Seeing all the possibilities: How this Opticianry grad found more career pathways than she ever imagined
By Maggie Tung, Communications Coordinator
Henna Ahmad was always interested in eye health care, and she knew the Diploma in Opticianry (OPT) program was the right fit for her. But she never foresaw just how many doors it would open.
“This program helped me realize how many pathways there are in the opticianry industry. Throughout my career, I’ve got to be in different roles and positions, and I continue to learn.”
Want to become a licensed optician? Learn more about the Diploma in Opticianry by attending an info session. douglascollege.ca/info
Finding the right prescription
Henna says the two-year Opticianry program – known as Dispensing Opticianry at the time – set her up for success. She started her career with solid foundational knowledge of opticianry and had hands-on experience thanks to her practicum placement in an optical store. After graduation, she landed a job in sales at that same store.
In her position, she helped clients find the right glasses and contacts based on their visual and lifestyle needs. But after a few years, she wanted a change. She wasn’t worried, though – her credential had opened up a wide range of career options, so she was confident she would be able to move into a different position easily.
“There are many directions you can take with a diploma like this,” she says. “You can do sales, work in a lab or move into the health-care side. You can even go further and study more if you want. The program is a gateway; it supports you wherever you want to go.”
Henna moved into healthcare, as an ophthalmic technician for LASIK MD. In this new role, she is training to assist in LASIK eye surgeries.
She has also come back to Douglas – as a guest speaker. The OPT program contacts her when students are learning a topic that correlates to what LASIK MD offers.
“For example, if they’re studying cataracts, I’ll come in and talk about how we diagnose them and the different surgeries we offer to treat them,” she says.
This has opened up yet another potential career path for Henna.
“Speaking to students has made me realize that I love teaching, which I hadn’t even considered before,” she says.
Read more: Keeping an ear out: Meet the instructor who wants you to turn down the noise
The future’s so bright, she’s gotta wear shades
In fact, she loves teaching so much that she’s set her sights on one day leading the Opticianry program at Douglas College.
“I’ve actually spoken to the department head. And I’m like, ‘I want your job, so I’m waiting for you to retire. When you do, let me know, and we’ll work something out,’” she says, laughing. “It’s where I see myself in the future.”
In the meantime, Henna continues to build a fruitful career that fulfills her desire for work-life balance.
“This industry gives me constant stimulation, and it keeps me on my toes. But it’s not so tasking that I can’t enjoy my hobbies and spend time with friends and family,” she says. “I can come home from work and read a book purely for leisure or go on hikes to enjoy the outdoors without stressing about my job in the back of my mind. I love the work-life balance that I have.”
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