Continuing Education

Optical Sciences - Refraction


The location where your NAIT courses will be held.


The type of certification you will earn after completing your program.

  • Certificate Achievement - An approved non-credit program that has a formal summative assessment component, has mappped program or course outcomes, and is subject to a regular quality curriculum review process.
  • Certificate Completion - A non-credit program that has no formal summative assessment component and is subject to a regular quality curriculum review process.
  • Continuing Education/Non-Credit - NAIT offers a wide range of non-credit programs and courses for personal and professional development in a number of interesting and exciting fields. These options are great for people who may be working but are interested in studying as well.

Delivery Options

The flexible schedule options for this course including time of day and full/part-time.

  • On-Campus Day - Your course activity is done in-person Monday - Friday, before 5 PM.
  • On-Campus Evening/Weekend - Your course activity is done in-person on weekdays from 5 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Online Day - Your course activity is done online Monday - Friday, before 5 PM.
  • Online Evening/Weekend - Your course activity is done online on weekdays from 5 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Online Flexible Delivery - Your course activity is not scheduled and therefore you can determine when to do the coursework.
  • Both On-Campus and Virtual - Some of your coursework will be in-person, on campus and some will be done online.

Advance your knowledge in foundational optical science theory

Our Refraction program is intended for contact lens fitters who wish to enrich their professional development and flexibility in the job market by learning theories and methodologies involved in refraction.

As a scientific term, refraction refers to the way wave transmissions (such as light) change direction when passed through a medium (such as a lens). In opticianry, a refraction test determines the eye's refractive error, which allows an optician to suggest the best corrective lenses to provide the patient with the sharpest and clearest vision.

Our program is split between 2 courses designed to be taken at the same time. The first course walks you through theoretical concepts to prepare you for on-the-job training. The second course puts your knowledge to the test and helps you enhance your opticianry skill set through hands-on ocular assessment practice.

Hands-on, industry-relevant skills

You can use a variety of tools and methods to determine the best possible prescriptive lenses for patients. For instance, the autorefractor and retinoscope help eye care professionals determine the eye’s refractive error without feedback from patients (objective refraction) while the phoropter is used to test the refractive error with the help of a patient (subjective refraction). 

Our program is divided into 4 outcomes that explore these tools and methods in detail. By the end of the program, you will have a body of knowledge and level of confidence in the following areas:

  • objective refraction
  • subjective refraction
  • binocular vision testing
  • refraction analysis 

After each outcome, you will be required to complete an online assessment that will test your understanding of key terms, topics and learning objectives. 

For the Refraction Clinical course, all training will take place at your workplace under the direct supervision of a certified refracting optician or certified ophthalmic medical technologist, optometrist or ophthalmologist. You will complete a clinical manual within the six-month time frame.

Our program is fully accredited by the National Association of Canadian Opticians Regulators (NACOR). For more information about licensing in Canada, please contact NACOR.

Flexible programming

To better fit your schedule, the Refraction theory course (OPSC617) is offered online. Access your course material at your own pace using Moodle, our online eLearning system, from the comfort of your own home, office, or local coffee shop.

The Refraction Clinical course (OPSC695) is to be completed at your workplace under the direct supervision of a qualified preceptor.

Apply today!

Please note: You are eligible for registration in the Refraction Clinical course (OPSC695) upon successful completion of the Refraction theory course (OPSC617) or you may take OPSC695 concurrently with OPSC617.

Canadian residents in Alberta apply to this program by completing the following steps:

  1. Download the Refraction Application Package (pdf)
  2. Complete the required form(s)
  3. Submit the completed form(s) to the Optical Sciences Program Office by fax or email

If you have any questions, please contact our office by emailing or calling 780.378.2800 (Toll Free 1.888.491.3130).

Canadian residents outside Alberta must contact the Opticians Association of Canada (OAC) for an application package and registration information by emailing or calling 1.800.847.3155.

Contact information

Alberta residents

  • Office Email:
  • Phone: 780.378.2800
  • Toll Free: 1.888.491.3130
  • Fax: 780.471.8377

Canadian residents outside Alberta

Advanced credit