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Thread: Optician to Optometrist

  1. #1
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    Optician to Optometrist

    Hello Everyone,

    I am currently a Licensed Optician in the province of Ontario. I am thinking of going back to school to become and Optometrist but was just wondering if anyone knows of a good way to do this. I do not currently have an undergrad(Only schooling is the 2 year Opticanry program after highschool) and I would like to avoid going to get an undergrad before applying to schools. I have heard that in the UK you do not require an undergrad to go to optometry school but can run into some issues when coming back to Canada. Are there any schools in the US that would take the Opticanry program as a undergrad? Any information would be appreciated.

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    There are schools that would take the degree/coursework, but it would not count for as much as you might think. All schools do not require a BS degree, but they will require at least 90 semester hours of credit, which must include the basic science courses. You can find the admissions requirements on the ASCO website (https://optometriceducation.org/ ) You will find thnat unlike Opticianry, Optometry finds formal education very important.

    The are some general guidelines and also a list of each of the schools. Good luck in your decision.

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    Thank you so much. I will look into that

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    in US and Canada you require an undergrad degree with specific prerequisite courses ( eg physics, math, chemistry, etc). It is then 4 years in professional training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jc17777 View Post
    I do not currently have an undergrad(Only schooling is the 2 year Opticanry program after highschool) and I would like to avoid going to get an undergrad before applying to schools.
    You must realize that you do not have an undergraduate degree, but only a post-secondary College diploma which no recognized optometry school will accept as equivalent.

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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    As an optician you have shown that you have a pulse and can sign your own name. As an Optometrist you will also have to prove that you have a brain.

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    Many Optometry schools have accepted the AAS Degrees in Opticianry, but there are also requirements beyond just that, and it will take a good 60 semester hours of academic work beyond that to qualify. The programs here in the US do offer Associate in Applied Science (and a few others....AOS, for example) degrees, and are not just diplomas.

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    This is an example of Canadian ‘Credential Creep’ at its best.
    In 1967 my Toronto high school buddy decided to go to school to become an Optometrist. It was then a 3-year program at Toronto’s College of Optometry. I understand that the University of Waterloo eventually took over and made their Optometry degree a 5-year program, where the 1st year was a standard Bachelor of Science general year, followed by 4-years of Optometry studies.
    Then the University of Waterloo made a ‘2-years of science’ requirement, followed by their 5-year Optometry program. And I understand that they now require a fully-completed 3-year Bachelor of Science degree to enter their Optometry program.
    I understand that they also have a rigorous Optometry aptitude test requirement (much like the LSAT) that the Waterloo selection committee uses to weed out their many Optometry applicants.
    Your 2-year diploma opticanry program will have to be upgraded with a lot of University level science credits to be considered for admission.
    Good luck to you!!
    Last edited by tmorse; 08-19-2019 at 05:26 PM.

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    Wait long enough and opticians and optometrists may amalgamate. When you strip away all the politics and bureaucracy, other than pathology, the roles are very much the same.

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    Many schools require an undergraduate degree, but there remain some who require 90 Semester hours of credit only according to ASCO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmorse View Post
    You must realize that you do not have an undergraduate degree, but only a post-secondary College diploma which no recognized optometry school will accept as equivalent.
    If you read my post correctly I did say in it that I " DO NOT" currently have an undergrad. So yes I do realize that I do not have an undergraduate degree. I was listing my current post-secondary education because as I stated in my previous post the UK does not require an undergraduate degree and I was just looking for information regarding other options.

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    Then I would suggest you go the USA route as wmcdonald stated. Then Canada's Optometry may recognize the credential.

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    I graduated from U Waterloo in the late 70's and so I will correct your version of history. I was accepted after 1 year of undergrad sciences and then spent 4 years in optometry. It was never a 3 year professional program. Optometry moved to Waterloo in 1967 and it was a 4 year professional program at that time. In the 70's it was common to be accepted into medical or dentistry school with after 2 years in undergrad since the only prerequisite was organic chemistry, a 2nd year course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optical maven View Post
    I graduated from U Waterloo in the late 70's and so I will correct your version of history. I was accepted after 1 year of undergrad sciences and then spent 4 years in optometry. It was never a 3 year professional program. Optometry moved to Waterloo in 1967 and it was a 4 year professional program at that time. In the 70's it was common to be accepted into medical or dentistry school with after 2 years in undergrad since the only prerequisite was organic chemistry, a 2nd year course.
    My post had a date typo... it should have read 1967 and not 1997 (since corrected). I completed Toronto high school in 1966-67 and my buddy planned on going to a 3-year Optometry College of Toronto. But U of Waterloo took over Optometry in 1968. Are there not any old alumni of this 3-year program??

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    As an optician you have shown that you have a pulse and can sign your own name. As an Optometrist you will also have to prove that you have a brain.
    This is incredibly rude. As someone who got a BSc FIRST and then took the two year opticianry program at NAIT in Alberta, I would argue that you do indeed need to have a brain in order to become a licensed optician and I take offense at the claim that you do not.

