Optometrists test vision, identify eye health problems, prescribe glasses and fit contact lenses.
Salary range: £26,000 to £61,000
How to become an optometrist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
You’ll need to get a degree in optometry, approved by the General Optical Council (GOC).
You’ll also complete a one-year pre-registration paid and supervised work placement, with a registered optometrist, and pass the GOC final assessment to qualify.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
If you’re working as a dispensing optician, you could retrain in optometry.
You’ll need to complete an approved optometry degree and pre-registration year.
Volunteering and experience
You’ll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting before you apply for a course.
You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.
- you’ll need to be registered with the General Optical Council
You can find out more about working in optometry from:
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of medicine and dentistry
- customer service skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- knowledge of biology
- sensitivity and understanding
- analytical thinking skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- using a range of precision instruments
- using vision measuring and testing tools
- diagnosing and giving advice
- prescribing, fitting and supplying glasses or contact lenses
- discuss the suitability and shape of glasses frames
- referring clients to specialists or ophthalmologists (eye surgeons)
You could work at a store, in an NHS or private hospital, at a GP practice or in a laboratory.
Career path and progression
You could specialise in an area like paediatrics (working with children), contact lenses, sports vision or low vision.
You could study for an MSc in optometry or train further in contact lens practice, therapeutics (prescribing drugs for certain eye problems) or specific conditions like diabetes and glaucoma.