Start your career in optics here with this level 2 course and qualification. Suitable for anyone working in the optical sector, from receptionists to optical assistants, customer support staff to sales reps.

Online course
Using our online learning portal

Course duration
3-9 months (depending on level)

Recommended study
2-3 hours a week

Study requirements
No existing qualification required

Success rate
95% of our learners pass first time

First class support
Tutor support throughout

Online assessment in the workplace

Certificate or Diploma


Level 2 Supporting Optical Practice Certificate (any 4 units) £720 (£400 course fee + £320 assessment fee*)
Level 2 Supporting Optical Practice Diploma (all 8 units) £1440 (£800 course fee + £640 assessment fee*)

*Please note that you can choose to pay the assessment upfront or before assessments are taken

 Course details 

This qualification in supporting optical practice 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 eight units to choose from depending on which qualification you decide to do.  You can choose units that are most applicable to your own role. Each unit is detailed below as well as how to achieve the certificate or the diploma.

The course is delivered online using our learning platform which breaks the units down into bite-sized chunks to learn each week with activities to complete to check your understanding.  A full colour course manual is also provided to enhance the online material.  At the end of each unit there is an assignment to complete which is marked by your tutor and is an important part of the course as it prepares you for the examination.  You can find out more about the examination for this course below.

 Choose your path 

Level 2 Certificate

For the certificate you can choose any 4 of the units below. Choose the units that best match your role in practice. You can upgrade to a Diploma by completing the remaining 4 units.

Level 2 Diploma

For the Diploma you will need to study all 8 of the units below. You can study them in order you like and you can take upto 18 months to complete them all.


This unit reviews the range of professions and optical bodies in the optical world, with an emphasis on the functions of the General Optical Council. Focus is also given to the NHS provision for optics and the General Ophthalmic Services (GOS). An essential unit for anybody new to the world of optics.

 Your learning goals:

  • Understand the different profession sin optics
  • Understand the different bodies involved in optics
  • The NHS and optics

Excellent communication skills are essential if you are to provide great customer service. This unit covers areas of verbal communication, written communication, body language and active listening, questioning techniques, and how to handle different types of customers. Ideal for somebody who has limited experience in customer services.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand oral communication
  • Understand written communication
  • Understand how to communicate with different types of customers

This unit begins by looking at the main parts of the eye, their structure, and functions. This is followed by an explanation of emmetropia and the different types of ametropia (including astigmatism and presbyopia). The components of the spectacle prescription and then explained, before the final section of the unit, gives an understanding of the big four causes of visual impairment and their management (glaucoma, cataract, diabetic eye disease and Age-Related Macular Degeneration). This unit is recommended for anyone who is in a patient facing role where patients may ask questions.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the anatomical structures of the eye and their functions
  • Understand common refractive errors
  • Understand the components of a spectacle prescription
  • Understand common eye conditions

This unit examines the customer journey, from their first point of contact, booking an appointment, NHS GOS rules, the day of their eye examination, all the way through to when the customer collects their new spectacles from the practice. This will give anybody new to optics a good understanding of all of the stages of the customer journey.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the appointment booking process
  • Understand customer entitlements to NHS services in optics
  • Understand the eye examination, ordering and production processes
  • Understand order receipt, checking and the collection process

There is a wide range of frame types, materials, styles and price points in every optical practice. This unit looks at key aspects of spectacle frames, such as the features, benefits, and limitations of different frame materials, how frames can be manufactured and coloured, the correct terminology for frames, understanding frames measurements, with the final section reviewing how to help customer select eyewear based on their facial features, face shape, colouring etc. A very useful unit for anyone who is involved in frame selecting or adjusting frames.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the materials used to produce  spectacle frames
  • Understand the methods used to manufacture spectacle frames
  • Understand spectacle frame components
  • Understand how to be able to help customers choose eyewear

Gain an understanding of the wide range of lens options available by studying this unit. The first section looks at how lenses work, their form and the benefits of aspheric lenses. There is then an in-depth section on the correction of presbyopia, which covers features, benefits and limitations of bifocal, trifocal, progressive and occupational lenses. The unit then considers the properties of different lens materials, with the final section being dedicated to the important lens measurements that are required to place a spectacle order. A real must of any optical assistant or dispenser.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the principles of spectacle lenses
  • Understand multifocal lenses
  • Understand spectacle lens manufacture
  • Understand the measurements necessary for dispensing spectacle lenses

Boost confidence with contact lenses by studying this unit. The sections of this unit cover the different types of contact lenses, the materials used to manufacture contact lenses, different wearing modalities, and replacement frequencies, and finally, the proper care of contact lenses and a description of contact lens aftercare. The knowledge covered in this unit can be further developed by studying the follow-on level 3 contact lens unit.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the design of contact lenses
  • Understand contact lens materials
  • Understand the frequency of contact lens replacements
  • Understand how patients should look after their contact lenses

A very useful unit for any optical assistant carrying our screening in optical practice, or in a hospital setting. The unit looks at the main screening tests carried out, such as tonometry, visual field testing, auto-refraction, fundus photography, and OCT. The principles behind the test and tips on how to obtain the best results are covered for each test. The knowledge covered in this unit can be further developed by studying the follow-on level 3 contact lens unit.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the measuring of intra ocular pressure in optical practice
  • Understand the measuring of the visual field in optical practice
  • Understand the use of auto-refraction in optical practice
  • Understand the imaging of the fundus in optical practice
  • Understand the use of coherence tomography (OCT) in optical practice


In order to achieve a qualification for this course you will need to pass the examinations.

All of our examinations are carried out online in your workplace.  You will need to take an examination for each unit you have studied and these will be done once you have completed the course work for each unit.  The details and dates of your examination will be communicated to you on our online portal and also by post.  Each examaintation will take around 30 minutes to complete and will consist of a series of short answer questions.  The pass mark for each unit is 50% and you can resit any units you do not pass at the end of your course.

Once you have achieved a pass in all your units you will receive a certificate from NCFE.

You can find out more about our examinations, find application forms, see the fees and all our policy documents here.