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    Erik Zuniga, ABOC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trina View Post
    This is incredibly rude. As someone who got a BSc FIRST and then took the two year opticianry program at NAIT in Alberta, I would argue that you do indeed need to have a brain in order to become a licensed optician and I take offense at the claim that you do not.
    Unfounded ole cranky geezer posts. Don't give him the pleasure of a debate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trina View Post
    This is incredibly rude. As someone who got a BSc FIRST and then took the two year opticianry program at NAIT in Alberta, I would argue that you do indeed need to have a brain in order to become a licensed optician and I take offense at the claim that you do not.
    Rude, it may be, but fairly accurate.
    Indulge me for a minute. I operate a lab that has lower than average spoilage and lower than average f-ups, meaning actual lab redos. My staff are all ABOC, though at varying degrees of competence. Some are button pushers, others, like myself, have a fairly thorough knowledge of optics, and its relationship to RX vs frame fit and bio-metrics.
    For transparency, I am not state licensed. i operated a lab in Virginia, but as a Maryland resident, I was not able to obtain a VA license, much to my chagrin.
    I operate a small to moderate Maryland based lab (1600+ orders/week, all finished), and support both VA and MD. As you may be aware, VA is a licensed state. My biggest challenge is with our VA locations. Not b/c of lab quality, nor lab knowledge, but with lack of understanding on the part of our VA LDOs. This would be understandable with non-LDOs, but I cannot comprehend this from LDOs.
    Examples; PX wears frame low on the nose, but no VD adjustments, instead, PRPs are raised to a point where the eyewear is basically unusable (think +10 from datum) 4+D of Aniso with no slabs. Rejecting compensated RXs b/c it doesn't match prescribed......compensation data is provided with every order. This is just from our VA locations, and they are all VA licensed!
    So, yeah, as Dick stated, a pulse is all that is needed, along with a piece of paper that says LDO..........I understand Canadian requirements are more stringent. NY, FL, CT, even NJ have stringent requirements, but as a rule, many of our states that do require licensure have become bureaucratic and lax. What is needed here in the US is a national licensure program, or do away with it altogether. This lack of national standards is a joke. The ABO pass rate @ 70% is a joke. A pulse and a few lucky guesses are all that is needed to pass. I received a 98% without studying, with the caveat that I had 15+ years of lab and dispensing knowledge prior to the introduction of computer software.

    Please do not take this as a personal attack. I am sure that you are an incredible optician, as most of us here on OB are. What I am asking of you is to open your eyes and understand the freefall that our industry is under. Instead of attacking Dick, or myself, for saying what is true, think about what you can do to elevate everyone around you.
    I bend light. That is what I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    Rude, it may be, but fairly accurate.
    Indulge me for a minute. I operate a lab that has lower than average spoilage and lower than average f-ups, meaning actual lab redos. My staff are all ABOC, though at varying degrees of competence. Some are button pushers, others, like myself, have a fairly thorough knowledge of optics, and its relationship to RX vs frame fit and bio-metrics.
    For transparency, I am not state licensed. i operated a lab in Virginia, but as a Maryland resident, I was not able to obtain a VA license, much to my chagrin.
    I operate a small to moderate Maryland based lab (1600+ orders/week, all finished), and support both VA and MD. As you may be aware, VA is a licensed state. My biggest challenge is with our VA locations. Not b/c of lab quality, nor lab knowledge, but with lack of understanding on the part of our VA LDOs. This would be understandable with non-LDOs, but I cannot comprehend this from LDOs.
    Examples; PX wears frame low on the nose, but no VD adjustments, instead, PRPs are raised to a point where the eyewear is basically unusable (think +10 from datum) 4+D of Aniso with no slabs. Rejecting compensated RXs b/c it doesn't match prescribed......compensation data is provided with every order. This is just from our VA locations, and they are all VA licensed!
    So, yeah, as Dick stated, a pulse is all that is needed, along with a piece of paper that says LDO..........I understand Canadian requirements are more stringent. NY, FL, CT, even NJ have stringent requirements, but as a rule, many of our states that do require licensure have become bureaucratic and lax. What is needed here in the US is a national licensure program, or do away with it altogether. This lack of national standards is a joke. The ABO pass rate @ 70% is a joke. A pulse and a few lucky guesses are all that is needed to pass. I received a 98% without studying, with the caveat that I had 15+ years of lab and dispensing knowledge prior to the introduction of computer software.

    Please do not take this as a personal attack. I am sure that you are an incredible optician, as most of us here on OB are. What I am asking of you is to open your eyes and understand the freefall that our industry is under. Instead of attacking Dick, or myself, for saying what is true, think about what you can do to elevate everyone around you.
    Lets not confuse stupidity with industry politics. It still takes a brain to work in our industry.

  20. #20
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    Hi, having been through the process I will actually offer you a relevant insight into your situation.

    If you attended any accredited college and obtained your Opticians license through completing a diploma you may be eligible for a college to university bridging program. That will save you at least two years given you have no degree or prior university experience. Having completed the opticianry program makes you eligible for a 2 year university program and in the end you can come out with a B.Sc degree which is what is required to apply to pretty much any optometry school in the Canada/US.

    I know for a fact in Ontario, Seneca College offers this to their graduates in conjunction with York University and Georgian has a similar agreement I believe as well but cannot recall with which university. This is your best course of action as it will save you a significant amount of time and money.

    Hope that helps.

    Edit:

    When I say I have been through the process I meant in regards to having been through the opticianry diploma program. I had prior university experience but did not go through the bridging program.

    I can also speak in regards to going to the UK. No degree is required but passing the equivalency exams and coming back is much harder now. My sister has been through this and is now a practicing OD in Ontario. She passed the exams and was admitted to the last 6 mth program that was offered by the University of Waterloo back in 2017. The program is 1 year now and its very hard to get in. At the time they only accepted 65 candidates per year however that number may have gone up now.

    A friend of her's who was a year or two behind in the program has been stuck practicing in England for the past 3 years or so because she has still been unable to get into the bridging program.

    Coming back from the US is much easier however you need that degree and are looking at approx 50k+ USD just in tuition fees per year anywhere you go.

    So if you plan on being another one of those 'independent' OD's that just bounces around office to office doing half assed 15 minute eye exams its really not worth it these days as there is already such a saturation of OD's.
    Last edited by Jay2390; 09-21-2019 at 11:07 AM.

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