To receive a trainee permit in ophthalmic dispensing or contact lens dispensing you must submit an Application for Trainee Permit (Form 5T) and all required documentation, along with the appropriate fee, to the address at the end of the form. It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to send us material.
Ophthalmic Dispensing Trainee Permit
If you are seeking an ophthalmic dispensing trainee permit, you must have:
- the National Academy of Opticianry send a letter to the Department indicating your purchase and enrollment in the Career Progression Program (CPP). The CPP is a two year (24 month) training program during which you must complete 1,200 clock hours in fitting and adjusting ophthalmic eyewear, 600 clock hours in the verification and interpretation of prescriptions, and at least 600 clock hours in other aspects of practice and theory of dispensing such as neutralization and lens identification. For additional details regarding the CPP, including costs, contact:
National Academy of Opticianry
8401 Corporate Drive - Suite 605
Landover, MD 20785
Phone: 301-577-4828 or 800-229-4828
- a high school transcript sent directly to us by the school, documenting graduation and completion of one year of mathematics such as algebra or geometry. Completion of general or business math does not meet this requirement. A General Equivalency Diploma (GED) will be accepted instead of a high school diploma.
Please Note: The Office of the Professions will not accept a high school transcript submitted by the applicant.
Contact Lens Dispensing Trainee Permit
If you are seeking a contact lens dispensing trainee permit, you must have the Contact Lens Society of America send a letter to the Department indicating your purchase and enrollment in the Contact Lens Study Manual program. The Contact Lens Study Manual program is a one year (12 month) training program during which you must complete at least 1,200 clock hours in fitting and adjusting contact lenses, the verification and interpretation of contact lens prescriptions, and other aspects of practice of contact lens fitting. For additional details regarding the Contact Lens Study Manual program, including costs, contact:
Note: A contact lens dispensing trainee permit may run concurrently with an ophthalmic dispensing trainee permit.
The ophthalmic dispensing and contact lens dispensing traineeships allow an individual to fulfill the education requirements for licensure as an ophthalmic dispenser and/or certification as a contact lens dispenser in New York State by completing alternative training and experience under the on-site supervision of a licensed ophthalmic dispenser, optometrist, or physician. Under New York State law, individuals who practice ophthalmic dispensing must be licensed, must be students in an ophthalmic dispensing program registered by the Department, or must hold a valid trainee permit. No one can begin a traineeship without a trainee permit from the State Education Department.
Traineeships enable applicants to obtain entry-level skills and the knowledge necessary to practice the profession and become eligible for admission to the ophthalmic dispensing and contact lens dispensing practical licensing examinations.
Details About Trainee Permits
Trainee permits are issued to individuals who meet specified training requirements and who work under appropriate supervision. Trainee permits are valid for two years; a renewal may be granted for one additional year. To obtain a one-year renewal, a trainee must submit an Application for Trainee Permit (Form 5T) with the renewal fee of $30.
If a trainee works at more than one site, a permit is needed for each site. To apply for additional permits, the trainee must submit an Application for Trainee Permit (Form 5T). There is no charge for a trainee permit for additional sites.
If the trainee's practice site or supervisor changes, the trainee must apply for a new trainee permit by submitting an Application for Trainee Permit (Form 5T). There is no charge for reissuing a trainee permit.
Note: An individual may not function as a trainee after the expiration date of their trainee permit.
Requirements For Supervisors Of Traineer
A trainee's supervisor must be licensed as an ophthalmic dispenser (with contact lens dispensing certification if supervising a contact lens trainee), optometrist, or physician. The supervisor must attest that no more than one candidate with a trainee permit will be supervised concurrently and the supervisor will be on-site and readily accessible to provide personal advice and assistance to the trainee. Supervisors must provide appropriate clinical experiences and training for the permittee and, at the conclusion of their supervision, verify when that training was provided.
Practice Requirements For Trainees
Once received, trainee permits must be conspicuously displayed next to the current registration certificates of all of the licensed practitioners in the employment setting.
Employers must provide trainees with a badge that lists the trainee's name and their position as an ophthalmic dispensing trainee or contact lens dispensing trainee. The badge must be worn so that it is clearly visible. The law does not allow a permittee to use the title "optician," "ophthalmic dispenser," or variations of those terms, until the permittee is licensed in New York State, even if the permittee is certified by the American Board of Opticianry.
Completion of Traineeships
Upon completion of the 24 months of training on an ophthalmic dispensing trainee permit and successful completion of the National Opticianry Competency Examination, candidates may be eligible to sit for the New York State Basic Ophthalmic Dispensing practical examination. To obtain approval to sit for the examination, candidates must submit an Application for Licensure and First Registration (Form 1), a Certification of Trainee Experience (Form 4), documentation of satisfactory completion of the Career Progression Program, and the fee for initial licensure and registration ($108). The Certification of Trainee Experience must be signed by the supervisor(s) listed on the trainee permit(s) verifying the time period of the training. Candidates must also have the American Board of Opticianry forward their passing score on the National Opticianry Competency Examination to the Department.
If the trainee has trained under a contact lens dispensing trainee permit for at least 12 months and has successfully completed the National Contact Lens Examiners Contact Lens Registry Examination, the candidate may be eligible to sit for the New York State Contact Lens Practical Certification Examination. A separate Certification of Experience (Form 4) is needed to verify contact lens training. In addition, the candidate must submit a certificate documenting satisfactory completion of the Contact Lens Society of America's Contact Lens Study Manual program and have the American Board of Opticianry forward their passing score on the National Contact Lens Examiners Contact Lens Registry Examination to the Department.
Candidates may apply for admission to the practical examination for licensure in ophthalmic dispensing and the practical examination for certification in contact lens dispensing when the Department determines that all requirements for licensure, including education and experience, have been met.
When applicants meet all requirements for admission to the practical examination, they are eligible for a limited permit allowing them to work while they are participating in the examination process. See Limited Permits for specific information regarding limited permits.