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Opticians fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses, low-vision aids, and other eyewear to match prescriptions.

  • Avg. Salary $46,003.00
  • Avg. Wage $26.71
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Contact Lens Filler, Contact Lens Practitioner, Dispensing Optician, Opthalmic Dispenser, Optical Dispenser, R.O. Dispensing Optician, Salesperson

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Opticians (3231) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Opticians (D231) 
  • 2011 NOC: Opticians (3231) 
  • 2016 NOC: Opticians (3231) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Optician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in operating optical measuring devices to measure clients' eye curvatures, pupillary distances and bridge widths; and in using equipment to cut and edge lenses, fit lenses into frames, and grind and polish lenses


Interest in compiling prescriptive information to produce eyeglasses or arrange for the production of eyeglasses, to arrange for grinding and polishing of lenses, and to adjust finished eyeglasses to fit clients; may supervise or manage the activities of students and other opticians


Interest in speaking to clients to advise them on the correct use and care of contact lenses

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2018

Opticians supply eyeglasses, contact lenses, low-vision aids, and prosthetics. To do this, they use written prescriptions or match existing optical products. Duties vary but, in general, opticians:

  • study and interpret prescriptions
  • help customers choose the best frames (size and shape) based on their prescription and facial structure
  • advise customers on lens and frame types
  • refer to relevant health care providers as needed
  • take measurements (to determine the size, shape and specifications) for lenses, frames, and lens forms
  • prepare work orders for optical lab technicians (who grind lenses)
  • assemble and repair eyeglasses
  • verify that completed eyeglasses meet the required specifications (fit)
  • adjust glasses to ensure customer comfort
  • fit and supply low-vision aids
  • promote good eye health and demonstrate the correct use of eyewear
  • conduct or collaborate in optical-related research.

In Alberta, they may provide refractions (measures of required eyeglass lens power). This requires remote supervision by a physician or optometrist.

Some opticians become certified as contact lens practitioners. They may design, supply, and assess contact lenses:

  • from optical prescriptions
  • for patients who have had a traumatic injury or corneal surgery
  • for reshaping corneas to correct near-sightedness
  • for patients who have eye disease.

Further to the duties above, opticians may:

  • arrange and keep displays of eyewear products
  • supervise the training of student opticians
  • purchase supplies or have related accounting duties.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Opticians are on their feet for much of their working day. Those working in retail stores may have to work some evenings and weekends.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Opticians need to possess:

  • a courteous, pleasant manner
  • speaking and listening skills
  • the ability to think critically
  • the ability to resolve conflicts
  • the ability to study and interpret customer issues
  • the ability to focus on details
  • a good sense of spatial relationships
  • good fine motor skills (to manipulate small objects and instruments).

They should enjoy:

  • dealing with people
  • using optical tools and equipment
  • gathering, interpreting, and confirming information.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

In Alberta, opticians must have a combination of internship (practicum) experience and technical courses.

For a list of schools and programs that are recognized by the National Association of Canadian Optician Regulators (NACOR) visit their website.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018


Opticians dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses, low vision aids and prosthetics from written prescriptions or by duplicating existing optical products. They also may provide automated sight tests to consumers under contract with prescribing physicians or optometrists.


Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Opticians Profession Regulation, registration with the Alberta College and Association of Opticians (ACAO) is mandatory if you meet the identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public, teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. Registered members who are authorized by the College provide restricted activities specified in the Regulation. Only registered members of the College may call themselves or practice as an optician.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) a diploma program in eyeglass dispensing approved by the Alberta College and Association of Opticians, and (2) approved examinations. Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time also may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the ACAO website or contact the ACAO. The ACAO has a prior learning assessment process for assessing credentials and training obtained outside Canada.

Working in Alberta

Opticians who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered opticians in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To learn about certification for internationally educated opticians, see Optician Registration Process.

Contact Details

Alberta College and Association of Opticians
201, 2528 Ellwood Dr SW
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6X 0A9
Phone number: 780-429-2694
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-263-6026
Fax number: 780-426-5576
Toll-free fax number: 1-800-584-6896

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Opticians work in:

  • retail stores
  • educational settings
  • refractive surgery clinics
  • low-vision practices
  • contact lens specialty practices.

They may be employees or independent owners of optical services. Some opticians work in association with ophthalmologists, optometrists, or a group of optical practitioners.

In Alberta, 99% of opticians work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the 3231: Opticians occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

This occupation generally has a high turnover rate and employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Salaries vary depending on the company and the optician’s skills. Some receive commissions on the sale of optical devices. 

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $25.00 $19.62 $20.19
Overall $21.00 $31.00 $26.71 $27.00
Top $23.00 $48.58 $33.66 $32.50

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Alberta College and Association of Opticians (ACAO) website:

Opticians Association of Canada (OAC) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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