A more advanced course for those who have been in optics for several years or have some supervisory duties. This course expands on the knowledge covered in level 2 and is the perfect follow-on course.


Please note that we are rewriting the course during 2022

Online course
Using our online learning portal

Course duration
6-12 months (depending on level)

Recommended study
3-4 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 and Diploma


Level 3 Supporting Optical Practice Certificate (any 4 units) £1000 (£600 course fee + £400 assessment fee*)
Level 3 Supporting Optical Practice Diploma (all 8 units) £1800 (£1000 course fee + £800 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 3 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 3 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 legislation that governs optical businesses; from consumer rights to the Opticians Act and GDPR. The importance of Health and Safety is also covered, along with, COSHH, risk assessment, and waste disposal. This is an important unit for anyone who is in a supervisory capacity or management position.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the legal requirements in an optical practice
  • Understand health and safety in an optical practice
  • Understand the importance of managing waste in an optical practice

Improve your lens knowledge by studying this unit that covers the wide range of lens treatments available. Treatments covering include, hard coating, MAR, blue light and driving finishes. There are also sections covering the range of tinting options, photochromic lenses, and polarised lenses. The final part of the unit is dedicated to eye protection, reviewing the lens and frame options available.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand different lens coatings and finishes
  • Understand the tinting of lenses and sun protection
  • Understand safety lenses and eyewear

Building on the knowledge covered on Level 2, this unit delves into more depth on the correction of astigmatism and presbyopia; as well as building confidence with the contact lens ‘teach’ and reviewing contact lens compliance. A must for any assistant who is involved with contact lens patients on a regular basis, or who wishes to expand their contact lens knowledge.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the correction of astigmatism with contact lenses
  • Understand the correction of presbyopia with contact lenses
  • Understand the contact lens ‘teach’ process
  • Understand contact lens related complications

There are 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss, making this unit an important aspect of modern practice. The unit starts by reviewing the terminology used and moves on to reviewing the low vision assessment journey, with an emphasis on the range of support available. The unit then covers the range of low vision aids available and the importance of good lighting. Studying this unit will help you to empathise and understand people’s needs.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand what we mean by low vision
  • Understand the low vision assessment process
  • Understand the range of low vision aids (LVAs) available
  • Understand the importance of light for the visually impaired

Customers are more demanding than ever, so offering excellent customer service is essential for any business to survive and grow. This unit looks at the principles of customer service, how to effectively measure and improve customer service, as well as a section dedicated to dealing with complaints when things do go wrong.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand what constitutes excellent customer service
  • Understand the measuring of customer satisfaction
  • Understand the causes of complaints and how to handle them

All businesses should have effective methods to monitor their stock to protect their bottom line. Stock should also be presented in ways that will generate interest from customers and persuade them to buy. This will result in increased sales and includes techniques such as how to implement add-on selling.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the importance of visual merchandising in an optical practice
  • Understand the ordering and receipt of stock
  • Understand the importance of accurate stock control

This is an essential unit for anybody working in practice, from optical assistants to lab staff and professional colleagues. All customers will expect you to be able to confidently and competently assess the fit of a frame, then carry out the correct adjustments. This is vital at the collection stage of the customer journey so that they leave on a high and with a positive experience. The unit also looks at some of the common spectacle frame repairs that can be carried out in practice, so that learners can feel more confident in completing these tasks themselves.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand the fitting of spectacles
  • Understand the adjustment of spectacles
  • Understand common spectacle repairs

A more advanced unit than the level 2 unit on optical screening; this unit considers a greater understanding of procedures such as visual field testing, auto-refraction, tonometry, fundus photography, and OCT. The unit finishes with how to deal with triaging ocular emergencies, which will boost the confidence of optical support staff.

Your learning goals:

  • Understand optical prescriptions
  • Understand the results of visual field screening
  • Understand different methods of measuring intraocular pressure
  • Understand how to improve imaging of the fundus
  • Understand Optical emergencies and triaging


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 examination 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.