Non-Practicing Status

There is a better way to leave and then return to your practice than letting your license lapse…

For opticians who need to take an extended leave from work, the ACAO has instituted a non-practicing status. We created this category for members who will be returning to their practice after a few months or years away. Depending on the time of year, you may even be able to pay a reduced rate for your registration. By transitioning to non-practicing, opticians can avoid paying reinstatement fees.




Non-practicing status comes with a few restrictions…

A member who is registered as non-practicing cannot work as an optician while they have this status; this includes performing any duties restricted to licensed professionals in the field. You are also restricted from working in a situation where your knowledge and training as an optician may be called upon. As non-practicing, you are not “licensed” the way an optician is; rather, your license is kept up to date and ready to be reinstated when you are able to return to work.

If you plan on transitioning to non-practicing, you need to tell us before registration ends, even if you are not going to transition until later in the year. We can work out a reduced rate for your fees if you tell us during the registration period. However, if you wait until after the registration period, we won’t be able to refund your fees. If you are already registered for the year, you do not need to take action until the next registration period.

We offer quarterly prorated fees for transitioning and returning, but we do not offer refunded fees. Therefore, it is in your best interest to contact the college and plan your transition as early as you can. This way you can save yourself some money.



Who Transitions to Non-Practicing?

This category benefits many people. For instance, new parents…

Our most common reason for transitioning to non-practicing is maternity and/or parental leave. Instead of letting your license lapse, you are able to plan ahead and transition to non-practicing status close to the arrival of your new child.

International travelers…

Another reason to transition to non-practicing is if you plan to travel abroad for an extended period of time. Because non-practicing fees are prorated quarterly, you can plan your transition during the registration period. Then, you can work until the time you’ve agreed to go non-practicing, and when you return, you pay a prorated registration fee to become licensed again.

Extended leave…

Caring for new children or sick loved ones, temporarily working in another field, a fantastic holiday abroad… Sometimes an extended leave can mean months, but sometimes it means years away. The good news is that as long as you keep up with your continuing education and pay your fees, you can stay non-practicing for as long as you need.



Continuing Education

We ensure that your knowledge is up to date through continuing competency requirements…

We can offer non-practicing registration at a reduced rate, but we cannot offer the same if your license expires. When you register as non-practicing we know that you are still learning, even though you are not working. We can’t guarantee the same if you are not registered at all. As a non-practicing member, you must keep your continuing education up to date. That way, when you want to return to your practice, we know that you are still competent and ready to start working again. You simply apply for registration, pay your prorated fees, and we will reinstate your license.



How to Transition to Non-Practicing

It sounds good! So how do you register as non-practicing?

One of the most important things to remember is that you need to call the office BEFORE you try to register online, so that we can change your status in our database. Transitioning to non-practicing is an easy process, but it can be a little confusing to plan for if you have never done it before. Here are a few of the most likely scenarios:

You have already registered as practicing…

If you have already registered and paid your licensing fees for the year, we can’t do anything during this cycle. However, you should call the office during renewal time to have your status changed if you plan on being away during the next year.

Example: You find out in January that you will need to be on maternity/parental leave in October. Congratulations! Unfortunately, you have already paid your licensing fees for the year, and we do not give refunds. However, you will likely be working up until October, so you will only lose a few months. Because you are already licensed for the year, you do not need to take action until registration renewal. If your leave will extend into the new year, call the office during renewal time and indicate that you will be non-practicing. The fee for non-practicing is considerably lower, and you can return to practicing at a reduced rate later in the year.

You have not registered yet…

If you find out that you need to go non-practicing during the next year, you can call in during renewal time and indicate when you plan to go non-practicing.

Example: You have planned a trip that will take you away for several months next year. You know that you are going to be gone from September to December. You can call the office and tell us that you will be gone for the last three months of the year, and pay a reduced registration fee in preparation. Then, about a week before you go non-practicing, you can call in again and pay the quarterly fee for non-practicing. If you plan on extending your non-practicing period into the new year, call in during the renewal period and pay your non-practicing fees for the next year.

You will be taking a leave in the middle of the year…

You can arrange to split registration if you know in advance that you will be gone for a few months in the middle of the year.

Example: You’re vacationing again (lucky!), but this time in the middle of the year. You can call into the office during the renewal period and arrange to pay a portion of your full registration fee. Then, call in again to go non-practicing and pay non-practicing fees. Finally, call in once more when you’re returning to pay another portion of your licensing fee.