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Dispensing optician

Dispensing opticians give advice on vision care, and supply glasses and contact lenses to suit their customers needs.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need to complete a course approved by the General Optical Council (GOC).

Approved courses include:

  • a 2-year, full-time diploma
  • a 3-year day release or distance learning course (if you’re working in a related role)

You’ll need to pass the professional qualifying exams of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

You’ll need to register with the GOC before you can work.

The GOC and ABDO have more information on careers as a dispensing optician.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • skills in science and maths
  • accuracy and attention to detail for frame fitting and keeping records
  • practical skills to handle equipment
  • selling skills

3. What you'll do

Using an optometrist's prescription you’ll be:

  • calculating vision distances and angles
  • providing advice and information on a customer's options for lenses
  • measuring for spectacles or contact lenses
  • using your sales and communications skills to talk to people about types of spectacle frames
  • fitting, adjusting and repairing frames

You could also show customers how to use and care for contact lenses.

4. Salary

Starter: around £18,000

Experienced: up to £30,000

Highly Experienced: up to £40,000 (specialists and practice managers)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 5 days a week, including Saturdays.

You'll be based in a retail chain or independent private practice.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become assistant manager or become self-employed.

You could work as a consultant to a lens manufacturer, or as a sales representative selling ophthalmological instruments.

You could also work in a hospital, or in teaching.

You could also train as an optometrist.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017