Dispensing Optician

Dispensing Opticians are integral members of the eye-care team who design, produce and fit eyeglasses, contact lenses and specialized products for their clients.

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    Delivery Method

    Delivery Method: Combined Delivery

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    Duration: 55 weeks, including a 6-week full-time practicum and a 4-week full-time preceptorship

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    Starts: Twice per year (May and October)

Dispensing Opticians are integral members of the eye-care team who design, produce and fit eyeglasses, contact lenses and specialized products for their clients. If you are customer focused, organized and enthusiastic and want to work as part of a healthcare team, consider a career as a Dispensing Optician.

Stenberg’s Dispensing Optician program has been organized to ensure graduates gain skills in key areas valued within the field. Through theory and lab courses, students gain a comprehensive education in the areas of eyeglass dispensing, contact lens fitting and automated refraction. Emphasis is placed on interpersonal communication, customer service and professional practice. This program prepares students to successfully complete the national licensing exam.

Stenberg’s Dispensing Optician program provides instructor-led guided online learning in a highly supported environment. Stenberg’s combined delivery format allows you to pursue your education in your home community.

Stenberg College is accredited by the BC government’s Ministry of Advanced Education through the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB).

PTIB is responsible for setting standards of quality and ensuring consumer protection. Stenberg College has also received the BC government’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation which is BC’s brand or “seal” of quality post-secondary education for both public and private institutions.

Stenberg’s Dispensing Optician program is a National Association of Canadian Optician Regulators (NACOR) accredited program.

All of our programs are developed in collaboration with industry to meet their needs which is why our graduates are so successful.

Over 92% of our graduates are employed in their field of study within 6 months of graduation.

As a Dispensing Optician, you’ll find opportunities for employment in optometry clinics, optical stores (independent or chain), ophthalmology offices, optics labs, independent business offices, and in the product sales sector.

Based on employment statistics gathered by Stenberg College, the wage range of Dispensing Opticians is from $14 – $21 per hour depending on experience and location. There are also opportunities for benefits, incentives, bonuses and sales-based commission.

The related national occupation classification number for Dispensing Opticians is 3231.

  • Grade 12 graduation or mature student status
  • Provide proof of English 10 or higher, or take the Reading Comprehension test Level C. A Stenberg College English Assessment is available
  • Any Math 11 with a grade of “C-” or higher (or equivalent); or completion of the Stenberg College Math Assessment
  • Any Science Grade 11 or 12 with a grade of C or higher (preferred)
  • Two years of retail or customer service experience with the same employer or a minimum six months of customer service experience with a reference letter from an employer
  • Passing Verbal Test of English if English is a second language
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview
  • Admissions Essay
  • Completion of Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, students will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance with Practice Education requirements could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description:

Orientation and Student Success Skills

This course will provide a comprehensive orientation to Stenberg College and the Dispensing Optician Program. It includes student success skills where you’ll learn effective study habits (specifically improving reading skills) based on your own personal learning style. Life skills exercises are also integral to the course, teaching accountability, teamwork, self-awareness and building an understanding of the impact you have on others. In addition, you will be taught how to effectively navigate and learn within the program’s combined delivery model using the online learning platform (Moodle) as well as Adobe Connect for online meetings.

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Computer Fundamentals

This course is designed to provide you with a detailed introduction to correct typing technique and the computer skills required to work in a fast-paced environment. Throughout the course, you will use a simulated program to improve proficiency with the Internet, Windows environment, data entry and Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, and Excel).

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Customer Service & Professional Communications I

In this foundational course, you will learn theoretical and practical skills to promote effective communication with clients and co-workers. You will be encouraged to become more aware of the impact of your own communication choices and patterns. You will have opportunity to develop and use communication techniques that demonstrate personal awareness, respect and active listening skills. Communication theory, therapeutic communication, cross-cultural communication, and effective teamwork will all be covered.

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Anatomy & Physiology of the Eye

It’s essential that you, as a Dispensing Optician student, develop a thorough understanding of the concepts of ocular anatomy and physiology. This course gives an overview of the structure and function of each component of the visual system and the external anatomical structures. It explores the pathophysiological alterations that can affect an individual’s vision. Common medications used to treat eye conditions will also be taught.

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Professional Practice & Office Procedures

This course provides an introduction to the profession, focusing on the regulations and legislation that informs Opticianry practice within British Columbia. You will discuss your role and responsibilities as a working optician, exploring the Code of Ethics, and Standards of Practice for the profession. You will also be introduced to the roles and functions of various members of the eye care team, and you discuss note taking, documentation practices, informed consent and office set up.

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Foundations of Optics

In this course, you will learn the basic principles of light, plane and curved surfaces of mirrors and lenses and how to perform basic mathematical calculations needed for opticianry practice. The photochemistry of vision will be studied along with the concept of visual fields. You will also be introduced to monocular and binocular vision and be able to compare the effects of each on depth perception and visual acuity.

