Accredited programs are required to meet rigorous standards that ensure opticians are properly trained as experts in their field.
An example of an unaccredited program would be a training program offered in a country outside of Canada. Another example would be a program in Canada that has not been accredited. Some unaccredited programs offer quick study courses that claim to train students to be opticians, but there is a lot more involved in that training than a course can teach you in such a short amount of time.
For this reason, we recommend that individuals who are interested in becoming opticians and have no prior experience or education in a related field should apply to an accredited opticianry program.
However, if you have already attended an unaccredited training institution or have a background in optics or health care, you may still be eligible to become an optician through the PLAR process.
Accredited Post-Secondary Options
There are 3 post-secondary paths that you could follow on your way to becoming an optician.
1. Distance delivery – Students work under the supervision of a licensed optician while studying independently.
2. Full time programs – Students attend post-secondary classes on a full time basis with a requirement for practice experience under the supervision of a licensed optician.
3. Part time programs – Students work under the supervision of a licensed optician and also attend some post-secondary classes in person or online.
Most Canadian optician training programs are offered in English. Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and la Cité Collège also offer training in French. In Quebec, training is given in French in three colleges, Cégep Édouard-Montpetit, Cégep Garneau and Cégep régional de Lanaudière à l’Assomption.
Costs and times vary depending on which option you choose. Training ranges from 2 to 4 years.
One of the best things about the distance delivery or part time option is the opportunity to earn a living while receiving an education. Working in the industry while studying also gives you the chance to gain practical experience and determine if this career is the right fit for you.
Accredited Post-Secondary Institutions
Accredited programs are available at several institutions. You can view the complete list by visiting this page.
The National Optical Sciences Examination is a practical exam and is often referred to as the NACOR exam because it is administered by the National Alliance of Canadian Optician Regulators (NACOR).
After successfully challenging the exam, applicants are eligible to register as opticians across Canada
The health care field is constantly changing, with new technology and research emerging all the time. Consequently, opticians need to be aware of new techniques, information, and emerging technology that may impact eye care or the services they offer.
Opticians make a commitment to continuing competency and lifelong learning. For example, opticians take learning courses online, attend conferences and seminars, establish study groups with their colleagues, and much more.
In addition, the public has a right to expect that registered health professionals continually demonstrate proficiency in the field. They expect that you are not relying on outdated knowledge or techniques, and that they are getting the best care possible.