Level 4 Diploma for Optical AssistantsThe Level 4 Diploma for Optical Assistants was introduced in 2017 and allows successful candidates to use the letters SMC(OA) after their name. It is at an equivalent standard to the Level 4 Diploma for Optical Technicians and will similarly allow progression to dispensing diplomas if candidates choose that path and pass the required technical units.
This qualification is designed to equip senior optical assistants and would-be practice managers with the knowledge and skills which would be expected of them in practice. Both written and practical elements are important. There are five mandatory units and three optional units from a choice of six. The final part of the assessment is practical and takes account of tasks already undertaken and recorded in practice as well as tests carried out in a practical examination and discussion during a viva. Candidates cannot pass the diploma unless they pass the practical assessment.
Candidates who pass all units before March 2021 will receive their diploma from WCSM. Those yet to complete will be able to transfer to the comparable qualification offered by ABDO, who will be the awarding organisation for diplomas achieved after that date. There will be no change in the standards required for this qualification during the transitional phase.