, you could be locked out of the health care system.
As of December 31, 2013, there were 29,585 ABO Certified Opticians and 10,557 NCLE Certified Contact Lens Technicians.