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Dispensing Optician

The role

Dispensing Opticians work with Optometrists and eye surgeons. They make up prescriptions and fit and supply glasses, contact lenses and other appliances to clients.

They provide advice on the types of lenses and frames a client could buy. They could also fit, adjust and repair frames.

A Dispensing Optician will usually work in a private practice, and sometimes in hospitals, or as a consultant.

How to become a Dispensing Optician

A Dispensing Optician must be registered with the General Optical Council (GOC). Entry to the register requires a candidate to have taken a GOC-approved course, and to pass the Professional Qualifying Examinations from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

Diplomas are either two years long full-time, or three years long part-time. The part-time courses are available to candidates who are already in suitable employment, either through day-release or distance learning. The distance learning course is offered by the ABDO.

Course entry requirements vary, however A-Levels in sciences are usually required.

Skills and knowledge required

  • Good people and communication skills
  • Mathematical and scientific understanding
  • Good attention to detail
  • An eye for style and an understanding of fashion
  • Strong administrative skills
  • Patience


The average salary is between £15,000 and £25,000 a year. Those with specialist knowledge or increased responsibility may earn £28,000 to £35,000 a year.

The hours

Hours for a Dispensing Optician could be full- or part-time. They may be required to work on Saturdays.

Useful websites - General Optical Council – Association of British Dispensing Opticians


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