Updated contact lens optician education and training requirements published

Today we have published updated education and training requirements for GOC-approved qualifications for contact lens opticians.  

The requirements came into effect on 1 March 2022 and consist of Outcomes for Approved Qualifications, Standards for Approved Qualifications, and our Quality and Assurance Enhancement Method. They set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours a dispensing optician must demonstrate to be awarded a GOC-approved qualification as a contact lens optician, and the requirements for providers who offer GOC-approved qualifications. 

The requirements introduce important and urgent changes to ensure optical professionals continue to meet future patient and service user needs within service redesign in each nation of the UK. These changes include: 

  • Trainees will acquire a single qualification approved by the GOC leading to specialist entry to the GOC register as a contact lens optician. 
  • The approved qualification will be either an academic award or a regulated qualification at a minimum of Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) (or equivalent) level 6. 
  • There will be no proposed minimum/maximum or recommended time or credit volume for an approved qualification or specified location or duration of clinical experience, other than the requirement that an approved qualification must integrate approximately 225 hours of learning and experience in practice. 
  • An outcomes-based approach is used to specify knowledge, skills and behaviours using an established competence and assessment hierarchy known as ‘Miller’s Pyramid of Clinical Competence’ (knows; knows how; shows how; and does). 

We are currently working with education providers to adapt their existing GOC- approved qualifications or develop new qualifications to meet the new outcomes and standards at a pace which best suits them. We anticipate that most providers would begin to admit trainees to approved qualifications that meet the updated outcomes and standards from the 2023/24 or 2024/25 academic year.  

Separate arrangements will be made with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) to ensure that for those trainees who graduated from qualifications approved before 2022, their route to specialist entry to the GOC register is maintained. 

The new requirements were approved by Council in March 2022, following extensive consultation and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders over the past few years. 

View the new requirements.