Program: OPTI
Credential: Ontario College Diploma, Co-op
Delivery: Full-time
Work Integrated Learning: 2 Co-op Work Terms
Length: 4 Semesters, plus 2 work terms
Duration: 2 Years
Effective: Fall 2023, Winter 2024
Location: Barrie


In this program, students experience a unique blend of health care and business management. Through theory and practical experience in labs/clinics, students learn to competently dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses and sub-normal vision devices, and learn about basic refraction. Students gain a strong foundation of ocular sciences in optics and anatomy, and are provided the expertise necessary to layout and edge lenses for frame insertion, as well as repair, customize and modify eyewear to the patient/clients’ needs. Emphasis is also placed on professional services. Through critical thinking, problem solving, and entrepreneurial skills, students learn how to establish and operate a small business, how to use effective sales techniques, and enhance communication and interpersonal skills in order to be successful in the optical retail environment.

Upon successful completion of the academic and co-operative education semesters, students are eligible to write the national registration examinations which allow them, if successful, to practice in Canada as a Registered Optician.

Career Opportunities

Opticians are long-standing members of the health care delivery team in a field for which there is a growing universal need. Registered Opticians may dispense eyewear independently or as part of the eye care team. Consequently, graduates may aspire to operate their own businesses. As recognized professionals under the Regulated Health Professions Act, fulltime career possibilities, including managerial roles, exist in large retail optical chains, independent dispensaries and medical clinics in Ontario and across Canada. 

Program Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. provide effective optical care that meets the ethical and legal requirements of the National professional competencies for registration as a licensed Optician;
  2. competently perform all aspects of dispensing eyewear including eyeglasses, contact lenses, low vision devices that meets the ethical and legal requirements of the National professional competencies for registration as a licensed Optician;
  3. achieve satisfactory performance related to refraction, including knowledge of ophthalmic pharmacology, knowledge of accommodation, understanding correction of visual error and principles of refraction;
  4. assess ocular pathology accurately to ensure the appropriate referral of patients, as necessary;
  5. perform a complete refraction routine accurately, efficiently, and safely, through the proficient use of diagnostic equipment;
  6. educate and advocate effectively by promoting the benefits of ocular health and eye safety for a patient/client;
  7. communicate and collaborate effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary eyecare team using professional judgment and critical thinking;
  8. embrace the principle of life-long learning, continuing education, research and professional development and apply the new knowledge to daily practice;
  9. successfully function in a diverse optical environment which could include the traditional retail model, medical clinical settings, sales, self- employment and business management;
  10. employ environmentally sustainable practices to minimize the risk of contamination and subsequent transmission of infectious agents within a professional practice;
  11. apply basic professional practice procedures suitable for an owner operated small business or within a corporate environment in accordance with the National professional competencies.

Practical Experience

All co-operative education programs at Georgian contain mandatory work term experiences aligned with program learning outcomes.  Co-op work terms are designed to integrate academic learning with work experience, supporting the development of industry specific competencies and employability skills.

Georgian College holds membership with, and endeavours to follow, the co-operative education guidelines set out by the Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) and Experiential and Work-Integrated Ontario (EWO) as supported by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

Co-op is facilitated as a supported, competitive job search process. Students are required to complete a Co-op and Career Preparation course scheduled prior to their first co-op work term. Students engage in an active co-op job search that includes applying to positions posted by Co-op Consultants, and personal networking.  Co-op work terms are scheduled according to a formal sequence that alternates academic and co-op semesters as shown in the program progression below.

Programs may have additional requirements such as a valid driver’s license, strong communication skills, industry specific certifications, and ability to travel. Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be unable to complete the program progression as shown below. Please refer to Georgian College Academic Regulations for details.   

International co-op work terms are supported and encouraged, when aligned with program requirements.

Further information on co-op services can be found at www.GeorgianCollege.ca/co-op

Program Progression

The following reflects the planned progression for full-time offerings of the program.

Fall Intake

  • Sem 1: Fall 2023
  • Sem 2: Winter 2024
  • Work Term 1: Summer 2024
  • Sem 3: Fall 2024
  • Sem 4: Winter 2025
  • Work Term 2: Summer 2025

Winter Intake

  • Sem 1: Winter 2024
  • Sem 2: Summer 2024
  • Sem 3: Fall 2024
  • Sem 4: Winter 2025
  • Work Term 1: Summer 2025
  • Work Term 2: Fall 2025


A number of articulation agreements have been negotiated with universities and other institutions across Canada, North America and internationally. These agreements are assessed, revised and updated on a regular basis. Please contact the program co-ordinator for specific details if you are interested in pursuing such an option. Additional information can be found on our website at https://www.georgiancollege.ca/admissions/credit-transfer/

Admission Requirements

OSSD or equivalent with

  • Grade 12 English (C or U)
  • Grade 12 Mathematics (C or U)
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology (C or U)  
    • OR Grade 11 (U) or Grade 12 (C or U) Chemistry 
    • OR Grade 11 or 12 (U), or Grade 12 (C) Physics

Applicants must meet minimum averages to receive final acceptance.​​

First-year enrolment is limited, satisfying minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to: www.georgiancollege.ca/admissions/academic-regulations/

Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit for Prior Learning website for details:

Selection Process

Selection is based on admission requirements and academic grades.

