Is becoming an ocularist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do ocularists do?

Still unsure if becoming an ocularist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an ocularist or another similar career!

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How to become an Ocularist

Becoming an ocularist involves a combination of education, training, and hands-on experience. Here are the general steps to pursue a career as an ocularist:

  • Educational Background: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. A strong foundation in biology, anatomy, and art is beneficial.
  • Bachelor's Degree (Optional): While not mandatory, some ocularists pursue a bachelor's degree in fields such as biology, fine arts, or a related discipline. This can provide a broader understanding of the relevant sciences and artistic principles.
  • Cosmetology or Prosthetics Training: Consider enrolling in cosmetology programs or orthotics and prosthetics programs that offer coursework related to ocular prosthetics. Some schools may have specific programs or workshops focused on ocularistry.
  • Specialized Ocularist Training Programs: Look for specialized ocularist training programs or apprenticeships. These programs are designed to provide hands-on training in ocular prosthetics and may include coursework on eye anatomy, color matching, and fabrication techniques.
  • Clinical Experience: Gain practical experience through internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions under the guidance of experienced ocularists. This hands-on experience is crucial for developing the skills necessary for the fabrication and fitting of ocular prostheses.
  • Certification (Optional): While not required, obtaining certification from professional organizations, such as the American Society of Ocularists (ASO), can enhance your credibility. The ASO offers the Board Certified Ocularist (BCO) designation for individuals who meet specific educational and experiential requirements (see below).
  • Continuing Education: Stay informed about advancements in ocularistry by participating in workshops, seminars, and continuing education programs. This field requires a commitment to staying current with evolving technologies and techniques.
  • Build a Portfolio: Document your work and build a portfolio showcasing the ocular prostheses you have created. This portfolio will be essential when seeking employment or establishing your own practice.
  • State Licensing (if applicable): Check if your state requires licensing for ocularists. Licensing requirements can vary, so it's important to be aware of any state-specific regulations.
  • Establish a Practice or Seek Employment: Decide whether to establish your own ocularistry practice or seek employment in established practices, hospitals, or clinics. Consider the type of specialization that aligns with your interests and skills.

Ocularists can pursue certification to demonstrate their proficiency and commitment to high standards in the field. The primary certification available for ocularists is offered by the American Society of Ocularists (ASO). Here are the details of the certification:

Certification: Board Certified Ocularist (BCO)

  • American Society of Ocularists (ASO): The ASO is a professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the field of ocularistry. They offer the Board Certified Ocularist (BCO) designation.
  • Board Certified Ocularist (BCO) Requirements: To attain BCO certification, ocularists must meet specific educational and experiential criteria set by the ASO. These criteria typically include completing a recognized training program in ocularistry, acquiring a specified number of years of practical experience, and passing a comprehensive examination.
  • Examination Process: The BCO examination is designed to assess the ocularist's knowledge, skills, and proficiency in creating and fitting ocular prostheses. Successful completion of the examination is a key component of earning the BCO certification.
  • Continued Professional Development: BCO-certified ocularists are required to engage in ongoing professional development and education to maintain their certification. This commitment to continuing education ensures that certified ocularists stay current with advancements in the field.
  • Benefits of BCO Certification: The BCO certification not only signifies a high level of competency but also enhances the ocularist's professional credibility. Certified ocularists may be more sought after by patients and healthcare professionals seeking quality ocular prosthetic services.
  • ASO Membership: While not a certification per se, becoming a member of the American Society of Ocularists provides ocularists with valuable networking opportunities, access to educational resources, and a community of professionals in the field.