With a background as an optician dating back to his teenage years in his home country of England, Andrew Bruce is highly skilled in the industry and is honored to be a Master Optician. The Optician ABO Test Prep course that he instructs will be his first with Portland Community College. Continue reading to learn more about his experience and passion.
What's your background in the opticianry field?
I first entered the field of opticianry at the age of 18, working as an apprentice optician in my home country of England. However, I left to attend art school where I completed my undergraduate studies in photography. After graduation, I worked as a professional photographer for 12 years, before returning to school to study opticianry. In addition, I also completed a 6,000 hour apprenticeship as a dispensing optician in Washington state. Since graduating from the opticianry program, I have now been practicing as a licensed dispensing optician for over 20 years. I received my Master’s in Ophthalmic Optics in 2006. I am both humbled and honored to be one of fewer than 400 Master Opticians in the USA. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of having many opticians work through their apprenticeship under my license, who have now become licensed dispensing opticians themselves. I'm excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience via the Optician ABO Test Prep program with PCC's Institute for Health Professionals!
What do you enjoy most about being an optician?
Every patient’s needs are different, making every day different. I thrive on being challenged to think “out of the box” and the satisfaction of being able to improve a patient’s quality of life, by improving their quality of vision.
What's something important to note about the optician industry?
Like most things, technology in my profession is always changing and evolving. This makes it a profession that can open up many doors and opportunities for people of all ages. As a practicing Licensed Master Dispensing Optician it is imperative I stay current by attending mandatory annual continuing education in order to continue to best serve my patients, and to be an effective instructor.
What are you looking forward to most as an instructor with PCC?
I learn from my students on a daily basis. They help me learn how to become a more effective instructor by their response to my delivery methods. My intentions for the program are to provide entry level skills and a solid foundation to an individual with no previous experience in the field of opticianry. I want to provide my students with a comprehensive review and the necessary preparation for the ABO NOCE. Upon completion, the successful graduate should be prepared with the necessary skills for an entry level position as an optical assistant.
What do you hope your students get from your course at PCC?
I have spent the last 5 months writing this program in order to meet the need for skilled individuals to fill positions in optical offices. There is a serious shortage of such, especially in the Portland area. It is my hope that this will not only help my students, but also business owners who are struggling to find qualified individuals to help run their optical operations. The successful graduate should be prepared for a position in an optical office, and or to sit for the ABO NOCE. Completion of the NOCE is the first of four examinations required to become a licensed dispensing optician in Washington state, and I want to ensure that they are prepared for the next steps after completion of my course.
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Important information to note about the course.
The class occurs on Monday evenings during Winter term (beginning in January), between 6pm and 9pm, via a live webinar. The program is recorded so that anyone who is unavailable during that time can watch it later. The class meets on campus three Saturdays during the term; the first, middle, and last, to allow for hands-on practical lab work. Sign up to its newsletter to stay up to date with important registration dates and timelines.