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Perscription Glasses

How to Become a Licensed Dispensing Optician in Washington State

An applicant must have successfully completed at least one of the following:

  • a prescribed course in opticianry in a college or university approved by the secretary of health (online options are available)

  • a 6,000 hour (3-6 year) apprenticeship in Washington state

  • OR have been principally engaged in practicing as a dispensing optician not in the state of Washington for at least five years. 


The student or apprentice must also pass all required licensing exams, which is a series of 4 standardized tests. These exams can be taken throughout the course of study or apprenticeship. These tests are administered at various testing centers throughout Washington state. Accommodations have been made in the age of COVID as well. 

The tests are as follows:

  1. ABO basic 

  2. NCLE basic

  3. ABO practical (this is virtual and demonstrations are available on

  4. NCLE practical (this is virtual and demonstrations are available on  


A Washington Dispensing Optician License is only approved once all requirements are met.


The Opticians Association of Washington recognizes the need for more education assistance and are working to build a support program for apprentices.

CLICK HERE for a list of educational resources that will help you succeed in the field of Opticianry!


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