The WCSM qualification in optical support is designed for staff working within optics who do not have a registerable qualification with the General Optical Council, whether you work in retail optics, manufacturing, sales or technical support. There are three mandatory units, plus optional units for you to choose from. You can choose optional units that are most applicable to your own role. Each optional unit is detailed below and includes a recommendation as to which role it would best suit. The Level 2 Optical Support qualification is the same level as a GCSE.
This is a distance learning programme which is suitable for all optical support staff. The precise format time and cost will depend on the units you choose and if there is a practical element or not.
THE LEARNING OUTCOMES
You can study just one unit, but this is not large enough to be considered equivalent in size to a GCSE. However you can add on more units and work towards a certificate or diploma. You will need to gain at least 26 credits for as Level 2 certificate. If you achieve 37 or more credits then you will be awarded a diploma which is equivalent to five GCSEs.
You will need to complete all of these units to achieve the qualification
UNIT 1: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN OPTICS (7 Credits)
The aim of this unit is to help the learner to understand the roles and responsibilities of staff within the optical profession, including how to communicate and deal with patients and patients’ entitlements and the procedures required within the health service. It also gives clear guidance on the limits of responsibilitities of all staff and the requirements for contractors working under the GOS contract. It therefore gives all within the profession an insight into the roles across all disciplines and also who does what and how and why. It outlines the role of the representative bodies and the GOC.
UNIT 2: COMMUNICATION IN OPTICS (6 Credits)
The aim of this unit is for the learner to know how to provide customer service within optics and the skills required for effective communication. It will include communication across all professional disciplines and between supplier, practices and patients. It includes customer service and how good communication can improve all working relationships.
UNIT 3: THE EYE AND AMETROPIA (8 Credits)
The aim of this unit is for the learner to understand the basic anatomy, function and pathology of the eye and the common eye conditions including myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism, presbyopia as well as binocular vision and visual fields. The learner will understand optical prescriptions and transposition and gain a basic understanding of cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes and their treatment and the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment. This unit will therefore give the learner all the underpinning knowledge required when working within any environment within the optical profession.
In order to achieve the 26 credits to achieve the qualification, you must choose at least one of these optional units. You may of course do as many you wish.
THE PROVISION OF SPECTACLE LENSES IN OPTICS (8 Credits)
The aim of this unit is for the learner to gain an understanding of the optics of lenses and their design and form including the significance of optical centres, decentration, prisms and their application, and the types and uses of special and safety lenses, coatings and tints. This unit is strongly recommended for anyone working in practice who dispenses, or in a lab. It would be useful for any memberof staff working within customer services within a lens manufacturing situation or as a representative for a lens company.
THE PROVISION OF SPECTACLE FRAMES IN OPTICS (7 Credits)
The aim of this unit is for the learner to understand the components of a spectacle frame, the materials used in construction and manufacture, the standard measurements of a frame and how to assist patients in choosing suitable frames to match their facial shape and features. This unit is strongly recommended for anyone working in practice who dispenses, or those working in a laboratory. It would be useful for any member of staff working within customer services within a frame manufacturing situation or as a representative for a frame company.
THE PROVISION OF CONTACT LENSES IN OPTICS (7 Credits)
The aim of this unit is for the learner to understand the different types and wearing modalities of contact lenses, their advantages and disadvantages, the general principles of fitting and lens care, and the importance of good record keeping, customer hygiene and aftercare visits. This unit is strongly recommended for anyone working in practice who deals with contact lens queries. It would be useful for any member of staff working within customer services within a contact lens manufacturing situation or as a representative for a contact lens company.
SUPPORTING THE PROVISION OF OPTICAL SCREENING (6 Credits)
The aim of this unit is for the learner to be able to understand the purpose and be able to use a wide range of screening equipment that would be used in practice. It also covers the conditions that are screened for in practice and the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care for these conditions. It covers the restrictions on the screening function as it is a delegated function by the optometrist. This unit is strongly recommended for anyone working in practice or hospital that has any involvement in the screening process. It would be useful for any member of staff working within practice and for representatives of equipment manufacturers or suppliers.
REPAIRING SPECTACLES (5 Credits)
The aim of this unit is for the learner to understand the processes involved in the adjustment and repair of spectacles and be able to adjust and repair spectacles. This unit would be useful for any member of staff working within practice and manufacturing.
The cost of the course is £500 for the three mandatory units and £100 for each optional unit selected.
All of the course material is included for this fee and full tutor support.
In order to achieve the qualification learners must pass an examination. The exam is a short multiple choice paper for each unit and in order to pass learners will need to achieve 50% on each unit. They take place in June and December each year. The examinations are not included in the course fees and we will update on these once they have been confirmed.
The examinations are organised and run by ABDO on behalf of the WCSM.
The examination can be taken online at the candidate’s place of work, subject to certain conditions. The benefits of taking the examination online are:
The examination can also be taken in written paper format at a number of venues. Further details will be sent to learners nearer the time.
You can apply for the course by clicking on the link below and completing the application form and once payment has been received you can start learning straight away. You can enrol for this course regardless of academic background, nationality, age, location, gender, religion or occupation.