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Helping you find a career in the Optometry industry

Optometry provides a very stable career – everyone needs to look after their eyes. It’s a rewarding career choice where you could significantly change someone’s life through correcting their vision or spotting a problem and saving their eyesight.

Working as an optometrist requires highly technical understanding of the eyes and the science behind how we see the world. This means that you’ll need a degree.

However, you could become a dispensing optician through pursuing a diploma that can be done over three years via a day-release from work, or two years part time. Dispensing opticians are experts in glasses and contact lenses. You’d be helping customers learn how to use and care for their correctives, alongside providing advice on suitability and style. They are essential to the success of any optician.

Without any further education you could still work within an optometry practice, but you will be limited to sales and administration roles.


Skills & interests required for a career in Optometry
To be successful in optometry you need to have a combination of scientific knowledge and people skills. Your day will be predominantly spent in close contact with people and providing advice about eyesight. You’ll need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, alongside having good levels of customer service.

A lot of people get nervous about getting their eyes tested, especially children, so you will have to be patient and able to put them at ease.

Opticians can get extremely busy, particularly at the weekend, so quick and accurate work is essential to making sure that everybody gets seen at their appointment time!

If you work within a sales role you will not need to have the same level of technical knowledge, but will have to be able to build up a good rapport with people quickly.
Optometry apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
As a dispensing optician you will be able to progress into managerial positions with experience. Alternatively, you could move into teaching roles or roles in a hospital.

Some dispensing opticians decide to pursue further training to become optometrists.
Tips for getting into the field
Study, study, study! You will not be able to get into specialised optometry roles without the necessary qualifications. This is an industry where your grades are important.
What do Optometry professionals get paid?
The starting salary for a dispensing optician in £18,000 and this will increase to £30,000 with experience. Those who continue to progress and take on managerial positions will earn up to £40,000.

The earning potential for an optometrist is higher. Graduates start at £26,000 and this will increase up to £41,000 with some years of experience. Those who are highly experienced will earn up to £80,000.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Optometry?
In order to become an optometrist or a dispensing optician you will need to have a qualification that is recognised by the General Optical Council (GOC).

Optometrists require a bachelors degree and a year of supervised training and a dispensing opticians need a diploma that can be completed within two years, if done full-time.

To get onto an optometry degree course you will likely need three strong A-levels with at least two in science-based subjects. You will also need five GCSEs at grades A*-C.

Optometrists have to dedicate themselves to lifelong learning as each year they must renew their membership with the GOC by taking part in the Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme to make sure that they’re up to date with all the latest optometry developments.
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