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Helping you find a career in the Optometry industry

In optometry your day will involve examining the health of eyes and offering advice regarding eye health and vision correction. You’d be making a huge difference to people’s lives by helping them to see clearly, or even saving their eyesight.

It’s a high responsibility industry and requires a scientific understanding about the eye and eyesight, so for the majority of roles you’re going to need a relevant degree.

Working in optometry you could be in high street stores, in hospitals, or eye clinics. The working hours may differ depending on which you work in. It is quite common to have to work the weekends in high street stores (like Specsavers) and hospitals may require shift work.

Despite the different environments, the work will be very similar. In a typical day you’ll be meeting patients, conducting eye tests to detect any problems and prescribe the necessary treatments or correctives.

Alternatively you could pursue a teaching role and help to train up the next generation of optometrists.

If your degree is not within optometry and you don’t fancy retraining, you could pursue a career as a dispensing optician. Dispensing opticians are in charge of glasses and contact lens advice, covering both style and how to take care of them.


Skills & interests required for a career in Optometry
Working in optometry requires a combination of scientific knowledge and people skills. An aptitude for science and maths will assist you in the technical side of the job, but ultimately the majority of your day will be spent working in a small room with people, so you’ll need to be comfortable in this environment.

Some people get nervous about having their eyes tested and you may need to help put them at ease through reassurance and good levels of customer service.

Optometry clinics are often very busy and you’ll need to be able to work quickly and accurately in order to keep to appointment times.

Other skills that will help you in your optometry career include:

  • Organisation
  • Patience
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Optometry
As an optometry graduate, you will progress into more senior roles with experience in the field. However, you may become more specialised through pursuing further academic qualifications like an MSc or PhD in optometry. These will help you to accelerate your career progression.

If you’re entrepreneurial, you could also eventually open up your own practice and become involved with the business side of optometry through selling glasses and contact lenses.
Tips for getting into the field
Study hard! Optometry has strict education requirements and the best way to get a head start in this career is to have strong academic results.
How much can graduates earn in Optometry?
Graduate optometrists will start on around £26,000 and this will increase to around £41,000 with experience. Highly experienced and specialised optometrists can earn up to £82,500.

A dispensing optician will begin their career on £18,000 and this will increase to £30,000 with experience. Those who continue to be managers and specialists in their field will earn up to £40,000.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Optometry?
To become an optometrist you must have a degree that is accredited by the General Optical Council (GOC).

After this you must complete a supervised work placement for at least one year, but you’ll be paid.

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 you’re up to date with all the latest optometry developments.
Read more about the Optometry industry
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