Frequently asked questions

What is an optometrist? Is optometry the right career for me? Where can I study? If you have questions about a career in optometry - we have the answers!

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Is optometry the right career for me?

To enjoy and be successful in optometry, you’ll need a mix of specific technical and professional knowledge and skills.

You'll need to understand how scientific theory and methods can be applied in practice - so maths and science are probably your favourite subjects .  You'll need good grades in these in your GCSEs/Intermediate exams and A levels/Highers or Welsh or International Baccalaureate

You'll also need to enjoy learning, as there are always new ideas, regulations and research findings arising in the world of optometry. All registered optometrists are required to keep their knowledge and skills up to date by obtaining a set number of CET (continuing education and training) points each year by reading papers, interacting with others and attending workshops and presentations. 

Personality-wise, you are probably someone who is quite precise and well-organised, pays attention to detail and can keep accurate, up-to-date records. You will also enjoy meeting new people of all ages and from all backgrounds, and are a good communicator who can put people at their ease and really listen to what they are saying (and not saying!) 

More than anything, you'll need to be interested in eyes an vision. Take a look at our public information site - lookafteryoureyes.org - to find out more about sight, common eye conditions and, of course, how to look after your eyes

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What kind of salary and career opportunities can I expect?

A newly qualified optometrist will earn around £25,000 - although this will vary from region to region. There are exciting opportunities for those working in high street optometrists who may wish to manage a branch of a national chain, or even own their own practice. There are excellent career paths for those working in clinical roles or in research in the public or private sector.  You may decide that you want to specialise in a certain area such as contact lens practice or move into the academic world, perhaps as a tutor or lecturer. 

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How do I become an optometrist?

You must successfully complete a degree in optometry followed by a period of supervised training in the workplace, with a number of work-based assessments and a final practical examination.

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Where can I study?

You can study optometry in one of ten universities across the UK. They are:

Most universities hold open days, usually in the spring, where you can find out more about the course and student life. Check the websites for the latest information.

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Which A Levels/Highers/Baccalaureate do I need?

Entry requirements vary from institution to institution but you will usually need to gain high grades (typically As) in three A levels or in your Highers or Baccalaureate, with at least two science subjects. Check with the universities for their exact requirements.  

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You can also take a look at our careers leaflet, which is packed full of information and advice:

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