Why Now is the Best Time to Become a Dispensing Optician

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Today’s aging and screen-centred population is increasing Canada’s need for skilled professionals in the eye care field. Dispensing optician careers offer rewarding customer service experiences and more job security than ever before.

Read on to see why a career in optometry is a great choice, and how you can prepare to meet this fast-paced industry head on.

dispensing optician technician

Dispensing Opticians Love What They Do

A modern dispensing optician is the technical practitioner responsible for fitting and selling the lenses that help people see. They skillfully use various ophthalmic appliances to ensure clients are getting their perfect corrective glasses or contact lenses.

“These are all major factors in helping a person see better,” says Kim McEachern, licensed optician with the Opticians Association of Canada. “It’s a very interesting career because it does fit retail with healthcare.”

She and her peers agree that the job is about much more than checking technical examination boxes and selling eyewear. Optician appointments are rewarding experiences for both the client and the professional.

Licensed optician Sue Randahawa believes that the greatest moment is when you give someone glasses and watch them say “oh my God, I can see.”

And those moments stick with you. Stenberg instructor Regian Moses recalls a little girl, from early on in his career, who didn’t want him to remove the glasses he had fitted her with. “She was amazed at what she could see…she was just in disbelief.”

Dispensing Opticians are In-Demand

Aside from glasses becoming hip accessories in recent years, more time spent in front of computer and mobile device screens means that the demand for eye care is rapidly increasing.

Overexposure to video games, televisions, laptops and other devices, is causing what industry insiders call Computer Vision Syndrome— eye strain problems that come from prolonged exposure to bright, backlit screens. The modern person’s eyes are exerting extra effort to maintain clear images despite overtime spent looking at bright screens. This digital eye strain is becoming linked to cataracts and macular degeneration.

The nation’s aging baby boomers also boost the demand for eye care professionals. In fact, Statistics Canada says that there will soon be more Canadians over sixty-five than there are Canadian children. And at the moment there’s a shortage of licensed opticians in Canada.

“Where you see that shortage is mostly in BC and Alberta,” says Trudi Charest licensed optician and optician job-hunt website owner. “Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver almost always have a variety of job postings on the website at all times.”

If you are looking for a secure career in the modern job market, where you will have the opportunity to help people, a career as a Dispensing Optician is the perfect choice.

Stenberg’s Dispensing Optician Training Advantage


Stenberg College instructors believe their training can craft you into a capable Dispensing Optician who meets this high demand.

“We’re constantly learning new techniques, new advances in technology—it sets us apart in that [you can be] considered a professional,” says Gisele Klein, licensed optician and program advisory member at Stenberg College. “You can’t even call yourself an optician if you’re not licensed.”

Stenberg’s Dispensing Optician Program guides students to excel in their licensing process by teaching the standards laid out by the National Association of Canadian Optician Regulators. It uses combined in-class and online learning formats to encourage students to master both marketing skills and technical optometry requirements. Additionally, Stenberg offers financial aid to help students on their way, through connecting them with loan programs and grants.

At the end of the day, the right training helps opticians impart the incredible gift of better sight onto community members in need.

Charest sums it up best when she says “You’re going to be responsible for looking after one of life’s greatest assets…vision and eyes.”

Interested in Learning More?

Stenberg's Dispensing Optician Diploma Program is a 55-week program offered in a combined-delivery format. Learn more about the program by clicking the button below.

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