So you want to be an optician in Canada…
Nine Provincial Regulatory bodies have come together to make sure that you can work in your field almost anywhere in Canada. If you plan to move to Alberta from another province, or move to another province after studying here, we want to make it as easy as possible for you.
Where should you go to school?
There are currently six schools in Canada where you can study to become an optician. Although they have slightly different designations, all of the diploma programs have key aspects in common. They all have a hands-on portion, giving you the opportunity to develop practical skills. They also all offer eyeglass and contact lens training. Finally, they all require you to write the NACOR exam.
The following Colleges across Canada offer programs which have completed the accreditation process; consequently, they have all met the requirements of the National Accreditation Committee of Opticians (NACO). Although NAIT’s program is available online, any of these schools can help you become an optician in Canada:
In Alberta, and across Canada, without a doubt the most convenient school for many opticians is the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. NAIT’s Optical Sciences Department offers many education paths for working in the optical field, including a two-year Eyeglass Diploma program. This program will of course prepare you to practice as a Registered Optician (RO) in Alberta. In addition, the one-year Contact Lens Certificate program is available after you complete the Eyeglass Diploma.
NAIT’s Optical Sciences programs are blended, meaning they offer courses both online and in clinical settings. First year students in the area may choose to attend bi-weekly lectures at NAIT to complement their online learning. However, these classes are optional. Because the program is offered online, students who do not live in Edmonton are still able to take this course.
Both programs consist of online theory classes, and practical work experience. This ensures that students have ample opportunity to become experts in their field.
NAIT works closely with the ACAO to ensure that the transition from student to optician is as easy as possible.
Where: New Westminster, British Columbia
Course: Dispensing Opticianry Diploma
Douglas is a Public College in British Columbia that offers training in dispensing opticianry. Douglas College’s Dispensing Optician program is a fusion of “Business, Fashion, Vision and Technology.”
Where: Barrie, Ontario
Course: Opticianry Diploma (Co-op)
Georgian College also offers a two year Co-op Diploma program in Opticianry. The program is described as a “blend of health care and business management,” and places “emphasis … on entrepreneurship” by focusing on the skills required to own and operate a small business.
Where: Newnham Campus, Toronto, Ontario
Course: Opticianry Diploma (Co-op)
The Opticianry course offered by Seneca consists of some classroom lectures, but ultimately emphasizes the co-op learning environment. In addition, this program requires students to complete “Emergency First Aid/Heartsaver CPR “BLS-A” certification (St. John Ambulance, Canadian Red Cross or equivalent)” in order to graduate.
Where: Moncton, New Brunswick
Course: Optician Diploma
If you live in New Brunswick and prefer classroom settings to online learning, consider Oulton College’s Optician Diploma program. The NACOR Board of Opticianry Accreditation (NBOA) approved this program, so it will prepare you for the NACOR exam.
Where: Surrey, British Columbia
Course: Dispensing Optician
This is the newest Optical Sciences program in British Columbia, and currently meets the requirements for three-year accreditation. This program will prepare you for the NACOR exam and beyond.