Upgrading Your Skills [Daniel Brunson]
I believe strongly in personal and professional development. I will save writing about personal development for a later time, but as opticians we have plenty of good resources out there for the latter.
ABO courses available at Vision Expo East and West are wonderful for learning. You can study alone all day long, but there is no substitute for the classroom environment. It provides that interactive element that really stimulates the mind, and perhaps more importantly offers the opportunity to network with other optical professionals.
The website Opticianshandbook.com powered by 2020 Magazine is a wonderful resource that is chock-a-block full of articles and courses on virtually every topic in opticianry. It is all neatly organized into topics and sub-topics, so you can choose to dive in to learning all about the history of frames for example.
For the serious student who really wants to take a deep dive into all the technical aspects of frames, lenses, and fitting, I recommend a book called System For Ophthalmic Dispensing by Brooks and Borish. This is a textbook written in such a way that either the beginner or experienced optician will come away with valuable optical knowledge on page after page. Even if you do not wish to study an entire textbook, this is a nice resource for your optical reference section because it is easy to look up any topic.
There are many other resources out there. These are just three of my favorites. Please share your favorites in the comments section so we can all learn from each other.