Promoting the professional stature of opticianry through educational opportunities, legislative activity, and national communications.
Promoting the professional stature of opticianry through educational opportunities, legislative activity, and national communications.


Information from the Department of Health

There were questions asked at the round table in October that we were not able to answer.

After research, here are the answers to those questions:

In order to receive information from the Department of Health on any up coming hearings, you must subscribe to their communications. The communication tab is on the dispensing opticians program webpage.

It does not matter to the Department of Health when the tests are taken or in what order, as long as it is after June 1, 2015 and before application is received to apply for licensure. The 6 year rule still apply’s. An apprenticeship, in addition to 6,000 hours of training or schooling must be completed along with testing within 6 years.

Questions or concerns:

Thank You
Diane Charles LDO,HFOAAOAW
Legislative Chair

News Regarding Washington Licensure

Washington state has changed the testing piece of our licensure. All the criteria to sit for the exam remains the same. All the pieces to renew your license are the same. The only thing that has changed is who administers the exam. It is now given by ABO/NCLE. After passing the exam, all Washington State Licensed Dispensing Opticians will be grandfathered into ABO/NCLE as certificants. Licenses will still be issued by Washington State Department of Health. A copy of your license can be sent to ABO/NCLE for their certification. There is a fee to receive your certification from them.

There is another way to become a Licensed Dispensing Optician!

As the State of Washington has chosen to close our formal education, 2-year program, the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC), wanted people to know there is another avenue to achieving the title of ‘Licensed Dispensing Optician’.

These are the steps to receive education as an apprentice optician with the Highline College Program:

1) Register with the Department of Health as an apprentice optician under your supervisor,

2) Register for Highline College,

3) Register with the JATC committee for theDepartment of Labor and Industries. By doing this a student is eligible to pay half tuition for college credits relating to the dispensing optician program.

4) A student’s employer must register as a ‘training agent’.

5)A student’s hours must be submitted monthly.

6) A student, apprentice, must complete 144 hours of formal education per year. Each class at Highline College is 55 hours per quarter, so by completing each quarter of the 3 offered each year, it qualifies for the formal education requirement.

7) To convert this education into a 2-year degree, an additional 35 credit hours would be required.

Forms for steps 3, 4 and 5 are available at These forms will then be sent to the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC).

The JATC is a group of industry volunteers who are happy to help a student or interested person through this process. For more information, please feel free to contact:

Dennis Prescott:

Diane Charles:

Legislative Update 2-22-17

HB 775 Georgia (Passed): Banned “Opternative” and other online refracting technologies. It also prevents neutralizing and duplication of lenses by opticians.

HB 2378 Arizona (Failed in Committee): Dissolution of Arizona Optical Dispensers License. It is still in committee (on hold) but was essentially killed after Feb 17 due to not being brought up for discussion. However, it does have 19 different bipartisan cosponsors, It could be brought back to life. The Arizona state board of dispensing opticians does mention the bill on their website but do not seem overly concerned.

HB 1497 Virginia (Passed House and Senate, Governor must sign by 2-24-17 to become law): Requires, for ophthalmic prescriptions written on or after July 1, 2017, that an ophthalmologist or optometrist establish a bona fide provider-patient relationship with a patient prior to prescribing spectacles, eyeglasses, lenses, or contact lenses, and sets out requirements for establishing such relationship, which includes options for examination of the patient either in person or through face-to-face interactive, two-way, real-time communication or store-and-forward technologies.

HB 617 Ohio (Failed): Ohio Optical Dispensers Board is being recommended for consolidation in a new super board, Vision & Hearing Professionals Board. Being proposed again in 2017, more to come.

FTC Contact Lens Rule: September 2015, the FTC sought public comment on the costs, benefits, and impact of the Contact Lens Rule as part of its regular review of all current FTC rules and guides. The Commission received 660 comments from interested parties and stakeholders, many of those were from our State and National Associations as well as individual opticians. The new proposal will require optometrists to obtain a signed agreement stating a prescription was received by the consumer. The signed acknowledgement must be kept on file for three years.

In Loving Memory

It is with a heavy heart that I report to you the loss of one of the greatest friends that Washington State Opticians have ever known, Judy Haenke.

Judy, a longtime HSQA employee, died unexpectedly Jan. 3. Her passing is a sad loss to all of us who worked with and knew her.

Judy was an original Department of Health employee. She transferred to the agency when it was formed in 1989, coming from the Department of Licensing. She worked as a program manager in what is now the Office of Health Professions, overseeing work involving numerous health professions over the years, including the Optometrists and the Optician Examining Committee.  Judy retired in 2015. 

A memorial service for Judy will take place at 1 p.m. Feb. 25 in Bethel Church, 132 Kirkland Road, Chehalis. Her brother, Pat Smith, is planning the service. He would like to know how many people might attend. People may contact him by email. 

In a 2014 interview in conjunction with the Department of Health’s 25th anniversary, Judy spoke about the satisfaction of knowing that our work contributes to making Washington a safer, healthier state. She also talked about the importance of relationships in our workplace.

“You get a real friendship,” she said. “You know how people work. It’s like a family.”

Tim Alden, former LDO: I worked with Judy on the Examining Committee for six years, and conferred with her on various projects afterward. I remember her explaining our mission. “Our main objective is to not set unprepared Opticians on the unsuspecting public.” I will so miss her sense of humor.

Judy was indeed part of our optical families. We will miss her.

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PO Box 2489
Yakima, WA 98907

Phone: 509.961.4169