Dispensing optician

See how to become an dispensing optician with our career guide

What is a Dispensing Optician?

A dispensing optician (DO) advises on, fits and supplies the most appropriate spectacles after taking account of each person’s visual, lifestyle and vocational needs. Dispensing opticians also play an important role in advising and dispensing low vision aids to those who are partially sighted as well as advising on and dispensing to children where appropriate. They are also able to fit and provide aftercare for contact lenses after undergoing further specialist training. Career opportunities also exist to develop business skills in marketing and practice management.

What do you get from this role?

Becoming a dispensing optician gives you many routes to develop your career. You can study while you work. Once you have the qualification some dispensing opticians enjoy working in High Street practices, others work in a hospital setting, others may go into roles in the lens manufacturing industry. The job can offer a range of different working patterns. It gives you a chance to interact with people and know that you are making a difference to their lives by providing eye wear, eye care and advice. If you want to progress your career you can choose to focus on management, take further training to become a contact lens optician or an optometrist.

What do you need to apply?

You need 5 GCSEs grades 4-9 or A-C. These must include English, Maths and Science. If you have five years or more experience in optical practice can apply with just English and Maths GCSE grade A-C (4 to 9 from 2017). Access courses are available for those without the right qualifications.

What skills do you need?

You will need to be happy to talk to people and offer advice when they want to book an appointment or choose frames. You will need to be interested in dealing with technical data when choosing the best lenses for each individual. You will need good manual skills for spectacle fitting and adjustments. You will be both people and quality focused.

What does your working day look like?

As a dispensing optician you will spend the day talking to people in practice, helping them select frames and lenses and advising on the best eyewear for their lifestyle. You will need to liaise with the Optometrist who does the eye tests. Some DOs also are involved in management roles, and may have responsibilities from opening and closing the practice, managing teams, training employees and dealing with finances and ordering stock.

How does the dispensing technician training programme work?

You can become a dispensing optician while you work. You can opt to complete a three-year distance learning course, including a four-week residential block, or a three-year, day release course. There is also the option to take a two-year, full-time diploma course, followed by one year working under supervision.

Useful organisations and links

Stepper

Campaign aim: to support the optical industry and highlight Stepper as an ethical and committed frames company. Peter Reeve, Managing Director Stepper (UK) limited says, “Delivering comfort and fit that delights spectacle wearers requires good product and the best dispensing skills, so encouraging professionalism in eyecare early in a career delivers the best possible outcomes … Continue reading Stepper

ABDO College

ABDO College offers you and your team courses which allow every staff member to advance. Start with the Optical Assistant course for a great introduction to optics, as well as an ideal way to formalise knowledge gained in practice. Move on to the Senior Optical Assistant course to develop and grow your knowledge and broaden … Continue reading ABDO College

FAQs

Careers in eyecare FAQsI’ve been to the optician’s and it looks like it might be an interesting place to work. What are my options?There are a number of people who work in an optical practice: the optometrist, the dispensing optician, and usually a number of optical assistants or receptionists. In some practices you will also … Continue reading FAQs

Career guides

Brighten Your Future With Careers In Eyecare Did you know? Careers in eyecare offer a lot of potential to young people. Open your eyes to the possibilities… Careers for everyone There are many interesting careers in eyecare and eye wear, with entry at all levels. Whatever your background and interests, you can take your next … Continue reading Career guides

For employers

All Careers in eyecareContact lens opticianDispensing opticianFor employersLooking for workOphthalmologistOptical assistantOptometristWorkWork experienceApprenticeshipsSTEM Categories Careers in eyecare, Contact lens optician, Dispensing optician, For employers, Looking for work, Ophthalmologist, Optical assistant, Optometrist, Work Posted on 14 June 2022 25 May 2022 Flexible bank and locum careers in eyecare If you are still at school or college you … Continue reading Dispensing optician

Woodspeen

Campaign aim: to develop Woodspeen Training’s profile within the optical professions and attract young people to optical apprenticeships. With over 30 years’ experience, Woodspeen Training is a well-established provider of Level 2 – Level 5 Apprenticeship and skills programmes. In the past year it has also begun to offer optical assistant apprenticeships. Kay Bagshaw FBDO … Continue reading Woodspeen