Answers for the Public and New Applicants

What do Nevada licensed dispensing opticians do?

Dispensing opticians design, verify, and deliver prescription eyewear to the public. Their jobs include:

  • Taking customers’ measurements to determine the size, shape and specifications of lenses, frames or contacts
  • Preparing and delivering work orders for prescription eyewear to the laboratory technicians who fabricate the lenses
  • Adjusting lenses or frames to a customer’s face or adjusting, repairing or replacing previously fabricated prescription eyewear
  • Filling contact lens prescriptions and dispensing prepackaged contact lenses.

Why are opticians required to be licensed to work in Nevada?

The Nevada Legislature requires opticians to be licensed in order to protect the public from incompetent and unsafe vision care. The Board’s licensing requirements ensure patients receive the expert guidance essential to making correct and effective choices in prescription eyewear.

    What is the role of the Board?

    The Board reviews the qualifications of each applicant for licensure and issues Ophthalmic Dispenser and Apprentice Ophthalmic Dispenser Licenses. The Board also ensures compliance with Nevada’s dispensing laws by reviewing and acting upon known violations. 

    I have witnessed ophthalmic dispensing activity that I believe to be illegal, unethical, or unprofessional. Where can I go for help?

    If you believe you have witnessed a violation of Nevada Dispensing Law or unsafe practice, please submit a complaint to the Board office. The Board reviews each complaint and determines whether to pursue action against the named person or business. Licensed persons found to be in violation of the law may be subject to disciplinary action and fines. Businesses or unlicensed persons found to be in violation of the law may be subject to fines.

      Please note that the Board’s laws and regulations are aimed at ensuring the public safety and the Board cannot act upon complaints related to consumer issues, such as long wait times, incorrect pricing or charges, damage to frames or lenses in the course of service, refund refusals, etc. To lodge a consumer complaint against an ophthalmic dispenser or optical retailer, please contact the Better Business Bureaus of Northern Nevada or the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

        I am interested in becoming a licensed optician in Nevada. What are the requirements?

        Nevada opticians are required to complete an apprenticeship lasting between one and three years (pdf) and various education and certification requirements. Anyone who is 18 years of age or older, holds a high school diploma or its equivalent, and is employed by a licensed optical retailer, optometrist, or ophthalmologist, may apply for an Apprentice Dispenser License (pdf). Once an apprentice optician has completed all apprenticeship requirements, he or she may apply to sit for the state board licensing exams (pdf).

          I am currently licensed as a dispensing optician in another state or territory or have been working as a dispensing optician in another state or territory that does not require licensure. Does Nevada offer license reciprocity?

          The Board requires every applicant for licensure to pass the state board exam. Persons who hold licenses from other U.S. states or territories (with substantially equivalent requirements to those of Nevada), or those with five or more years’ experience working in a state or territory without a licensing requirement, may apply to bypass Nevada’s apprenticeship requirements (pdf), however, all applicants must pass the Board licensing exams in order to obtain licensure.

            Does Nevada offer a spectacles-only license for those who do not want to dispense contact lenses?

            No, Nevada requires all licensees to be proficient in the dispensing of both spectacles and contact lenses.