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Eyeglasses Theory

In this extensive course, you will investigate all aspects of eyeglass production and delivery to the client. You will learn lens theory, interpretation of prescriptions, types of materials and an introduction to the instruments of the trade. You will also learn the variety of lens and frame selections along with the manufacturing process. Conducting client assessments and documentation will also be explored along with methods of client teaching. Finally, you will learn how to evaluate eyeglasses and provide follow-up care to your customers.

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Eyeglasses Lab

During this course you will turn your theoretical knowledge into real world practice as you apply your learning in the lab. You will become familiar with the instruments, equipment and tools required for the process of eyeglass dispensing. You will learn how to take ocular measurements, manage infection control and aseptic techniques, as well as safe operating procedures, lens and frames specifications and validation. Demonstrating customer services skills through professional communications will be practiced as you conduct assessments, provide client teaching and document appropriately.

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Eyeglasses Fabrication and Design

During this course you will learn how to finish eyeglasses through adjustments such as lens edging and tinting as well as how to adjust frames to match the client’s needs and perform minor frame repairs. You will also research fashion trends in eyeglasses and discuss how to assist clients in finding their style.

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Customer Service & Professional Communications II

Following on from the foundational course in Semester I, you will discover how to be an advocate for your clients. To help meet the needs of our aging population, you will focus on how to communicate respectfully and appropriately with older adults.

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Low Vision Conditions & Devices

In this combined theory and lab course, you will focus on supporting clients with low vision, reading low-vision prescriptions and working with current products.

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Consolidated Practice Experience: Eyeglasses

During this three-week consolidated practicum, you will have the opportunity to put your eyeglass dispensing skills into practice under the supervision of a monitor.

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Business Management

In this course you discuss basic business requirements for establishing and running a small business. You will learn core skills through investigating the concepts of time management, human resources, inventory control, legislation and regulations, problem solving and conducting industry and/or product research.

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Sales and Marketing Skills

During this course you will focus on topics such as gaining insight into client behavior, appealing to a target audience, developing promotional strategies, the art of upselling, interpreting buying patterns, selling on the phone and retaining a loyal customer base.

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Contact Lenses Theory

In this course you will refresh your anatomy and physiology knowledge before exploring eye conditions common to contact lens wearers. You will then learn methods for fitting and dispensing contact lenses. Contact lens materials, manufacturing processes, prescriptions and required instruments are all examined. You will discuss the different products available and how to promote optimal ocular health for contact lens wearers.

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Contact Lenses Lab

You will apply your theoretical knowledge within the lab to provide safe, competent care when fitting soft and rigid lenses. You will become proficient in conducting a client assessment, taking measurements, preparing and ordering lenses, then fitting, modifying and evaluating the finished contact lenses. Educating the client on proper care of contact lenses will be emphasized along with providing follow up care.

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Consolidated Practice Experience: Contact Lenses

During this three-week consolidated practicum, you will have the opportunity to perfect your contact lens fitting skills in a dispensing setting.

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Refractive Conditions and Automated Refraction

In the beginning of this course you will review the principles of refraction before discussing the pathophysiology of refractive conditions including astigmatism, anisometropia, and aniseikonic. In the second part of this course you will learn the automated refraction process and discuss its limitations, contraindications, and referrals before applying your knowledge of the process in the lab.

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Career Search Strategies

This course is offered in an online delivery format. You will learn to network effectively (online and in person), to search and apply for jobs and to prepare targeted resumes and cover letters. You are also provided with coaching and individualized instructor feedback on your resume, cover letter and interview skills.

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This final four-week preceptorship concludes the program and facilitates your transition from student to graduate. A designated mentor will guide and encourage you to apply your knowledge, insight and skills in a professional setting. You will be required to be available during the day, afternoon, evening and weekends. At the conclusion of this experience, there will be a collaborative final debriefing. You will have the opportunity to reflect on and share your experiences as well as evaluate your overall educational experience so that the program may be improved in relation to student feedback.

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Program Review and License Exam Prep

This will be a review of key theoretical and practical knowledge from the program. You will also receive test-taking skills information to help you as you prepare for your license examination.

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In order to be placed in an agency or facility for the required program practice experiences, you must have successfully completed Standard First Aid, CPR Level HC. As a student in the Stenberg Program, you will also take Body Mechanics and Back Safety as well as Managing Hostile Interactions Certification to ensure that you have the advantage of additional external certifications valued by today’s employers.

Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description.

Standard First Aid CPR Level HCP

You’ll receive Red Cross Standard First Aid Certification including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Health Care Provider (HCP) and Automated External Defibrillation (AED). This industry standard certification is valid for three years.

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Body Mechanics & Back Safety

You will be educated in proper body movement to prevent and correct poor posture, reduce stress on ligaments, joints and tendons and enhance physical capabilities. Proper body mechanics and back safety will enhance the longevity and success in the workplace. Please note: While this training follows best practices, graduates may also be required to learn and follow workplace specific protocols.

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Managing Hostile Interactions

Hostile incidents are clearly on the increase in society today and more people find themselves presented with personally hurtful, intimidating hostile behaviour. Dealing effectively with hostile individuals takes energy and the careful application of a specific
range of skills. In this certificate course, you will learn to manage your own conduct, defuse the person, and then address the problem.

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You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans, as well as other financing options; Stenberg’s Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.

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