Opticians

(NOC 3231)

in All Health

Opticians fit clients with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, help clients select eyeglass frames, arrange eyeglasses production, or contact lenses, and mount lenses in eyeglass frames. They are work for optical retail outlets or other businesses with optical dispensing departments, or they may be self-employed. Student opticians and opticians who are managers of optical retail outlets are included in this group.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 70 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. However, competition for positions may be low due to few qualified jobseekers. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Opticians most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 61% of Opticians who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $43,152. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$16.00

Minimum

$25.00

Median

$28.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$13,389

Minimum

$38,489

Median

$61,342

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Opticians fit clients with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, help clients select eyeglass frames, arrange eyeglasses production, or contact lenses, and mount lenses in eyeglass frames. They are work for optical retail outlets or other businesses with optical dispensing departments, or they may be self-employed. Student opticians and opticians who are managers of optical retail outlets are included in this group.

Job duties

Opticians:

  • Get specifications for eyeglasses or contact lenses from a prescription prepared by an ophthalmologist or optometrist or by analyzing the client's eyeglasses or contact lenses and by measuring client's eye curvature, pupillary distance and bridge width, using optical measuring devices.
  • Help clients select eyeglasses by advising on lens materials, frames, tints and anti-reflection coating.
  • Advise on use and care of contact lenses.
  • Arrange for grinding and polishing of lenses or grind and polish lenses.
  • Cut and edge lenses and fit lenses into frames.
  • Adjust finished eyeglasses to fit client.
  • May supervise or manage the activities of other opticians or student opticians.

Sample job titles

  • apprentice optician
  • contact lens dispenser
  • contact lens technician
  • dispensing optician
  • eyeglasses frame fitter
  • licensed contact lens practitioner
  • licensed dispensing optician
  • licensed optician
  • managing optician
  • optician

Skills

This work demands close attention to detail and an ability to work precisely and accurately. You should enjoy working with the general public and be approachable, reassuring, and sensitive to their needs. Opticians require the ability to work alone, as well as a member of a team, in a busy retail environment.

Job requirements

  • A two- or three-year college program in ophthalmic dispensing or optical sciences is required.
  • Licensing by a regulatory body for opticians is required in Nova Scotia.
  • Licensing requirements for scope of practice and protected titles related to dispensing and contact lens certification vary by province.

Other considerations

People in this group usually work regular hours, however, evening and weekend shifts may be required.

By the numbers

Quick look

270

employed in 2016

85.2%

employed full-time

7.4%

self employed

63.0%
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37%
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50.9

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

44.4%

Halifax

20.4%

Annapolis Valley

16.7%

Cape Breton

13.0%

North Shore

5.6%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

66.0%

Retail trade

30.0%

Health care and social assistance

4.0%

Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

26.0%

35-44

26.0%

55-64

20.0%

45-54

15.0%

25-34

7.0%

65+

6.0%

15-24

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

59.3%

College Diploma

$38,580 median annual income
14.8%

Trade Certification

$47,360 median annual income
13.0%

Bachelor

N/A
9.3%

High school

N/A
5.6%

Diploma Below Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Vision Science/Physiological Optics

University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of vision, visual processes, and related phenomena and clinical research and treatment modalities. They include courses in ocular anatomy and physiology, microbiology of the eye, electrophysiology, neurophysiology, corneal physiology, photochemistry, psychophysics, visual biophysics and motor systems, sensory mechanisms and photoreception, eye circulation and metabolism, geometric and physical optics, ocular development across the lifespan, visual stimuli and perception, colour vision, eye motility, biometrics and measurement techniques, visual pathology, and environmental issues.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Optician

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Dispensing Opticians
5991 Spring Garden Road, Suite 430
Halifax, NS B3H 1Y6
(902) 425-7928
(902) 425-0360

Contacts

Opticians Association of Canada
Winnipeg, MB
Nova Scotia Society of Dispensing Opticians
Halifax, NS
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
Bedford, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.