Dispensing optician


Career outlook for dispensing optician

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help customers choose glasses and contact lenses that suit and fit them and meet their needs. You’d order the spectacles and contact lenses and make sure they fit.

You would create orders for glasses and lenses using the prescriptions from an optometrist, who examines and tests eyes or an ophthalmologist, an eye surgeon.

You’d work with each individual customer to select the right spectacles or contact lenses for them.

You would:

  • Use equipment to measure customers for spectacles or contact lenses
  • Use the measurements to calculate distances and angles and assess the options for types of lenses
  • Give people advice and information about the options for lens options, such as single vision or bifocal
  • Advise people on the style, weight and colour of frames
  • Fit, adjust and repair frames

You’d be working in retail, so you’d be marketing and selling glasses and contact lenses.

With further training, you could also show customers how to use and care for contact lenses.

You might work in partnership with an optometrist, where you would be involved in managing the business.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Dispensing optician page on the NHSScotland Careers website.

Working conditions


You would usually work five days a week, including Saturdays. Part-time hours are also often available.


You would be based in a shop or retail setting.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Positive attitude
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Respecting
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You need a degree in ophthalmic dispensing (SCQF level 10).

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers at BBC or above, or a relevant HNC/HND.

It may be possible to start as a trainee with a qualified dispensing optician and complete a three-year distance learning course with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) College.

Useful subjects

Many courses require:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics 

You will also need

The degree is followed by one year of supervised professional practice before applying for General Optical Council (GOC) professional registration.

You will need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.