The practice of optometry entails the fitting and supply of eyeglasses and contact lenses. Therefore, candidates for Opticianry, like other health professions, must meet particular certification and educational requirements to indicate that they are qualified for the job.
How To Become an Optician in Canada, an individual must enroll in an Opticianry Program at one of the approved educational institutions that provide such a program to become a Licensed Optician in Canada. Full-time, part-time, and online optometry programs are available, with completion times ranging from 1-3 years, depending on the institution.
Once a student has completed an Opticianry degree, they can take the NACOR National Optical Sciences Examination*, the testing method utilized by 9 of Canada’s ten provinces for licensure. Students may apply for registration with their Provincial Regulatory Agency after passing the Optical Sciences Examination (often called a College of Opticians). An Optician with a license from the Provincial Regulatory Agency (College of Opticians) can practice to the full extent of their province’s legislation.
Depending on the student’s province, they may choose to continue their education and become a licensed Contact Lens Fitter. A person must complete a Contact Lens program, pass the NACOR National Optical Sciences Examination* for Contact Lenses, and then apply for a license to dispense contact lenses through their Provincial Regulatory Agency (College of Opticians).
Licensed Opticians in Ontario and Quebec are called ‘dual-licensed,’ meaning they must complete eyeglasses and contact lenses training.
How To Become an Optician In Canada
1. Attend University.
Begin preparing for your OD degree while still in high school. While you cannot apply to an OD program right after high school, you should begin thinking about the requirements for optometry school admissions at that time. Ascertain that you have completed the required high school courses to get admitted to a university science degree program. In your senior year of high school, apply to a Bachelor of Science (in a Faculty of Science) degree program at a Canadian institution. Apply for a full-time program with five classes per term;
- Community college programs cannot be used as a prerequisite for an OD program.
- You do not have to attend your undergraduate program at the University.
- Select a BSc program with the flexibility to choose elective courses as you’ll need to take specific courses as a requirement for application to an OD program.
2. Take at least 3 years of a BSc undergraduate program.
For the OD program application, make sure you enroll in and complete the undergraduate course prerequisites. Also, make sure you’ve completed at least 30 credits (5 courses over 6 terms) before starting your OD program. Prerequisite courses are mentioned below and include both science and non-science subjects. Maintain a minimum of a 75 percent overall university average.
- It would be best if you had each of the following courses at the BSc level: English, Intro Ethics, Intro Psychology, Intro Biology (with lab) x 2, Intro Microbiology, Physiology x 2, Intro Chemistry (with lab), Intro Biochemistry, Intro Organic Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics, and Intro Physics (with lab) x 2.
- Prerequisite courses account for half the courses you take during your BSc education.
- While the minimum average for applying to the OD program is 75%, accepted students averaged 79 and 95%.
- You do not need to complete your BSc degree to apply to an OD program.
3. Shadow a current optometrist for at least 8 hours.
A reference from a practicing optometrist who can vouch that you understand what an optometrist performs will be required for your OD program application. Job shadowing a practicing optometrist is the best method to do this. You must follow this optometrist for at least 8 hours. However, not all of those hours must be completed simultaneously. You are also welcome to spend more than 8 hours shadowing or volunteering at an optometrist’s practice.
- Consider applying for a co-op placement at an optometrist’s office in high school or during your BSc.
- As this is an application requirement, optometrists will not be surprised to have students approach them for job shadowing purposes.
4. Write the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) within 2 years of applying.
You must take the OAT within two years of applying to the OD program. So, for example, if you’re using the OD program in the fall, you must have taken the OAT between August 31 and August 31 of the previous year. Go to the test’s website, which is located at Optometry Admission Test, to register. Ensure you’ve taken the appropriate BSc courses before taking the OAT.
- The OAT is administered by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry for OD program admissions in the US and Canada.
- While the test is electronic, you do need to take the test at a Prometric, Inc. test centre in person.
- The OAT includes biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, physics, and quantitative reasoning.
- The test is approximately 5 hours in length.
- The test costs $490 USD to take. In addition, you will need to pay $40 USD for each school you’d like your test results to be sent to.
5. Meet the citizenship requirements before beginning the OD program.
You must either be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada to apply to the University of Waterloo’s OD program. This status must be current for at least 12 months before the start of your OD program. For example, if you want to begin your OD program in September, you must have been a citizen or legal resident of the United States since August of the previous year.
- Only a limited number of international students are submitted to the OD program at the University. Review the International Student your school’s website to determine eligibility.
6. Apply for admission to the OD program at the University.
To ensure that you have (or will have) all of the entrance prerequisites in place, begin the application process for the OD program at least 14 months before the date you plan to start the program. For example, applications for September 2021 start dates must be submitted between July and October 2020. On your school’s admissions page, you can see all of the essential deadlines. Then, you can submit your application online.
- You will likely be starting your third year of a BSc when you submit your application.
- You will need to submit official transcripts of your first two years of the BSc with your application.
- You will be required to submit official transcripts for both the first and second terms of your third year once those terms are complete.
7. Take the CASPer test after you’ve submitted your application.
The Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics test is known as the CASPer test. Register for the exam on one of the dates designated for your specific entrance date at CASPer test. For September 2020 admission, there are just five test dates available between August and October 2020. Make sure you have all of the necessary technical criteria to take the test.
- To take the CASPer test, you need a computer with audio, a webcam, and a reliable internet connection.
- You will need to retake the CASPer test each year you apply for the OD program at the University. Test scores cannot be reused.
8. Obtain 2 confidential references who can vouch for you.
One recommendation must come from a current optometrist with whom you have spent at least 8 hours shadowing. Someone who can vouch for your characters, such as an employer, supervisor, professor, coach, or clergyman, must provide the other reference. After you’ve submitted your application for the OD program, you’ll receive the forms needed from these two references.
- None of your references can be family members.
- These references do not need to write a letter; they only need to complete a confidential assessment form.
9. Self-declare any prior criminal convictions on the application.
Be prepared for the fact that all students are enrolled in the University’s OD program. Before beginning the program, individuals must submit a Vulnerable Sector Criminal Record Check. Suppose you have been convicted of a criminal offence. In that case, you must meet with the Criminal Record Check Consideration Committee (CRCCC) of the School of Optometry and Vision Science to discuss your conviction. The CRCCC will make the final decision on your admission.
- This criminal record check is required because you’ll be working with children and vulnerable adults as part of your training.
- You will also be required to submit an annual self-declaration form while you’re in the OD program.
10. Attend the Meet & Greet at the University if invited.
Following the submission of your application, you will get an email from the institution before the end of November. The email will either invite you to a Meet & Greet event in January or inform you that your application is no longer being reviewed. Visit the following webpage to learn more about the travel requirements: Admission to University. Attend the January Meet & Greet.
- If you’re invited to attend the Meet & Greet, you will also be required to submit an updated official transcript in January.
- The Meet & Greet consists of a personal conversation with faculty and optometrists, a roundtable discussion with current students, and a tour of the facilities.
- This will be the earliest time you’ll know if you have not been admitted to the OD program.
The University only admits 90 students per year.