Society to Advance Opticianry Updates Membership Requirements and Goals

NEW YORK—The Society to Advance Opticianry (SAO) has clarified its membership requirements and overall goals to VMail.

According to Laurie Pierce, LDO, ABOM, an instructor at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. and the Society’s public relations chairperson, “We want to help opticians achieve their educational goals rather than just recognize those who have already attained a higher level of education and certification.”

Members of the Society will be recognized as Ophthalmic Opticians. Requirements for admission to the Society, upon approval, are: that all members be currently ABO and NCLE certified and state licensed if they live in a licensed state. SAO board member Gary McArrell, ABOM, told VMail, “We will allow membership for opticians in unlicensed states provided they meet other requirements.”

Additionally, members must hold at least an AS/AAS degree in optical sciences from an accredited or approved college or they must hold at least an AA/AS degree in any field of study from an approved college plus an advanced certification from the ABO or NCLE. Pierce said, “The Society intends to offer a candidate status to those that are working toward but do not yet meet the requirements for the Ophthalmic Optician designation. We will help candidates identify and access educational opportunities and mentor them while they do their course work and testing.”

McArrell also told VMail, “We will allow membership for people that hold non optical degrees provided they have achieved an advanced certification from the ABO or NCLE. The SAO recognizes that access to optical degree programs is limited and wanted to offer a path for those without access. The SAO desires its members to have a base level of education and by adding an advanced certification; they have demonstrated a higher level of optical knowledge and a commitment to the field.”

For more information, contact Laurie Pierce at