Dirty Dozen: Optician


December 13, 2017 11:59AM

Opticians fit people for eyeglasses, but not before having to get government permission, at least in Tennessee and 22 other states. To become an optician, one must first get two full years of training, take three exams, and fork over $270 in fees to the government. Like with auctioneers, it takes four times as long to become an optician than it does an EMT, casting doubt on the necessity for such onerous licensing requirements.

Especially compelling is that the majority of states don’t require a license to be an optician, and it doesn’t appear that those states’ citizens suffer from greater eyesight woes. Clearly, if 28 states can protect consumers’ eyesight without requiring a license for opticians, Tennessee can too. Like most licensing regimes, this one is about protecting other opticians from competition than it is protecting consumers’ health and safety. We shouldn’t be so shortsighted.