Welcome to ABDO College

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International study  - ABDO College

International Study with ABDO College

Studying with ABDO College when you are not in the UK or Republic of Ireland

ABDO College welcomes students from across the world. With its wide ranging programme of courses studied by distance learning, wherever you live studying with ABDO College can:

  • Allow you to earn while you learn.
  • Lead to stand-alone qualifications.
  • Prepare you to study for the FBDO qualification.

The College is a centre of excellence and has been raising the standards in optical education for the whole profession since it was established by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) in 2001.

Courses available

Optical Assistant

The ideal online learning course if you are new to optics and want a thorough grounding, or have been in practice for some time and want to formalise what you have learnt. Online learning along with an optional workshop held in Birmingham, UK. There are no formal examinations for this course.

 - ABDO College

Senior Optical Assistant

Uncover just how much there is to working in eyecare. Your knowledge of frames and lenses will grow while studying this course, allowing you to develop what you can offer patients with increasing confidence and knowledge. Online learning plus optional workshop held in Birmingham, UK. Examinations are held in the UK.

 - ABDO College

Ophthalmic Dispensing Diploma

This course leads to the gold standard award for Dispensing Opticians, Fellowship of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians. Study online, with the option to attend ABDO College in Kent for a fortnight twice a year. Practical Examinations take place in the UK, India (Chennai) or Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). Theory examinations can be sat in a British Consul in your country.  

 - ABDO College

Low Vision

This course will help you as an eye care practitioner to provide a quality service sensitive to the individual needs of those who are sight impaired, helping them to attain the highest level of independence. This is an interesting field of clinical practice spanning ocular pathology, epidemiology, lighting, optical design, psychological adaptation and devices for sensory substitution. The course is distance learning plus attendance required at ABDO College in Kent, UK, for 1 week. Examinations can ONLY be sat in the UK. 

 - ABDO College

Contact lenses

This specialist course is available to dispensing opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. Once the specialist training is completed and competence assessed, practitioners are able to perform additional duties to those of a dispensing optician, fitting and providing aftercare for patients with contact lenses. It is studied by distance learning plus attendance required at ABDO College in Kent, UK, for 2 blocks of 1 week each. Examinations can ONLY be sat in the UK.

 - ABDO College
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The Optical Assistant and Senior Optical Assistant courses are available for online study only. The Ophthalmic Dispensing Diploma can be studied online only, but you will need to attend for exams in the UK or Malaysia.

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The Contact Lens and Low Vision courses require you to attend ABDO College in Kent, UK for residential block release of a fortnight and a week respectively.

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Courses delivered by a method called ‘blended learning’ consist of practice-based learning, block release and distance learning coursework.

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No, if you are studying the Fellowship Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing Overseas qualification, your supervisor does not have to be GOC registered.

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For Ophthalmic Dispensing, Practical Examinations take place in the UK, India (Chennai) or Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). Theory examinations can be sat in a British Consul in your country.

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Yes, ABDO College has a small amount of student accommodation available on the estate. This is allocated on a first come, first served basis at the same time as course applications.

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A single room costs from £294 inc VAT per week for students on the Ophthalmic Dispensing course.

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ABDO College is located in Godmersham, Kent. It is approximately 15 minutes drive from Ashford International train station. The nearest airport is London Gatwick which is approximately 1 and a half hour’s drive.

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Coursework material will be provided via a virtual online learning platform and there will be some assignment questions to answer for each part of the course. We will also allocate you a personal tutor and send you their contact details and a timetable for you to work to. There are 32 units of coursework and you will work through one each week. You then send your work to your personal tutor who will mark it for you and return it to you with some feedback through the platform. You can expect this coursework to take you between 10 and 15 hours per week and you will need to be disciplined to make sure you keep up.

For the degree courses there is also additional learning material and assessment by electronic means. A virtual learning environment provides additional resources, peer support and digital drop box for your complete assessment work. This work will be guided by the module leader.

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Block release is a two week period of intensive study that will support you with your theory and practical studies and give you the chance to meet some of your fellow students. There will be two of these block release periods in each year. Block release is held at ABDO College in Godmersham, Kent and it is a compulsory part of the course for all students from the UK and ROI.

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While you are studying for your FBDO you will be training full-time. This training consists not just of your block release and distance learning coursework but also of your learning in practice with your supervisor. You and your supervisor will be issued with a Practical Training Timetable to guide you both through this part of your training.

You will also need to complete a Pre-Qualification Portfolio (PQP). This portfolio is made up of a set number of case records that you build up over a three-year period and makes up a part of your final examinations. This will all be explained when you attend for your first block release and we will issue the PQP to all students.

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Yes. It is essential that you are working in an optical environment so that you can receive adequate support from your supervisor* and colleagues and in order to gain the necessary practical experience. You will need the support of your employer to work towards this qualification.

*For Level 4 courses your supervisor will need to be a GOC registrant.

For the Fast Track Technician Training for FBDOs course, you will also need to submit a project so it is a requirement that you have access to a glazing laboratory. It is highly recommended that you spend a minimum of six weeks within a glazing environment.

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Yes, you will need to retain full membership for the duration of your course.

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Yes. Student registration will cost £30*. You will need to visit the GOC website and complete your application directly with the GOC.

*Correct as at January 2019

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ABDO College has its own bookshop and sell all of the books that you will need for your course. Contact Justin Hall at the ABDO College Bookshop by telephone on 01227 733 904, by email at jhall@abdocollege.org.uk or order online at the ABDO College Bookshop.

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Call the courses team at ABDO College on 01227 738 829 (option 1). Any member of the team will be happy to help you.

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Call us. We are happy to answer questions about the available courses from ABDO College and to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

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For an information pack with details of the next intake, fees, deadline and an application form contact us by telephone, fax, email, post or via the ABDO College website.