About Opticians

CAO WEBSITE - licensing

Opticianry Profession

Opticians are one of the three health professions that are concerned with eyes and eye health. The other two “O’s” responsible for eyes are Optometrists and Ophthalmologists. Just like a nurse, a doctor, and a surgeon, we have different specializations and different levels of study.

Opticians are health professionals who supply, prepare, and dispense optical appliances to ensure patients have the corrective lenses necessary to support their vision needs. 

Opticians interpret prescriptions written by Optometrists and Ophthalmologists, and consider factors that affect the design and fabrication of the finished appliance.

Registration of Opticians

Opticians in Alberta must demonstrate their competency with the NACOR exam, usually after earning an opticianry diploma. Opticians are registered by the COA in three categories:

  • Provisional Optician: A graduate of a recognized opticianry program who may work under supervision while preparing to complete the NACOR exam.
  • Registered Optician (RO): An optician who has completed their education and NACOR exam in eyeglass dispensing and is now fully licensed.
  • Registered Contact Lens Practitioner (RCLP): A Registered Optician who has completed additional education and the NACOR exam in contact lens dispensing.  

Registered opticians with additional training in refraction, or sight testing, may also apply to the COA for registration in this area of advanced practice. Refracting opticians are not assigned an additional designation or abbreviation.

Directory of Opticians

Once registered, the COA monitors the ongoing competency of opticians and ensures professional conduct through a robust complaints and discipline process. To verify the registration status of an optician, visit the COA’s Directory of Opticians.