In the previous post, we covered what opticianry is and what opticians do. Today, we are going to learn about education and training options available for those of you interested in entering the field. I decided to write this post in two parts to keep things easy to navigate through. Now, let’s get started with the part I of Opticianry Schools!

Opticianry Schools in Ontario

Like most college programs, opticianry is a combination of theoretical and practical work and is usually offered as a two-year full-time program. In Ontario, there are two schools offering Ontario College Diploma in opticianry; Seneca College, located in Toronto, and Georgian College, located in Barrie. Both schools have facilities to teach practical courses, which gives students the opportunity to learn the procedures and work with the common tools & instruments. Although what both schools have to offer are fundamentally similar, you might prefer the curriculum design of one over the other. Ultimately, your decision comes down to your life situations. I prepared a comparison chart for you, with external links, to give you a glimpse of what you could expect from each school. Let’s take a look;

Seneca Vs. Georgian

 Seneca CollegeGeorgian College
Program NameOpticianryOpticianry
Program CodeOPTCOPTI
Duration4 Semester (2 years)4 Semester (2 years)
Co-op OptionAvailable & MandatoryAvailable & Mandatory
Credentials AwardedOntario College DiplomaOntario College Diploma
SchoolSchool of Health SciencesSchool of Health, Wellness and Sciences
DeliveryFull-time & Part-timeFull-time
Start DateSeptemberSeptember & January
Admissions RequirementsOntario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalentEnglish: Grade 12 C or U, or equivalent courseMathematics: Grade 12 C or U, or equivalent courseScience: Grade 12 C or U chemistry or physics, or Grade 11 C or U biology, or an equivalent courseMature ApplicantsOthersOntario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalentEnglish: Grade 12 C or UMathematics: Grade 12 C or UGrade 11 or 12 Biology (C or U) OR Grade 11 (U) or Grade 12 (C or U) ChemistryOR Grade 11 or 12 (U), or Grade 12 (C) PhysicsMature Applicants & Others
Courses  Downloadable PDFDownloadable PDF
Books & Supplies$1,485$1,023.07
Seneca VS. Georgian

Subjects Covered

I mentioned in this post, that opticianry is a mix of hard and soft sciences. So if you are thinking about studying opticianry, it would be really helpful to have some background knowledge in; biology, mathematics, physics (specifically optics), business and communications, and chemistry. However, don’t worry if that’s not the case for you! There are many resources available at both schools to help you succeed in your studies. In general, these are the subjects you can expect to study throughout your program (with each school having its variations of the titles);

Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye:

You will study the structures of the human eye and how they work in relation to each other and the nervous system to produce vision. Check out lesson 4 for a head start.

Geometric Optics:

In this course, you will learn the fundamental principals of optics, which is the study of what light is, how it helps us see and how it behaves. Check out lesson 1, to start learning.

Ophthalmic Optics:

This course builds on your Geometric Optics foundation, and focuses mainly on corrective eyeglass lenses and their properties. See lesson 2 & lesson 3 to learn the basic principals.

Eyeglass Dispensing Theory:

This course teaches you about the most common refractive errors, how to identify them by looking at a prescription for eyeglasses, how to correct them, how to take necessary measurements, what type of lens to use, and what type of frame to choose to meet your patient’s specific needs.

Eyeglass Dispensing Labs:

This course puts your theoretical knowledge to practice. You get to work in pairs or groups to practice dispensing procedures with or on your classmates. Get ready to get intimate! You will also, work individually and will learn how to fix or adjust a pair of glasses, and how to neutralize one.

Eyeglass Fabrication Labs:

In this lab you will learn how to shape a pair of lenses to fit into an eyeglass frame. You are going to apply your knowledge in dispensing to troubleshoot your work, and you will learn some new techniques.

Contact Lens Dispensing Theory:

This course will give you the fundamental knowledge on contact lenses including, but not limited to; types, applications, and dispensing procedures.

Contact Lens Dispensing Labs:

If you thought eyeglass dispensing lab was intimate, wait until you attend a contact lens dispensing lab! Here you will usually work in pairs, and get to practice contact lens dispensing procedures on your poor classmates. You will also work with a variety of instruments involved in contact lens fitting, and you will learn fitting procedures, assessment, and troubleshooting techniques.

Business courses:

You will study some introductory business courses to learn about economics, procedures involved in establishing your own business, and more.

Communications courses:

You will study introductory communications courses, which covers the following topics; communication in different settings, across cultures, within groups and organization, and more.

Pathology of the Eye:

Pathology is the study of disease, conditions, and abnormalities of a system, in this case, the human eye. You will learn to identify signs of various eye diseases and conditions.

Professional Education:

This subject covers the ethics and scope of practice regulated by the College of Opticians of Ontario. You will learn standards of practice in Ontario. Depending on the program’s demands, you might learn other useful information that will help you in practice such as product knowledge, customer service, and marketing basics.


In this course, you will learn the necessary procedures for determining a patient’s prescription. As of now, opticians in Ontario are not allowed to refract. However, knowledge of refraction will help you to communicate with other professionals (i.e optometrists) effectively and dispense eyewear with more confidence, plus you’d be able to provide better customer care.


Today, we learned about opticianry schools in Ontario. We briefly compared the two schools offering opticianry diploma and went over the subjects taught in those schools. In part II  I will introduce an alternative option to study opticianry. Meanwhile, go ahead and check out our courses and articles to start learning some basics, and join our newsletter to receive updates. Don’t forget to download the course lists available for you in the chart, it will give you a clearer picture of how the two curricula compare. And finally, feel free to ask your questions in the comments section below, and I’ll try my best to answer them. Cheers!

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