The vision care field is ever changing, just like all areas of medical care. Personally, I have strived to keep up with these changes and to be as educated in this field as I can. I feel one should keep improving yourself no matter what your occupation, so being certified and licensed is very important to me. Not only as an employee, but as a part of the hiring and training staff, I have found that certification is the first thing I look for before considering a new hire. Certification is not only self-satisfying for personal achievement, it can make the difference on getting a job or not.

From an employee’s point of view

Being certified has driven me to learn several areas of the vision care field that I may not have learned while working day to day. There are things you may not see routinely, but are topics you will need to study for and have to understand. The day you have the opportunity to see something unique or assist with certain procedures, you will be knowledgeable, ready and confident. That makes both your patient and the doctor more at comfortable. When a patient is in an emergency situation or even being referred for surgery it can be intimidating and even scary. To have someone they can question and confide in makes everyone more at ease.

Certification has given me the opportunity for new job opportunities, even without applying for them. When the doctor knows you have knowledge in this field, you are an asset to the practice. Doctors are willing to offer a position to a person they feel can be a value to their practice.

In most cases, certified or licensed professionals are paid more than those not certified or licensed. I have found in many offices that pay can be several dollars an hour higher for those who are certified. Also, the test and study materials can be expensive. Most employers are happy to reimburse these expenses, along with continued education expenses and dues.

From an employer’s point of view

When I receive resumes at my office, I place them in three categories. First will be anyone certified, second experience only, third no experience. I have worked with many people that have experience in this field and can function well doing simplistic tasks, but they do not truly have an understanding of what they are doing or why they are doing it. An employee who is certified is typically someone dedicated to their career and that is a wonderful asset to any office.

When a patient sees certifications on the wall or those initials behind your name they feel they are working with someone educated, that they are in a quality office and will receive exceptional care. Patients want to feel confident about the office they go to for their vision care. Employing certified professionals also helps with getting new patients. When you have made your patient happy, they tell everyone they know - friends and family. This is a great way to help build your practice.

With all of the positive reasons to be certified - there is really no reason not to do it! True, it is an investment in the time required to study; but think of how good you will feel once you pass. The fees for the test are sometimes expensive, but almost always reimbursed by an employer. Continued education and yearly dues can be pricy, but these are also fees that many employers are glad to reimburse. Being certified will makes you an asset to your employer, once you have proven your worth an employer is usually glad to invest into your future with their office. This puts you ahead of many other employees.

Furthering your education not only gives you a since of accomplishment, but it will give you a chance to apply yourself to a career and not just a job.