What is a Provisional Optician?

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The NACOR is months away, but you’re ready to get out there now? We’ve got you covered.

A provisional optician is someone who has completed all the training requirements to become an optician, but has not yet successfully completed the NACOR exam. Congratulations! You’re almost there.

Once you have passed all of the required courses at an accredited institution, there is a gap between the end of the school year and when you can take the NACOR exam. During this time, your school is no longer able to regulate you, but you are not yet a fully licensed optician. Rather than leave you in limbo, the ACAO instituted the category of Provisional Optician to bridge that gap.

Provisional Registration 

To register as a Provisional Optician you will need to submit a Provisional Registration Package to the ACAO.

You can also watch this quick overview of the process:

You also Need a Supervisor

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If you’re Provisional and you want to start using your new skills, you can! Just not alone…

As a Provisional Optician you must be supervised by a licensed optician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist in order to practice. When you were a student, your supervision was managed by your educational institution, but now that you are Provisional, your supervisor needs to be handled through the ACAO.

A Supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the Provisional Optician correctly performs the duties and responsibilities of an Optician. Your supervisor must be on hand and available to guide you and offer expertise whenever you are working.

Provisional Opticians have all successfully completed an Accredited Optical Sciences Program which includes a practical portion where they perform duties as student opticians, or challenged an equivalency assessment. Consequently, each have had varying levels of experience working under a supervisor already. Most Provisional Opticians will be competent, and looking to fine tune their skills.


  • If a Provisional Optician measures Seg Height, the Supervisor should either also measure, or watch carefully to confirm that they have done it correctly.
  • If a Provisional Optician is adjusting a frame, the Supervisor should double check just to be sure that it has been adjusted properly, and demonstrate how to make corrections if needed.
  • A Supervisor should be on hand to answer questions; additionally, they must be attentive enough to address any errors in the way the Provisional Optician performs their job.
  • Your supervisor must be on hand and available to guide you and offer expertise whenever you are working.

Provisional Non-Practicing

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Not planning to work? Register as Provisional Non-Practicing

If you decide that you will not be working during your time as provisional, for whatever reason, you may register as Provisional Non-Practicing, and pay non-practicing fees. As non-practicing, you may not work in the field. For more information, visit our Transition to Non-Practicing page, or call the college office.


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You must pay provisional fees to register

After the school year ends and before you can take the NACOR exam, there is a period of time when you must register as Provisional. At that time, you must pay your Provisional fees.

The fee you pay will depend on several factors including whether you are registering as Provisional Eyeglasses Optician, both a Provisional Eyeglasses Optician and Provisional Contact Lens Practitioner, or are already a Registered Eyeglasses Optician and are registering as a Provisional Contact Lens Practitioner, and your date of Graduation and application for Provisional status.

2021 Provisional Registration Fees

(There will not be an annual fee increase for 2021)

Type of Fee Total Fee (includes GST)
Application Fee (to be paid by all applicants except those who are already Registered Eyeglasses Opticians) $300
New Provisional Eyeglasses Opticians
Graduates between Jan. 1 and June 30 $809.11
Graduates between July 1 and Dec. 31 $404.56
New Provisional Contact Lens Practitioner
Graduates between Jan. 1 and June 30 $190.05
Graduates between July 1 and Dec. 31 $95.03
New Provisional Eyeglasses Optician and Provisional Contact Lens Practitioner
Graduates between Jan. 1 and June 30 $999.16
Graduates between July 1 and Dec 31 $499.58

*All non-practicing applicants should contact the ACAO office via phone or email for fee information.

Your initial Provisional registration will be effective from the date you are charged your fees until December 31st of that same year.

If you successfully challenge the NACOR exam during your initial period of Provisional registration, we will amend your Provisional License to be that of a Registered Optician or Registered Contact Lens Practitioner without any additional fees.

If you are unable to complete and pass the NACOR exam before your initial Provisional registration expires, you may re-register as Provisional for the following year. Registration renewal is open from October 1st to December 1st during which time you register for the upcoming year (effective January 1st).

Registration Package

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Download the Registration Package

For first time registrants, you need to fill out and send in the  Provisional Registration Package. After you have been added to our database, you will get a username and password for your online profile. After you register as provisional, you’ll be able to renew your registration online every year! For more information about annual registration renewal, visit our Registration and Renewal page.