Spotlight on... Australia

Spotlight on... Australia

How do optical dispensers receive their training in your country?

Optical dispensers train providers registered as RTOs (registered training organisations), two of the largest providers of the Cert IV are ACOD (the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing) and RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology).

At present, the highest level of qualification for individuals working within optics in Australia area is the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing.

Optical chain OPSM has traditionally had the the largest number of stores with 461 branches under 3 different brands. Another large chain, Specsavers, has 850 qualified optical dispensers and 324 branches.

What are the optical organisations in your country? Are there different organisations for different regions?

There is the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association ADOA which is based in New South Wales; they claim to be the nationally representative body, but only represent independent optical dispensers with representatives in NSW, QLD and SA. There is ADOA Victoria mainly within the Melbourne district.

Tell us a bit about being an optical dispenser in your country: where do most optical dispensers work and what sort of work do they do?

There are those who do work within other practices such as those of ophthalmologists, but principally, most optical dispensers are employed within shops in a structure similar to that of the UK but with less responsibility. Important to note is that in Australia, there is no code of practice for optical dispensing (there is in NZ). One of the great benefits of the FBDO programme is that there is a great deal of focus on standards of practice, and the students on the course already have been quick to pick that up and are starting to ask questions like “why do we not do more to protect vulnerable groups?”.

What are the biggest achievements for optical dispensers in your country?

Despite the challenges faced as a profession brought on by the effects of deregulation, there is still a high level of passion and pride, this manifests itself through great organisations like ACOD, AAOO and others working to introduce more training, promoting the importance and the need for it. In addition, events to provide further development often arise such as the Specsavers Dispensing Conferences, OMEGA and others.

If people want to find out more about training as an optical dispenser in your country, what website can they visit?
Educational providers, including:

While the only formal qualification in Australia for optical dispensers is the Certificate IV, idispensers can up skill with ABDO courses from the UK.

If people want to find out about working as an optical dispenser in your country, what website can they visit
There are plenty of other ways to find employment such as Insight magazine, MiVision and Facebook groups such as Eyecare Classifieds Australia

Topic: Country spotlight