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Dispensing optician

Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

weekends on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Dispensing optician

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

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

More Information

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.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

Student register

If you're a student, you'll need to register as a student with the General Optical Council before you do any clinical work.

Working in the UK

If you qualified outside of the UK, you need to check with the General Optical Council that your qualifications meet UK requirements. 

If your qualifications are accepted, you would then need to contact the Association of British Dispensing Opticians to find out about the professional qualifying examinations.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

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.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and 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

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Dispensing optician right now.

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Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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