Opticians

(NOC 3231)

in All Health

Opticians fit clients with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, assist clients in the selection of eyeglass frames, arrange for the production of eyeglasses or contact lenses and mount lenses in eyeglass frames. They are employed in optical retail outlets or other establishments 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

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 60 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. 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 62% 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

$17.07

Minimum

$25.00

Median

$33.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$13,389

Minimum

$38,489

Median

$61,342

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$25.50

Median

$41.00

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, assist clients in the selection of eyeglass frames, arrange for the production of eyeglasses or contact lenses and mount lenses in eyeglass frames. They are employed in optical retail outlets or other establishments 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 perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Obtain 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.
  • Assist clients in selecting 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

  • Completion of 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

245

employed in 2016

84.6%

employed full-time

6.1%

self employed

63.0%
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37%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
50.9

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

77.1%

employed full-time

10.2%

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%

Northern

5.6%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

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%

Textiles, Furniture and Other Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

35.3%

45-54

17.6%

55-64

17.6%

25-34

11.8%

15-24

11.8%

35-44

11.8%

65+

Compared to: All Health

31.4%

45-54

27.6%

35-44

20.5%

55-64

15.2%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

61.5%

College certificate or diploma

$46,764 median annual income
15.4%

Trades certificate

$43,674 median annual income
9.6%

Bachelor's degree

$39,996 median annual income
7.7%

High school

$34,671 median annual income
5.8%

University certificate or diploma

$50,463 median annual income

Compared to: All Health

39.4%

College certificate or diploma

$36,693 median annual income
27.6%

Bachelor's degree

$57,186 median annual income
7.2%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

$83,000 median annual income
6.9%

High school

$24,119 median annual income
5.1%

Master's degree

$87,808 median annual income

Education & training

Opticianry/ophthalmic dispensing optician

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to adapt and fit corrective eyewear, including eyeglasses and contact lenses, as prescribed by ophthalmologists or optometrists; to assist patients in selecting appropriate frames; and to prepare work orders for ophthalmic laboratory technicians. These programs include courses in geometrical optics; ophthalmic optics; anatomy of the eye; optical instrumentation; use and maintenance of adjustment and cleaning tools; prescription interpretation; contact lens adaptation and fitting; prosthesis fitting; facial and eye measuring; pathology identification; record-keeping; and patient and business administrative tasks.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Vision science/physiological optics

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of vision, visual processes, and related phenomena and clinical research and treatment modalities. These programs 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Optician

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

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
2706 - 83 Garry Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 4J9
Tel: (800) 847-3155
Fax: (204) 947-2519
Nova Scotia Society of Dispensing Opticians
PO Box 22034
Halifax, NS B3L 4T7
Tel: (902) 499-7562
Fax: (902) 443-2834
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Job postings

licensed dispensing optician

View all job postings