3 Motivating Reasons to Pursue Optician Training in Canada
Many people experience some form of vision loss. Whether due to aging, injury, disease, or an inherited condition, poor eyesight can negatively impact a person's enjoyment of life or even cause problems related to employment and getting around. In fact, it's estimated that:
- About 500,000 Canadians suffer from vision loss that is severe enough to impact their lives in major ways.*
- Over 5.5 million people across the nation have eye diseases that are capable of causing vision loss.*
Plus, those statistics don't necessarily include the millions of Canadians who live with common conditions like near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or distorted vision due to astigmatism. As a result, a lot of demand exists for opticians (i.e., trained and licensed professionals who interpret optical prescriptions and help prepare or supply eye-care patients with stylish and functional glasses, contact lenses, low-vision aids, or other eye- or vision-related products).
By getting the required training for licensed optician jobs, you may have the chance to benefit from:
1. Good Pay After Relatively Little Schooling
Having an optician career can mean having the ability to earn a comfortable living. For example, nationwide estimates for the 2014-2015 period show that the median wage for opticians in Canada was $23.00 per hour. So for a full-time licensed optician, salary income can reach a median of almost $47,840 a year. However, salaries in this field have also been reported to go as high as $65,000 to $69,555 for top earners in some areas of the country.**
Plus, it's possible to get an optician education that takes as little as 55 weeks to two years. And a lot of programs include practicums for real work experience as part of that training. Some optician programs even feature online courses.
After completing your training, the process of becoming licensed is fairly simple. First, you need to pass the National Optical Sciences Examination. Then you can apply for registration with your province's optician regulatory agency, which might have a name that's similar to the College of Opticians of British Columbia or the Opticians Association of New Brunswick.
2. Growing Demand
The chance to earn a good certified optician salary isn't the only appealing benefit of choosing this path. In fact, another smart factor to consider is the field's future job outlook. In 2015, Canada was home to about 2,850 optical retail establishments.*** But that number could grow significantly in the coming decades thanks to a significant rise in the population of Canadian seniors as well as higher rates of physical conditions like diabetes and obesity that often lead to vision problems.
In fact, the whole sector of vision health care is expected to experience a labour shortage in Canada. Between 2015 and 2024, more than 2,500 job openings are expected for opticians.**
3. Fulfilling Job Duties
Helping people see the world with renewed clarity can feel highly satisfying. That's why a lot of the specific tasks that opticians perform along the way are so meaningful. For example, an optician job description can include important tasks such as:
- Obtaining the measurements and other specs that are necessary for producing eyeglasses or contact lenses based on the prescriptions of optometrists or ophthalmologists
- Helping people choose eyeglass frames that meet their needs
- Arranging for the production of eyeglass lenses or contact lenses
- Fitting newly ground, polished, cut, and edged lenses into frames
- Making adjustments to eyeglasses so that they fit better on the people who wear them
- Tracking sales and product inventory
- Maintaining detailed client records
In addition, some opticians specialize in a particular area of the field such as the grinding and polishing of lenses, the dispensing of low-vision aids, or the fitting of contact lenses, cosmetic shells, or artificial eyes.
Start With Just One Easy Action
Your education in vision care can begin very soon. So put your current postal code into the following search tool to discover optician training schools in your region!
* CNIB, website last visited on October 27, 2015.
** Government of Canada, Job Bank, website last visited on January 24, 2017.
*** Industry Canada, website last visited on June 21, 2017.