Use of the “Dispensing Optician” title is protected and only registered practitioners are allowed to use this. If you are not registered, or if you are still studying to become a DO you are not allowed to use this title.
At all times a qualified Dispensing Optician whose name is on the register with the Board and is performing any duties within the Scope of Practice (https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2020-gs5669) must hold an Annual Practicing Certificate.
The ADONZ encourages all registered DOs to use the protected title “Dispensing Optician” along with any management title.
The Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board requires all students currently enrolled and completing an optical dispensing course to use one of the following titles in the workplace: Trainee Dispensing Optician or Student Dispensing Optician rather than Optical Assistant (or any other title). Other titles can be misleading, and you must ensure that the public is not confused as to your status. You also must not use a title that infers you have more experience that what you have.
You may not be aware that the term “optical dispenser” should also not be used by persons that are unregistered.
Section 7 of the HPCA Act 2003 states: “A person may only use names, words, titles, initials, abbreviations or descriptions stating or implying that the person is a health practitioner of a particular kind if the person is registered, and is qualified to be registered, as a health practitioner of that kind”.
The Ministry of Health’s view is that the title “optical dispenser” is so like the title “Dispensing Optician” that there is a real risk of consumers being misled. The Ministry’s approach in enforcing the Act is to first seek compliance. In cases where the persons are unwilling to comply with the Act, the Ministry will seek to prosecute. Prosecutions under Section 7 carry with them a fine of up to $10,000. Please make sure that you and the people you work with comply with the Act.