As with other health professions, candidates in Opticianry must pass specific certification and educational criteria to demonstrate that they are qualified for the profession and are not a risk to the public.
The education requirements for Opticianry are based on determined learning outcomes as established by the regualtory agencies of each province. Currently all provinces other than Quebec have adopted the national opticians comptencies.
The education and training for opticians is more in-depth and extensive than optometrists in areas where the two professions provide the same services to the public.
All provinces with the exception of Quebec and Ontario have adopted a stepped education system for Opticianry. This system recognizes a basic entry point to the profession and also allows opticians to further their qualifications beyond the basics. Quebec and Ontario have elected to maintain a fixed entry point that incorporates an entry to practice standard that includes all of the stepped programs of other provinces.
Over 70% of opticians have received advanced or specialized training.
Opticians are able to register with the various provincial regulatory agencies and practice as a registered optician at the completion of the competencies for each level.
The stepped education system is sound educational policy. Highlights include appropriate levels of qualifications to serve the public need and the assurance of high standards.
Significant bodies of knowledge show that increasing the years of education does not necessarily lead to better treatment outcomes. More time and more education actually push up the cost of treatment without enhancing the quality of treatment. (Manitoba Law Reform Commission)
In effect, the general public is increasingly unable to afford the cost of treatment as educational requirements and specifications increase in other health professions.
Therefore, NACOR believes that both a fixed and stepped education system best meets the public need by preventing credential creep and the subsequent barriers to the profession.
Opticianry programs consist of a series of courses for each level of Opticianry, and graduating students must achieve the learning outcomes described in the National Opticians Competency policy.
Thus, opticians are highly trained and qualified health professionals who undergo extensive training and education to fulfill education and practice competencies in Opticianry. The Canadian opticians education system benefits the public by upholding high standards of care while maintaining appropriate and affordable treatment