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Dispensing optician

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

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

42 to 44 a week

You could work: weekends; on a rota

Future employment

There will be 4% more Dispensing optician jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • calculate vision distances and angles
  • give advice on caring for eye equipment
  • measure for glasses or contact lenses and help people choose lenses and frames
  • fit, adjust and repair frames
  • refer clients back to an optometrist for vision tests when needed
  • work with suppliers, order products and check quality on delivery

Working environment

You could work at a store or in an NHS or private hospital.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

To qualify as a dispensing optician, you can do a course approved by the General Optical Council. There are 3 different types of course to choose from.

You can do a:

  • full-time diploma which takes 2 years followed by working under supervision for a year
  • day release training course combined with working which takes 3 years
  • distance learning course which includes on the job training and takes 3 years

You'll also need to pass the professional qualifying examinations from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, including a science
For more information

You may be able to apply for a place on a Dispensing Optician Level 6 Apprenticeship, with an opticians company.

This can take 3 years to complete.

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

You might find it helpful to get some work experience before you apply to study.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Association of British Dispensing Opticians for professional development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about working as a dispensing optician from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and the General Optical Council.

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With experience you could:become self employed and run your own business; become a dispensing optician supervisor; work as a consultant to a lens manufacturer or as a sales representative selling equipment; work in a hospital or teach at a university; do further training and qualify to become an optometrist

Opportunities are available with employers such as Specsavers

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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