How to become an optometrist

Most optometrists complete a BSc in Optometry, and then develop their practical skills through a year of assessed clinical training in practice, called the Scheme for Registration. From September 2023, many universities are offering a four-year integrated Master's, which includes clinical learning in practice within the degree. Optometry students must be registered with the General Optical Council (GOC). Once they complete all the required degree and placement assessments, they then register with the GOC as a qualified optometrist in order to practise. 

All optometrists are required to complete continual professional development to maintain registration with the GOC. Many will study for further qualifications so that they can work in specialised areas.

Subjects required for optometry

Most universities will ask for a combination of two or more of the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics.

Required grades for optometry undergraduate degrees

Grade requirements vary across universities, but typical offer levels are: 1

  • A Levels: AAB
  • Scottish Highers: AABBB

How much do optometrists earn?

Optometrists in the UK can expect an average starting salary of around £35,000 per year. The average top end of earnings for an experienced optometrist is £69,000 per year.2 A locum optometrist's salary can vary quite widely, but the average is £68,363 per year.3

Universities offering courses in optometry

Career pathways in optometry

There are a range of career options available to qualified optometrists, including working in a hospital clinic, carrying out essential research, and more.