Dispensing optician

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

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


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (adaptability)
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Dispensing Optician, you typically need to have a strong foundation in science and mathematics, as well as good communication skills and an understanding of healthcare. While the specific GCSE subjects required may vary by educational institution and region, here are some recommended GCSE subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring Dispensing Opticians:

  1. Science (Physics and Biology): Science subjects like Physics and Biology can provide you with a fundamental understanding of the human eye, vision, and basic physiological processes related to vision and eye health.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics is important for understanding optical calculations, such as lens prescriptions and measurements for eyeglasses and contact lenses.
  3. English Language: Good communication skills are essential in this profession, as you’ll need to effectively interact with patients, explain eyewear options, and provide instructions on care and usage.
  4. Design and Technology (or a related subject): This subject can be helpful for understanding the design and manufacturing of eyeglasses and other optical devices.
  5. Physical Education (PE): Some schools or programs may consider PE as relevant due to its focus on overall physical health and well-being.

While these subjects are recommended, it’s essential to check with the specific educational institution or program you plan to attend, as requirements may vary. Additionally, some programs may have specific academic prerequisites or entrance exams, so it’s a good idea to research the admission criteria for the program you’re interested in to ensure you meet their requirements.

Post School

You can get into this job through a university course.

To qualify to become a dispensing optician, you’ll need to do a course approved by a General Optical Council. There are 3 different types of courses you could choose to do.

You could 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

Working Hours and Environment:

You could typically work 42 to 44 hours per week.

You could work at a store or in a government or private hospital.

Career Path & Progression:

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