Why are there so few recognized programs when other places claim to educate opticians?
Accreditation is a guarantee that the program you are taking will teach you everything you need to know to succeed in your field. The Diploma Programs listed on our Recognized Programs page have undergone extensive evaluation by the National Accreditation Committee of Opticians (NACO), a regulatory agency that ensures Optician programs meet education standards.
After you finish school, you will be required to take the NACOR exam. This exam will test you on the knowledge and skills needed to be a competent optician. Accredited programs will fully prepare you for the NACOR, and of course, for being an optician.
Can we be certain that the accredited program is as good as it claims to be?
Step One: Task Analysis.
A Task Analysis is performed to discover what opticians need to learn. The Task Analysis is a survey of the tasks performed by opticians in Canada.
Step Two: Competency Development.
Using the Task Analysis, a panel of experts determines what skills an optician needs in order to perform their job accurately and efficiently. Even though some skills are used less often, it is still important to prepare opticians for anything they may encounter.
Step Three: Delivery and Curriculum Design.
We deliver the Competencies to the teaching institutions that wish to develop a program for opticians. The schools must then design their own curriculum that meets all of the requirements laid out in the Competencies. This ensures that students are properly trained.
Step Four: Review.
NACO reviews the curriculum created by the school, and determines if it meets Competency standards. If the curriculum design is lacking, or if NACO believes that students graduating from the proposed program will be unable to safely and effectively perform their duties as opticians, the program will not receive accreditation.
Why spend the time and energy on a two-year program when you could do it in six months?
We understand your frustration. Programs trying to entice you with the promise of quick study can be tempting. But unfortunately, they can’t teach you everything you need to know in such a short time. A non-accredited program might seem like a time-saving alternative, even if it costs a little more. But the time and money you will spend to supplement your education because you have not learned everything you need to know, simply is not worth it.
We are a regulated health profession, therefore we cannot accept less than our Standards of Practice. In order to register as an optician in Alberta, you must meet all of the competency requirements and pass the NACOR exam. Unfortunately, non-accredited programs cannot guarantee you the full breadth of education you will need to do this.
It’s too late to go back, so what can you do now?
Maybe you started your education journey without checking here first. You were just so excited to become an optician that you signed up for the first class you could find, not realizing the difference between accredited and non-accredited programs.
If you have not yet completed any Opticianry training, we HIGHLY recommend that you choose one of the recognized accredited programs. For instance, NAIT offers a Diploma program that you can take online. So you don’t need to physically attend a school to become an optician.
However, if you have already attended a non-accredited institution and then found out that you cannot become an optician with the education you have received, please visit our Non-Accredited Education page for the steps you can take next.