How to become an optometrist

What is an Optometrist?

As an optometrist, you are the go-to person for almost any and all eye problems. You’ll need to answer questions and assist customers with contact lenses and purchasing new glasses. There is a deep level of experience and knowledge required. Areas in which optometrists practice extend from retail stores in outlet malls to private and public clinics and hospitals, and having to understand and operate in such intricate and complex health situations means that in Australia you will be required to have graduated a relevant medical or optometry course.

What does an optometrist do?

Some of the main workloads optometrists undertake include; prescribing treatments, recognising and preventing ongoing eye problems, prescribing corrective lenses, eye therapies, eye drops and more.

As optometrists often work in both medical and retail settings at the same time, there is a level of experience and an understanding of retail required. Selling, promoting or answering questions about certain frames, glasses cleaners and other optical equipment is often a daily activity undertaken by optometrists.

There is also the administration and data side to optometry, where you will be required to accurately analyse, recognise and store customer information based on their treatments, purchases and ongoing recoveries. Therefore an understanding and ability to learn how to store data and files is required. This is done for health and insurance purposes.

Task Outline

Conduct Eye Tests

Prescribe Medications & Treatments

Relay Information to Specialists

Provide Recovery outlines for patients after surgery

Store, organise and maintain client documents

What are the educational requirements?

As optometry requires a deep understanding of countless medical conditions, anatomy of the eye and an understanding of medicines there is an underlying requirement for all optometrists to ave a degree in their field. A graduate degree is also required for those who wish to become specialist optometrists.

One of the primary skills required of optometrists is the ability to solve problems or create outlines for customers to follow in order to solve problems with their vision or underlying conditions. These analytical skills are taught and rehearsed throughout degrees and are one of the main reasons a university degree is required for optometrists. Attention to detail and numerically accuracy is entirely paramount in optometry also, due to vision correction resting on numerical data.

Skills Required

A deep understanding of eye conditions

Good social skills

Precision work ethic

Analytical problem solving abilities

Strong communications skills

Courses required include:

Bachelor of Vision

Mastery of Optometry

Employment and outlook

Once the required graduate degrees have been awarded, a certified optometrist can then begin work in a private company, public health places like clinics and hospitals or begin their own practice.

Major companies within Australia such as OPSM, Specsavers and The Optical Superstore all reach out to optometrists to work in their retail stores in malls and other shopping districts. The main duties of an optometrist besides conducting eye exams and assisting with sight is selling glasses, organising appointments and going over store sales and inventory data.

There are current projections of strong future growth for optometrists and SEEK reveals that the average annual earnings for an optometrist exceed $84,000 and can reach over $110,000 annually.

For more information on working in the optometry and eye care industries take a look at the links below.

Optometry Australia

Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand

Optometry Board of Australia

Career Outcomes Include

Clinical Optometry

Corporate Optometry (OSPM, Specsavers, etc)

Educational Optometry

Hospital Optometry

Military Optometry

Start your career

To set yourself on the right path to becoming an optometrist, first, do your research and determine if optometry sounds like something you will enjoy and be good at.

You’ll need to apply and enrol in a relevant and required course like a Bachelor of Vision before you can become an optometrist, so put that at the top of your to-do list.

Once you complete your course, you can then begin your search for a job opening in your most preferred optometry field, either; clinical, corporate, educational or military.

When you’ve been working in the field for a while, you can move up the ladder by doing a masters degree or additional short courses to build your skills and open yourself up to more job opportunities.

You can find more information on courses, applying for job openings and writing cover letters for employment in optometry on our website.


Bio: Emily is a senior content writer with She is a recent University graduate and enjoys writing about educational and career orientated topics.