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Optometrist Apprenticeships

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Helping you find a career as an Optometrist

As an optometrist you will examine patients’ eyes, test their sight, support them on visual problems and prescribe and fit spectacles or contact lenses when appropriate.

What does an Optometrist do?
Your duties will include:

- Speaking to patients to get detailed case histories from them
- Examining patients’ eyes to examine sign of injury, disease, abnormality or vision defects
- Ensuring that you are updated on signs and symptoms of general health conditions, e.g. diabetes
- Fitting spectacles or contact lenses
- Offering advice on vision-related matters
- Offering to help patients when choosing frames and lenses
- Writing referral letters to doctors
- Liaising with other medical practitioners
- Meeting sales targets, e.g. selling spectacles or contact lenses
Skills & interests required for an Optometrist
To be an optometrist you'll need clinical decision-making skills , an understanding of scientific principles and methods and their applications, confidence in using complex specialist equipment, and manual dexterity.

Other skills include:
- Attention to detail
- Communication
- Organisation
- Patience
- Teamwork
What hours does an Optometrist typically do?
Working hours are typically 9am to 5:30pm and you are likely to work between 37 and 40 hours per week.
What environment is an Optometrist based in?
You may work in a hospital, private practice or a shop; in each of the settings you will be in a consultancy room or cubicle with no natural light.
How much does an Optometrist travel?
You will usually need to travel for training purposes or to attend conferences.
How much does an Optometrist get paid?
In training there is no set minimum for the pre-registration year, but most employers will pay at least the National Living Wage or the National Minimum Wage, which ranges from £13,000 to £14,000.

Starting salaries for newly qualified optometrists are typically around £25,000 depending on employer and location. Once you have gained enough experience you can earn anywhere between £28,000 and £60,000+.

If you are to work for the NHS, a starting salary with start at £19,217 (band 4), and once you are qualified this will rise to £26,302 - £35,225. For specialist optometrists, salaries can go up to £41,373. Consultant optometrists can earn up to £82,434.

Many employers support trainees in the pre-registration year and will often pay additional expenses such as course costs and Scheme for Registration fees.
What qualifications does an Optometrist need?
You must be registered with the GOC (the regulator for the optical professions in the UK) to work as an optometrist. To get this, you must achieve a 2:2 (or above) degree in an optometry; you must complete 12-15 months salaried pre-registration training under the registration of GOC; and pass the College of Optometrists’ GOC work-based and final assessments.

Entry requirements vary for different universities, but a typical offer is a minimum of AAB at A-Level, with at least two science subjects.

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