Ophthalmic Dispensing - Level 6 Diploma

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Start Date: 5 September 2023
Attendance: Part Time
Location: Angel (K Block)
Suitable for: Adults
Duration: 3 Years
Level: Level 6
Meets on: Tuesday, 09:00 - 19:00 & Wednesday, 09:00 - 19:00


This course offers the exciting opportunity to gain a Level 6 diploma alongside your job, attending just one day per week. The day release model provides you with all the knowledge and skills required to become a General Optical Council (GOC) registered Dispensing Optician. As a Dispensing Optician, you will form an integral part of the optical team working with other optical professionals to provide excellent primary eye care. Your responsibilities include interpreting ophthalmic prescriptions, taking facial measurements, advising patients on frame and lens choices, spectacle repair and patient after care. You will often be the point of contact for patients and will need to be able to advise them on how to best use their spectacles. The course follows the syllabus of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) and the General Optical Councils (GOC) competencies. You will be assessed in college, in your workplace during the course and complete two professional exams with ABDO.

Following successful completion of the association's exams a student can register with the General Optical Council as a Dispensing Optician at Level 6.

For information on our Higher Education policies including admissions, fees and student contracts, please see the links below:

For our full list of policies, governance and fees please see our website Capital City College Group (capitalccg.ac.uk).


You will develop the theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and professional standards necessary to become a Dispensing Optician in your practice. Your knowledge of the prescription of ophthalmic lenses and the dispensing of ophthalmic frames will be advanced during the course.

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Theory of General Optics
  • Theory of Ophthalmic Lenses
  • Patient Centred Care
  • Theory and Practice of Ophthalmic Lenses & Dispensing – Elementary & Advanced
  • Paediatric Dispensing
  • Professional Conduct and Communications
  • The Assessment and Management of Refractive Errors
  • The assessment and Management of Visual Impairment
  • Ocular Anatomy & Pathology
  • The Principles of Contact Lens Wear
  • Practitioner Development

You will need to attend college 1 day per week for in person theory and practical lessons.  Alongside this we recommend that you complete at least 10 hours per week of self-study


You will need:

  • To be employed in an optical practice, and have a work-based supervisor*
  • Five GCSEs at grade 4 or above (or A*-C), including Maths, English Language and Science

Applicants without the necessary qualification but who have a significant amount of experience (10 years) will be interviewed to determine suitability for the course.

* A work-based supervisor must be a GOC registered Dispensing Optician, Contact Lens Optician or Optometrist, qualified for a minimum of 2 years. A supervisor can only supervise a maximum of three students at one time


The theoretical components of the course will be assessed by City & Islington College during two examination periods throughout the year, December and May.  The practical skills developed will be formatively assessed at assessment points throughout the academic year.

Professional practical summative assessments are conducted by ABDO in Birmingham (further information will be available at interview).


Tuition Fees

£4,000 per year

Please note that this course is not eligible for funding by a Student Finance England Loan or an Advanced Learner Loan.

Additional Costs

In addition to the annual tuition fees, there will be additional costs associated with your programme including:

  • Two professional examinations with ABDO
  • General stationary
  • Ophthalmic Rulers
  • Reading material

Further information on these costs will be given at Enrolment/Induction


Successful completion of all theory and practical elements of the course will enable you to apply for GOC registration as a qualified Dispensing Optician, and work within community practices.

Additional courses are available to specialise in Low Vision, Therapeutic Dispensing and Glazing.

You could also progress onto further Higher Education programmes.

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