Five reasons why becoming a dispensing optician is a great career choice

Qualifying as an optician gives you access to a rewarding career. From the opportunity to earn while you learn to being a style guru or getting to grips with the latest technology, there are many reasons to consider this option for your future.

  1. Flexible learning

You can study ophthalmic dispensing full or part-time, so you can earn while you learn. There are day release and distance learning options, or foundation degree (two year) and BSc (three year) courses. 

Providers include Anglia Ruskin University, Bradford College, ABDO College in association with Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), City & Islington College and Glasgow Caledonian University.

To become a dispensing optician registered (DO) with the General Optical Council you must achieve the ABDO Level 6 Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing (‘FBDO’).

  1. People skills

This is a great role if you are interested in people. You will advise on, fit and supply the most appropriate spectacles, responding to each person’s visual, lifestyle and career needs. 

You’ll deal with everyone from children to OAPs and advise on and dispense low vision aids to people with sight loss. That all involves good communication, listening as well as talking. You get to learn a lot about people and their life stories. You find out just how different everyone is. 

As a healthcare professional, you have the satisfaction of caring for people and making a difference to their lives. You will be looking out for problems and referring people at risk of conditions that affect their sight to other health professionals, such as ophthalmologists, for diagnosis. 

Don’t underestimate how important the right lenses are – seeing accurately is a joy, helping people work and play. Beautiful frames make you feel great.

You are there for difficult times, when people are worried about sight problems, and for celebrations – there’s a big trend for bridal frames, for instance. 

  1. The latest science and technology

Opticians have a high level of  technical skills. You’ll learn how to fit lenses and frames on a patient. Discovering how to use specialised equipment can be very satisfying and you’ll be liaising with optical labs and manufacturers, discussing detailed specifications and handling technical data. 

You’ll have the opportunity to keep up with changes in optical science and technology throughout your career. As health professionals, DOs take part in Continuing Professional Development (CPD), attending conferences, courses and workshops to stay up to date. 

You can go on to develop your career in all sorts of directions. Perhaps you want to take further training to become a contact lens optician. Some DOs work in hospitals, in teams of health professionals caring for people with eye conditions. Or you could go into the science and technology arena, joining a lens manufacturer.

  1. Be a trendsetter

Frames have to perform well, to fit and allow people to go about their daily lives but they are also a fashion statement. You’ll be helping people to express their personalities and keeping up with the latest trends. How about frames made from wood from trees knocked down in a major storm in Italy? Or from your client’s favourite LP? Making a style statement has never been easier, with annual optical shows highlighting cutting-edge looks. 

You’ll help people choose frames that suit their faces, clothes, hair and lifestyle. More and more people are investing in several different pairs for everything from work to sport to nights out or special events.

  1. Be your own boss

Setting up your own practice can be hugely satisfying. You can run things your way, deciding how you want to deliver the best service for your patients and who you want to employ. Design your own store, with your choice of everything from branding to furniture to which stock to carry. Being a business owner as well as a clinician uses a whole new set of skills. 

Running your own practice means you will be in charge. It gives you an outlet for creativity – a chance to express yourself, make money and create a whole new life. 

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