What is Accreditation?

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.

How Does a Program Become Accredited?

Accreditation Canada Logo

Step One: Competency Development 

A multi-level and comprehensive stakeholder consultation process from subject matter experts across Canada is used to determine what competencies an optician needs in order to perform their job accurately and efficiently. These competencies are published as the National Competencies for Canadian Opticians.

Step Two: Delivery and Curriculum Design

Teaching institutions that wish to develop a program for opticians must design the curriculum to meet all of the requirements laid out in the national competencies. This ensures that students are properly trained and prepared to write their national exams and apply for licensure.

Step Four: Review

Accreditation Canada reviews the curriculum created by the school and determines if it meets the competency standards. If the curriculum design is lacking, or if Accreditation Canada 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 Choose an Accredited Program?

A line of students in graduation regalia

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.

What to Do About Non-Accredited Education

a man stares down at a book, head in hands.

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.