Information you need to know to work as an Optician

Who is the licensing body responsible for Opticians in Alberta?

In Alberta, you must be registered with the Alberta College and Association of Opticians (ACAO) to practice as an Optician. Only registered members may call themselves Registered Opticians, Registered Contact Lens Practitioners, or Provisional Opticians.

What are the registration requirements for internationally educated Opticians?

Internationally educated Opticians must:

  1. Apply to the ACAO with the appropriate documentation. You will be required to demonstrate that your training and experience are substantially equivalent to training from an accredited Canadian Optician program. Documents that must accompany your application include:
    1. Resume of work experience
    2. Transcripts of formal education
    3. Letters of personal reference
    4. Letters of professional competence
    5. Letters of good standing
    6. Assessment of your credentials by International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) or International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
    NOTE: There are no formal English requirements for Opticians; however, Opticians must have a high level of English in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening in order to be successful in the registration process and in the profession.
  2. Complete the on-line Competency Gap Analysis, which includes a competency exam and an interview in the ACAO office (view ACAO's International Candidates page).
  3. Upon completion of the Registration Committee’s assessment, complete any requirements assigned by the committee. This could include completing a bridging program at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).
  4. Register with the ACOA  as a Provisional Optician with the appropriate documents and fees. You may practice under supervision until you pass the NACOR national licensing exam. For complete registration requirements, visit the International Candidates page on the College of Opticians of Alberta website.
  5. Pass the National Optical Sciences Examinations administered by the National Association of Canadian Optician Regulators (NACOR).

For complete and the most current information on the licensing process for Internationally Educated Opticians, visit the Non-Accredited Education page on the Alberta College and Association of Opticians (ACAO) website.

What are the educational requirements for Opticians in Alberta?

Note: Licensing bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards.

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

In Alberta, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton offers a two-year independent study Optical Sciences - Eyeglasses diploma program.

What are the accepted English language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?

There are no formal English requirements for Opticians; however, Opticians must have a high level of English in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening in order to be successful in the profession. ACAO will assess an applicant’s ability to communicate in English as part of the interview and competency exam. To learn more about where to take an English language proficiency test in Alberta, visit English Language Proficiency Tests and Locations.

What supports are available to support internationally educated Opticians to integrate into the Canadian labour force?

Directions for Immigrants offers workplace communication groups to help you integrate into the Canadian work environment. The Clear Communication for Health Professionals (CCHP) workplace communication group is designed to help internationally educated health care professionals fine-tune their communication skills with patients, supervisors, and colleagues. In one week, you will learn through role-play and scenarios the nuances and expectations of Canadian patients, inter-disciplinary teams, and other health care industry participants. Topics include overcoming communication barriers, professional workplace interaction/behaviour, Canadian workplace culture, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Visit Clear Communication for Health Professionals for more information.

What information resources are available for Opticians in Alberta?

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