In order for me to tell you how my first year of Opticianry school went, I have to tell you how and why I got into it in the first place.
I can’t deny that my first few weeks working at an optical shop weren’t completely life changing. Hundreds of frames to look at and try on, each one different from the rest. I used to think “glasses are glasses and they all pretty much look the same right?”. But I quickly learned that there are endless possibilities with glasses and it opened my eyes to a whole new world. I started to crave trying on new styles and I could not wait to see all the new colors that came out with each collection. Not only did I greatly enjoy finding frames for myself. I loved watching the Opticians at the store finding great frames for their patients. It was so satisfying hearing how excited the customers were to show off their new glasses to everyone.
That brings me to listing off some of the highlights and lowlights of my first year at Opticianry school!
Please note this is strictly my personal opinion based on the school I went to
1. School time-line
My program at Douglas College in Vancouver consists of two years. The first year is focused on glasses and lensometry and the second year consists of contact lenses and eye anatomy.
I quite enjoy the way they split the two years up because it really helps keep the focus on glasses and contacts separately and not mix/confuse the two together.
The downside to that I will have to say is in order for one to write the NACOR glasses exam they must complete both years at the College. This means you will go a full year without touching a lensometer unless you’re lucky enough to get the practice at your job/practicum.
2. The teachers
I believe the teachers do need a bit of a boost in terms of being able to keep the students motivated. I was lucky enough to have already went into the program with plenty of motivation from my work. But I can’t say the same for the other students there. Being in such a small program I would have really hoped for more inspiring teachers, not to say some of them weren’t, but it would have made a world of a difference if they were all on the same page.
3. Level of difficulty
It was not difficult getting into the program. As long as you have a high school degree with decent grades, you’re in! They give plenty of handouts and I mean PLENTY. Just read them and study them and you’re solid.
I’m so thankful one of last years students advised me not to buy the textbooks because when I asked my classmates if they really needed the books they all said they used one page from one of the 3-4 textbooks. Mind you, all together they are worth about $500.00 and they were still wrapped in plastic, untouched. What a waste?
So my suggestion: if you’re going into this program don’t buy the books, just read all the handouts you are given and you will be able to pass with flying colors. Trust me.
I enjoyed my first year because I learned a lot from putting my school work by applying it to my job. If it weren’t for where I work I don’t think I would have been as motivated as I am now. That being said it was good experience and I’m excited to see what year 2 in contact lenses will bring me!