Welcome to the New Registrant Directory, where you will find vital information about registration and links to essential resources. As a new registrant, you have now become a health care professional and joined over 1000 opticians in the mission to provide quality vision care to people in British Columbia. Whether you are coming straight from a recognized opticianry program, transferring from another province, or beginning your career in Canada, the College of Opticians of British Columbia (COBC) wants to ensure that you are prepared to meet professional standards and deliver quality care to all patients. This page provides important, basic information about registration.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE LICENSED?
Licensed Optician: Regulated vision care professionals who follow the highest standard of care and are extensively trained to understand your daily vision needs to dispense eye wear that best suits your health and lifestyle. Licensed Opticians follow a Code of Ethics and are accountable for their products and services.Being licensed is a commitment to a regulated profession and shows membership in a field of regulated health professionals. This professional status comes with associated obligations to the public that you care for, like following a standard of care and pursuing continuing competency development. Only Licensed Opticians can use the protected title “Optician” and perform restricted activities, like automated refraction and contact lens fitting. As a Licensed Optician, the public will be able to find you on the College's online registry; can trust that you adhere to the College's Standards of Practice, Bylaws and Code of Ethics; and hold you accountable for your services. Regulation provides support for professionalism.
Certificates of registration are issued by the College to inform the public of your status as a practicing health professional. Therefore, certificates must be displayed at your place of work so the public can identify you as a Licensed Optician, Contact Lens Fitter and/or Refracting Optician. A new renewal sticker must be placed on the certificates each year to show that your license remains valid, similar to license plates.
It is important to note that, unlike a degree or diploma, certificates indicate a license to practice opticianry and remain the property of the College; therefore, they must be returned upon request. Registrants are advised not to permanently frame or plaque a certificate because all certificates must be returned if registrants change to non-practicing status, retire, or simply leave the profession. Accountability to the public is part of being a licensed health professional and certificates are displayed to inform the public of your practicing status; if you are not practicing, certificates of registration must be returned to the College.
THE COLLEGE OF OPTICIANS OF BC
The COBC is a health regulatory body created by the Health Professions Act to regulate opticians and contact lens fitters in BC. According to the Act, our narrow mandate is to ensure that Licensed Opticians are highly qualified and competent professionals who practice their Code of Ethics, Standard of Practice and duty of care. The COBC sets the framework for the professional self-regulated profession of opticianry to protect the public in British Columbia.
The COBC's main responsibilities:
REQUIREMENTS OF REGISTRATION
- REGISTRATION - Determine who is licensed in BC and maintain database
- QUALITY ASSURANCE - Ensure all registrants are (and remain) competent
- INQUIRY and DISCIPLINE - Investigate complaints and act to protect the public when standards are not being met
- PATIENT RELATIONS - Support quality patient care
- PUBLIC RESOURCE - Educate the public on regulated health professionals and opticianry
Registration as a health professional isn't just about renewing a license every year. As there are responsibilities and duties associated with a license, it is a privilege, not a right. All licenses must be renewed by March 31 annually to remain valid, but registrants must continue to meet the requirements of registration in order to renew. Reminders will be sent each year prior to the renewal deadline, including information about how to complete the process.
FOUR PILLARS OF REGISTRATION
A member of the public should be able to trust that a Licensed Optician is registered, competent, fit to practice, and accountable.
Steps to Take:
Steps to Take:
FITNESS TO PRACTICE
Steps to Take:
Steps to Take:
WHAT IS QUALITY ASSURANCE?
Quality assurance aims to support quality opticianry services to provide safe, ethical, and effective patient care. The College's Quality Assurance program supports continuing competence and improvement. A major part of the Quality Assurance program is every optician's Continuing Competency requirements.
Continuing Competency is defined as the ongoing ability to meet complex demands by demonstrating the required knowledge, skills, judgment and attitude to practice safely and ethically in a designated role and setting. Continuing competency programs are meant to assure the public that when they see a regulated health professional, he/she is competent and ethical.
All registrants are responsible for completing continuing competency activities. These could be things like opticianry conferences, courses (including online), presentations, study clubs or volunteer work. Currently, these opportunities must be accredited by the COBC to determine the number and type of credits assigned to each activity or event. Many opportunities are accredited and will distribute "credit slips" afterwards, but if you attend something that you believe is relevant to your profession, you can request accreditation to receive credits from the COBC.
Each registrant must collect their continuing education credits and submit them to the COBC office every 3 years. The COBC does not keep track of your credits during your cycle; it is your responsibility to ensure that you have proof of completion of each activity. You can submit your credits by mail, fax or email at the end of your cycle. If you need more information about credits, please get in touch by phone or email.
Credits fall into different categories: EG (eyeglasses), CL (contact lens), EC (eyeglasses or contact lens) and RF (related field). EC credits can be substituted for EG or CL credits if necessary. Credits are also provided by many different organizations, including professional providers like the Opticians Association of Canada, NAIT, the COBC or approved study clubs. Other providers are related organizations. Two thirds of your credits must be from professional providers. You can carry over some credits into your next cycle (see table), but you must always submit all credits you have earned at the end of your cycle; credits from previous cycles will not be accepted in the next cycle. More information about submitting credits found here. A list of accredited courses can be found here.