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        Board Phone:(803) 896-4681
        Administrator:Meredith Buttler
        Board Staff: Patricia Lutz
        Advice Counsel:   Mary League   **
        Directions:110 Centerview Dr, Columbia SC

**The Office of Advice Counsel is responsible for
providing legal advice to all Boards, Commissions
and Panels. These attorneys do not provide legal
advice to parties outside LLR.

South Carolina Board of Examiners in Opticianry


Apprenticeship Program Information and Application


  • An applicant for the apprenticeship program must register by application with the S.C. Board of Examiners in Opticianry. Applicant must be registered and approved in writing before the apprenticeship commences.
  • Submit application fee of $20.00.
  • Submit copy of driver’s license.
  • Submit copy of Social Security card.
  • Complete the Affidavit of Eligibility and have notarized. If applicable, submit a copy of immigration documents. List of accepted immigration documents can be found on the instruction sheet for completing Affidavit of Eligibility.
  • Submit proof of high school graduation or GED Certificate.
  • Enclose any required explanatory documents if applicable.
  • Have sponsor complete sponsor related section of the application. Applicant must work at least 32 hours per week for two years under the supervision of a state-licensed sponsor that is an optician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist. The sponsor cannot train more than two registered apprentices at a time.
  • Complete a pre-approved formal optical education program; see below for additional information.
  • Renew registration annually by October 1; the renewal fee is $50.00. Proof of attendance at four hours of Board approved continuing education (CE) is required. The S.C. Association of Opticians and other providers offer CE.

The apprenticeship training program requires formal optical education as well as employment. All requirements of the program must be completed to qualify to sit for the South Carolina Practical Examination in Opticianry.

The following are required before a South Carolina optician’s license can be issued:

  • Passage of the American Board of Opticianry Examination (ABO) / 703-719-5800 or
  • Successful completion of the S.C. Registered Apprenticeship Program
  • Passage of the South Carolina Practical Examination in Opticianry

Career Progression Program: A home study education program for opticians offered through the National Academy of Opticianry (NAO). For information concerning this program contact the NAO at 800-229-4828, or, or email Other educational materials may also be purchased through the NAO.

Penn Foster Career School: This is an accredited school of independent study that offers a training program for opticians. For information contact an enrollment advisor at 800-272-4410 or visit their website at

Durham Technical College Optical Apprentice Certificate: An internet/classroom-based program offered through Durham Technical College located in Durham, North Carolina. For information concerning this program contact the school at 919-686-3333 or on-line at

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Optical Sciences Eyeglasses Diploma: For information visit their website at

License/Examination Requirements


  • Graduate from an accredited high school or receive a GED certificate.
  • Pass the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) Examination.
  • Pass the South Carolina Practical Opticianry Examination administered by American Board of Opticianry (ABO).
  • Complete ONE of the following four listed requirement options:
    • 1. Complete the South Carolina Registered Apprenticeship Program under a state licensed optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist. One of the pre-approved formal optical education programs must be completed prior to sitting for the S.C. Practical Examination. The pre-approved programs are: National Academy of Opticianry Career Progression Program, Durham Technical Community College Optical Apprentice Certificate, Penn Foster Career School training program for opticians, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Optical Sciences Eyeglasses Diploma.
    • 2. Graduate from a two-year ophthalmic dispensing program accredited by the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation.
    • 3. Hold a current, in good standing, optician’s license from another licensing state.
    • Have been employed at least two years as an optician in a state that does not license opticians; must document employment.

The S.C. Practical Examination is administered by ABO. Upon receipt at the Board’s office of the application, a letter is sent to the applicant providing information concerning how to register for the examination with ABO. ABO will provide candidate with all examination information.

Examination Date / Location: December and June of every year / SC Fire Academy, 141 Monticello Road, Columbia, South Carolina 29210

Licensure Application Fee: $100 payable to S.C. Opticianry Board – submit with application form to Board office

S.C. Practical Examination Fee: $295 money order / certified check payable to ABO

DO NOT SEND the $295 examination fee to the Board office; send only to ABO.



  • Submit the Opticianry Licensure Application to the Board’s office no later than thirty days prior to the examination. Submitting this application DOES NOT register you for the practical examination.
  • Enclose a copy of your driver’s license and if applicable, a copy of all immigration documents. See instructions for completing the Affidavit of Eligibility.
  • Enclose a copy of your Social Security Card.
  • Include the non-refundable $100 application fee by check or money order made payable to the S.C. Opticianry Board. Checks returned for insufficient funds will incur a $30 fee.
  • Enclose proof of high school graduation, or college transcript or diploma, or GED certificate.
  • Enclose the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) Examination proof of passage; their number is 703-719-5800.
  • If qualifying by completion of the S.C. Registered Apprenticeship Program, enclose proof of completion of the required formal education unless previously submitted. See number 1 above.
  • Enclose any required explanatory documents.
  • Request a license verification to be submitted from all states in which you have ever held an optician’s license.
  • If qualifying by employment as an optician in a state that does not license opticians, proof of employment must be submitted.

Send the licensure application to:
       South Carolina Board of Examiners in Opticianry
       PO Box 11329
       Columbia, SC 29211-1329

Or you may complete and submit your application online at

A copy of the S.C. Opticianry Practice Act and Regulations can be obtained from the website at Select Professional Licensing Boards, Opticianry, then on right side of screen select Board Information/Laws and Policies.


  • Have a current South Carolina optician’s license.
  • Pass the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) examination; must document passage.
  • Submit a completed Contact Lens Dispensing License Application along with the $100.00 fee.

South Carolina Practical Examination

All applicants seeking a license to practice opticianry in South Carolina are required to pass the S.C. Practical Examination. The examination is administered in Columbia, South Carolina twice a year in June and December by ABO.  All examination information will be provided by ABO to applicants approved by the Board to sit for the practical examination.

Synergy Business Park; Kingstree Building
110 Centerview Dr.
Columbia, S.C. 29210
(803) 896-4300 | Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
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