Dispensing Optician Ngaio Mōhiti

Dispensing opticians interpret prescriptions from optometrists and ophthalmologists (eye specialists) for glasses or contact lenses, assemble and fit glasses, and sell customers frames and lenses.

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Dispensing opticians need to be registered with the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board and hold a current practising certificate.

Dispensing opticians may do some or all of the following:

  • recommend and sell suitable frames, lenses, sunglasses and eye care products
  • fit, adjust and repair glasses
  • order prescription lenses for customers
  • shape and fit lenses to frames.

Physical Requirements

Dispensing opticians need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).

Useful Experience

Useful experience for dispensing opticians includes:

  • work as an optometrist's or pharmacist's assistant
  • experience in an optical laboratory
  • customer service work.

Personal Qualities

Dispensing opticians need to be:

  • friendly and helpful
  • polite and observant
  • positive and supportive
  • practical and organised
  • good at sales and customer service.


Dispensing opticians need to have knowledge of:

  • frames and lenses and how they can be combined to suit customer's needs
  • fashion trends in frames and what frames suit each face shape
  • optical products such as solutions for contact lenses, glasses, lenses, frames and sunglasses
  • the eye and how it works.

Those running their own business need business management skills.


Dispensing opticians:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may also work part time
  • work in glasses retailers, workshops and showrooms.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a dispensing optician. However, biology, English, health education, physics and maths are useful.

Dispensing Opticians can earn around $47K-$60K per year.

Pay for dispensing opticians varies depending on experience and responsibilities.

  • Dispensing opticians in training usually start on the minimum wage. 
  • Dispensing opticians with one to four years' experience usually earn between $47,000 and $60,000.
  • Senior dispensing opticians usually earn between $60,000 and $85,000.
  • Dispensing opticians who own and run their own practice can earn up to $85,000 or more.

Source: Association of Dispensing Opticians New Zealand, 'ADONZ Wage Survey 2020', 2021.

Dispensing opticians may progress into management positions, or set up their own practices. With further training, dispensing opticians may progress to become optometrists.

Years Of Training

1-2 years of training usually required.

To become a dispensing optician you need to:

  • get a job working as a trainee dispensing optician
  • complete the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing New Zealand through the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing
  • register with the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board and gain an annual practising certificate.
Dispensing Optician