Additional Information

In order for a student to register for the national examinations the students must have:

  • Successfully completed all academic semesters
  • successfully completed two co-operative work terms
  • successfully completed the practice requirements including:
    • 1000 hours of supervised dispensing experience
    • 250 spectacle fittings broken down into the specific areas
      • 15 soft contact lens fittings
      • 5 rigid lens fittings

Criminal Reference Check - College of Opticians

When registering as a student or intern with the College of Opticians of Ontario, applicants are required by legislation to inform the College of Opticians of Ontario if they have been found guilty of any criminal offence(s) or have been the subject of disciplinary or incapacity proceedings from other governing bodies. This self-reporting requirement protects the public interest by informing the College of findings that may affect an optician’s suitability to practice.

The reporting of offences, findings of guilt and proceedings that occur before and after your initial registration with the College is a non exemptible requirement. All questions in the application section must be answered and full details provided at the time of registration and throughout your membership with the College if applicable. Failure to provide this information could be considered professional misconduct. Only answer ‘Yes’ if any of the following statements apply to your situation:

  • You have been found guilty of a criminal offence related to opticianry.
  • You have been found guilty of a criminal offence, even if you have been pardoned, or were conditionally or absolutely discharged.
  • You have been found guilty of any offences under federal statutes and/or any provincial offences.
  • There has been a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity against you in relation to the opticianry profession outside of Ontario or by any other health profession, whether in Ontario or in any other jurisdiction.

Graduation Requirements

38 Program Courses
2 Communications Courses
3 General Education Courses
2 Co-op Work Terms

Graduation Eligibility

To graduate from this program, the passing weighted average for promotion through each semester, from year to year, and to graduate is 60%. Additionally, a student must attain a minimum of 50% or a letter grade of P (Pass) or S (Satisfactory) in each course in each semester unless otherwise stated on the course outline.

Program Tracking

The following reflects the planned course sequence for full-time offerings of the Fall intake of the program. Where more  than one intake is offered  contact the program co-ordinator for the program tracking.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester 1Hours
Program Courses
HUMN 1000 Critical Thinking 42
OPTI 1022 Eyeglass Dispensing Lab 1 42
OPTI 1023 Eyeglass Dispensing Theory 1 28
OPTI 1024 Eyeglass Fabrication and Customization 1 28
OPTI 1025 Contact Lens Dispensing Lab 1 42
OPTI 1026 Contact Lens Dispensing Theory 1 28
OPTI 1027 Ocular Science for Contact Lenses 1 28
OPTI 1028 Applied Optics 1 28
Communications Course
Select 1 course from the communications list during registration. 42
General Education Course
Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. 42
Semester 2
Program Courses
BUSI 3007 Business Principles for the Regulated Professional 42
OPTI 1029 Professional Services 1 28
OPTI 1030 Eyeglass Dispensing Lab 2 42
OPTI 1031 Eyeglass Dispensing Theory 2 28
OPTI 1032 Eyeglass Fabrication and Customization 2 28
OPTI 1033 Contact Lens Dispensing Lab 2 42
OPTI 1034 Contact Lens Dispensing Theory 2 28
OPTI 1035 Ocular Science for Contact Lenses 2 28
OPTI 1036 Applied Optics 2 28
Communications Course
Select 1 course from the communications list during registration. 42
General Education Course
Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. 42
Semester 3
Program Courses
OPTI 2030 Professional Services 2 28
OPTI 2031 Eyeglass Dispensing, Fabrication and Customization Lab 3 42
OPTI 2032 Eyeglass Dispensing Theory 3 28
OPTI 2033 Contact Lens Dispensing Lab 3 84
OPTI 2034 Contact Lens Dispensing Theory 3 28
OPTI 2035 Ocular Science for Refraction and Low Vision 1 28
OPTI 2036 Applied Optics for Refraction and Low Vision 1 28
OPTI 2037 Refraction Lab 1 28
OPTI 2038 Refraction Theory 1 28
OPTI 2039 Low Vision Dispensing Theory 1 28
General Education Course
Select 1 course from the general education list during registration. 42
Semester 4
Program Courses
OPTI 2040 Eyeglass, Dispensing, Fabrication and Customization Lab 4 42
OPTI 2041 Eyeglass Dispensing Theory 4 28
OPTI 2042 Contact Lens Dispensing Lab 4 84
OPTI 2043 Contact Lens Dispensing Theory 4 28
OPTI 2044 Ocular Science for Refraction and Low Vision 2 28
OPTI 2045 Applied Optics for Refraction and Low Vision 2 28
OPTI 2046 Refraction Lab 2 28
OPTI 2047 Refraction Theory 2 28
OPTI 2048 Low Vision Dispensing Theory 2 28
 Total Hours1442
Plan of Study Grid
Co-op Work TermsHours
COOP 1047 Opticianry Work Term 1 (Fall Intake occurs after Semester 2, Winter Intake occurs after Semester 4) 500
COOP 2038 Opticianry Work Term 2 (occurs after Semester 4) 500
 Total Hours1000

Graduation Window

Students unable to adhere to the program duration of two years (as stated above) may take a maximum of four years to complete their credential. After this time, students must be re-admitted into the program, and follow the curriculum in place at the time of re-admission.

Disclaimer: The information in this document is correct at the time of publication. Academic content of programs and courses is revised on an ongoing basis to ensure relevance to changing educational objectives and employment market needs. 

Program outlines may be subject to change in response to emerging situations, in order to facilitate student achievement of the learning outcomes required for graduation. Components such as courses, progression, coop work terms, placements, internships and other requirements may be delivered differently than published.

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