EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT QUALIFIED DISPENSING OPTICIANS
What is a dispensing optician?
A dispensing optician is a highly trained professional who specializes in providing expert advice on eyewear and vision correction. They work closely with optometrists to ensure that patients receive the best possible care for their eyesight.
Dispensing opticians work in optical practices, where they play a key role in helping patients choose the right eyewear. They use their expertise to guide patients through the process of selecting frames that complement their style and face shape while ensuring optimal vision correction.
Dispensing opticians are responsible for fitting and adjusting prescription lenses to ensure they are comfortable and provide optimal visual clarity. They have extensive knowledge of different types of lenses, frames, coatings, and other eye-related products, which allows them to recommend the most appropriate options based on a patient’s individual needs.
What does a dispensing optician do?
In addition to glasses, dispensing opticians also provide advice on contact lenses and other vision correction methods. They can help patients choose the right type of lens based on their lifestyle and preferences, as well as provide guidance on proper care and maintenance.
One of the most important aspects of a dispensing optician’s job is ensuring that prescription lenses are accurately fitted to each patient’s unique needs. This involves taking precise measurements and making adjustments to ensure that glasses or contact lenses provide clear, comfortable vision.
In addition to their technical skills, dispensing opticians must also have excellent communication and customer service skills. They work closely with patients to understand their needs and preferences, as well as explain complex concepts related to vision correction in an easy-to-understand manner.
Dispensing opticians also stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in eyewear technology and products. They attend conferences and training sessions to keep their knowledge current, which allows them to provide the best possible care for their patients.
How to become a dispensing optician
There are a few ways to become a qualified dispensing optician in the UK. I have detailed these below.
1. Earn a degree. To become a dispensing optician in the UK, you will need to complete a degree course in optometry or dispensing opticianry. You can find degree courses at universities, colleges and private training providers.
2. Register with the General Optical Council. When you have completed your degree course, you will need to apply to the General Optical Council (GOC) to become a dispensing optician. You will need to provide evidence of qualifications and experience, and you will also be required to take the GOC registration assessment.
3. Get a job. Once you are registered with the GOC, you can start looking for a job as a dispensing optician. Many opticians offer on-the-job training and some may even offer you the opportunity to complete a postgraduate course in dispensing opticianry.
4. Take the ABDO Practical Examination. To work as a dispensing optician in the UK, you must pass the ABDO Practical Examination. This is a multiple choice test that assesses your knowledge and practical skills in dispensing opticianry.
5. Get certified. Once you have passed the ABDO Practical Examination, you can apply to become a certified dispensing optician. This will make you eligible to practice as a dispensing optician in the UK.
In summary, dispensing opticians play a crucial role in ensuring that patients receive high-quality eye care. Their expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to ongoing education make them an essential part of any optical practice.
1. Research the GOC (General Optical Council) registration requirements: In order to become a dispensing optician in the UK, you must first register with the GOC. You need to meet the entry requirements which include being at least 18 years old, being able to read and write English, and having a minimum of five GCSEs including Maths and English.
2. Complete a GOC approved pre-registration training programme: Once you have met the entry requirements, you need to complete a GOC approved pre-registration training programme. This typically takes two years and includes both theoretical and practical elements.
3. Obtain practical experience: Once you have completed the pre-registration training programme, you must obtain practical experience in a registered opticians. This is usually a minimum of 12 months, although it can be longer depending on your individual circumstances.
4. Sit the GOC registration examinations: After you have obtained the necessary practical experience, you can take the GOC registration examinations. These are designed to assess your knowledge and competence in dispensing opticianry.
5. Register with the GOC: Once you have passed the examinations, you can register with the GOC and become a registered dispensing optician. You will then have the professional qualifications to work as a dispensing optician in the UK.
You can work your way up within an opticians. If you begin a job as an optical assistant in a opticians, you might find that there is the opportunity to progress within the store and work your way up to qualified dispensing optician. This can be a good way to earn a dispensing optician qualification as you’ll be learning on the job and have store experience.
If this is the option you would like to go down, we receommend discussing progression to a qualified dispenser in your interview.
How much does a dispensing optician make?
The avage salary for a dispensing optician is £23,205. However, this ranges from £18,000 to £29,000.
You will also find that a lot of stores and companies will offer bonuses and commission on top of your base salary.
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To read more about Dispensing Opticians, check out the GOC website.