Fellowship Dispensing Diploma – Year One
The FBDO qualification takes a minimum of 3 years to complete
Students must attain an average of 40% or higher and submit all weekly assignments in order to gain entry into the ABDO PQE exams. Formal assessment is then carried out via these 2 examinations, 1 practical, 1 theory.
Students are required to be working in practice for a minimum of 30 hours per week under a GOC registered supervisor. Students must apply to the GOC for student membership and retain this registration, along with complying with all relevant GOC regulations throughout their studies. Students must also be ABDO members for the duration of their study. The distance learning element of the course requires some essential textbooks. The booklist is available at the bottom of this page as well as the prices and order form for ABDO College Bookshop. The programme is paperless so basic IT requirements are listed below.
1st August 2022
Candidates require 5 GCSE's grade A-C (4 to 9 from 2017). These must include English, Maths and Science. Candidates with 5 years or more experience in optical practice can apply with just English and Maths GCSE grade A-C (4 to 9 from 2017). Equivalent qualifications (such as leaving certs, national certificates etc) from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as international qualifications are also accepted. Please contact ABDO College directly to check eligibility.
Year 1 = £3900 (including the end of year exams)
Students study via 'blended learning'. This refers to a combination of distance learning, teaching at the College as well as learning in practice. Students complete 32 weekly distance learning assignments (all online) and attend the College in Godmersham, Kent, for 2 residential blocks each lasting a fortnight, each academic year. Students also complete in practice tasks to re-enforce and demonstrate the skills learnt.
Course start date
ABDO College specialises in the provision of blended and distance learning education for the optical
profession. The Fellowship Dispensing Diploma course is for trainee Dispensing Opticians working
in optical practice in the UK, Ireland or overseas who are interested in advancing their optical
knowledge to achieve a professional qualification.
The distance learning assignments will be delivered through a virtual learning environment (VLE). It
is a requirement therefore that you have regular access to a computer, with internet connection, a
scanner and Microsoft Word/PDF software.
The course comprises of the following elements:
Coursework – 32 units to be studied by distance learning. Students will be expected to study for a
minimum of 15 hours per week.
Block release – four weeks. Students will be required to attend ABDO College in Godmersham for
two weeks twice each academic year for face to face learning in a classroom setting.
The course takes three years and prepares students for the Fellowship Diploma examinations
(FBDO). The course is made up of units of work, assignment questions, block release study and
practice based learning.
The dispensing courses are periodically reviewed by the General Optical Council (GOC) who have
recorded their approval of the College as a recognised training institution in accordance with the
It is a requirement of the course to be working in a dispensing practice, for a minimum of 30 hours
per week, while undertaking the Fellowship Dispensing Diploma course. This must be under the
supervision of a suitably qualified person, in an environment that will provide them with opportunities
to meet the GOC competencies and expectations for practical experience. This may require a
change in working patterns in the practice to ensure that there are frequent, regular progress
reviews between the supervisor and the student.
Trainees will be out of practice for a minimum of four weeks each academic year to attend block
release sessions at ABDO College and will also require extra support and time out of practice for
examinations. In addition to this, employers need to make time available for the trainee and
Supervisor to spend time together in practice for the training and assessment of practical skills and
for pastoral support and guidance.
Submission of assignments and continuous assessment
All students should be aware that if their work is submitted late, reduced or no marks will be
allocated in line with the ABDO College Late Submission Policy. Students unable to achieve course schedules will be withdrawn with no refund.
There are 32 weekly assignments to complete. The pass mark for each assignment is 40%.
In order for students to be eligible to sit ABDO theory and practical examinations, 100% of
assignments need to be submitted on time and, gain an average mark of 40% or more in each topic.
Block release course studies
All ABDO College students in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are required to attend ABDO
College for two separate fortnights study each academic year, as instructed by the GOC. Failure to
attend for your blocks will result in removal from the course.
Learning materials and IT requirements
The FBDO programme uses a paperless system in order to work alongside ABDO College’s commitment to sustainability. Therefore, all handouts and block materials are made available to all students at the beginning of the academic year through the Virtual Learning Environment. We encourage all students to attend block release with IT equipment to use for note taking. To facilitate this, power sources are available in all relevant classrooms and all block materials are fully editable, meaning students can make notes in a way that suits them. Should students prefer to make handwritten notes, they are required to print their materials ahead of block release and bring them along.
All examinations are run by ABDO Exams and Registration. From 2022, Theory exams will be online. Students will need access to a PC, a stable internet connection, a webcam and a mic.