September marks Paraoptometric Month, the only formal observance dedicated to honor optometric practice staff—so make the most of it. Reinforce the value paraoptometric staff bring to your practice with these three suggestions.
1. Enroll staff as AOA associate members.
It's included as part of your AOA membership, and this vital step opens the door to AOA Paraoptometric Resource Center member benefits and services.
Learn how to enroll an AOA associate member.
2. Encourage paraoptometric certification.
As optometric scope of practice continues to allow doctors of optometry to practice at the top of their license—utilizing the fullest extent of their education and training to meet the increasing demands on the U.S. health care system—optometric staff shouldn’t be overlooked. Increased responsibilities, procedures and demands on doctors of optometry translate into a greater need for proven, skilled support on the part of paraoptometric staff.
“The more they can do, the more they produce,” says AOA President William T. Reynolds, O.D., in the July/Aug 2020 issue of AOA Focus. “And everyone wants to do something valuable, to be valued.
“That’s why it’s so important that paraoptometrics become certified,” he adds. “I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. As practices evolve, I think you’re going to see techs play more integral roles in practices.”
By popular demand, 54 courses from the AOA's first-ever 2020 Virtual Learning Livecast are now available in the EyeLearn Professional Development Hub, the AOA's member-exclusive, centralized education portal. Paraoptometric staff can earn CPC credit for designated courses on EyeLearn.
Learn how paraoptometric staff can boost a career as well as a practice.
3. Become one of optometry’s advocates.
According to a 2016 AOA survey (the most recent year data was available), for every doctor of optometry, there are 4.8 paraoptometric staff members. Many paraoptometrics are active in the communities they live in. Their children may go to school with the children of state lawmakers. Their
families may attend the same church or shop at the same stores. They could extend the reach of the lobbying efforts of doctors of optometry for scope expansion.
In this historic and unprecedented year, the single-largest annual advocacy event and the centerpiece of the profession's national lobbying efforts is going virtual, Sept. 9-10. The Virtual AOA on Capitol Hill is about maximizing connections with elected federal representatives. The tremendous growth of AOA on Capitol Hill—from fewer than 200 doctors attending a decade ago to more than 500 doctors and students—is a key reason why the AOA is recognized as one of the most effective, respected lobbying groups in the nation's capital.
Participation is open to all advocacy-minded members with sessions tailored around providing attendees time, in close coordination with their state associations, to pre-arrange and participate in virtual meetings with U.S. Senators and House members.
Attend Virtual AOA on Capitol Hill 2020 with your staff. For any questions, please email Advocacy@aoa.org or call 800.365.2219. Register today to attend Virtual AOA on Capitol Hill and make your—and optometry's—voice heard.
Doctors of optometry may enroll their paraoptometric staff as associate members at no additional membership dues for the AOA-member doctor. Once enrolled as associate members, doctors' staff members automatically have access to the Paraoptometric Resource Center's career development resources.
Despite COVID-19 hardships, some member doctors doubled down on their support of AOA and its professional advocacy by declining the two-month dues waiver.