Opticians fit clients with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, help clients select eyeglass frames, arrange for the production of eyeglasses or contact lenses and mount lenses in eyeglass frames. Student opticians and opticians who are managers of optical retail outlets are included in this group.
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People in this career:
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 490
N/A - Data not available
Opticians perform some or all of the following duties:
Most opticians work a regular 35- to 40-hour week. Depending on the type and location of the business, opticians may be required to work evenings and weekends.
Opticians work indoors in well-lit, comfortable surroundings. They may work in physicians’ offices, health-care practices, medical laboratories, small stores or large optical chain stores with several other opticians.
Job hazards for opticians may include contact with harmful chemicals and injuries from cutting glass, so safety precautions are taken.
Source: 2016 Census
Completion of an accredited optician program at an institution recognized by the College of Opticians of British Columbia (COBC) is required. Graduates must also pass a national licensing examination administered by the COBC in order to become a Registered Optician.
Certificates of registration are issued for the following registration classes:
For more information, visit the COBC website at www.cobc.ca.
Opticians are required under provincial regulation in B.C. to receive specialized training before they can conduct automated refractions (sight tests).
Opticians who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the College of Opticians of BC for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
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Job openings will come from retirements and new job creation.
The demand for optical services is rising due to provincial population growth and aging. British Columbia’s growing population will require more optical products, such as glasses and contact lenses. In addition, as B.C.'s population ages, a larger portion of the population will need enhanced vision aids such as corrective lenses and bifocal contact lenses.
Also, with the large number of people using computers in their jobs, special "task-specific" lenses help reduce eye fatigue, further maintaining the need for opticians.
Another trend that may positively affect the demand for opticians is the increased interest in eyewear as a fashion accessory, which may mean more people will visit opticians for specialty optical products.
Opticians may need additional training in order to become licensed contact lens fitters.
With additional experience, opticians may progress to supervisory or management positions or start their own businesses.