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How to become an optometrist in Australia: careers in health

Optometrists are generally the first point of contact for people experiencing vision or eye concerns, performing eye examinations to assess problems and determine the appropriate treatment options. They work in retail settings, private practices and hospitals. To become an optometrist in Australia, you will need an appropriate tertiary qualification in optometry at either an undergraduate or postgraduate level.
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Pathways

Being an optometrist: daily duties

Optometrists perform eye examinations to identify issues and conditions and prescribe treatments to address these problems. This might include prescribing eye glasses, vision therapy, a range of optical aids, medicated eye drops or referral to specialists in serious cases. Many optometrists work in retail settings and also have a sales role. Optometrists must keep accurate records of patients’ prescriptions and treatments.

Tasks:

  • Perform eye examinations and diagnoses
  • Prescribe treatments
  • Refer serious cases to specialists
  • Provide pre ad post operative care
  • Maintain client records
Skills

Being an optometrist: skills for success

A thorough understanding of eye conditions and treatment options is necessary to become an optometrist. The ability to work well with other people from a diverse range of backgrounds and good communication skills are also necessary, as well as a caring manner. A high level of attention to detail and the ability to work precisely is critical to success in this field. Optometrists also need to have well-developed analytical and problem solving skills.
Skills/attributes
  • An understanding of vision, eye conditions and treatment
  • Good people skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Detail oriented and precise
  • Problem solving abilities
Specs

Specialised roles within health

Optometry is already a very specialised field of work and there are not a lot of further specialisations available. However many optometrists move into full-time sales positions while others move into management roles or become owners of their own practices.
  • Sales
    Because optometrists often work in retail settings, over time many decide they prefer the sales aspect of the business. Sales specialists have expertise in different brands and styles of glasses and optical aids and advise their clients on the best solutions to their needs.
  • Private practice
    In addition to the day-to-day tasks of an optometrist, managers and owners of private practices are responsible for managing staff and budgets, administrative tasks and training and development.
Pathways

Educational pathways for optometrists

An optometry degree – either at undergraduate or postgraduate level – is essential to work as an optometrist in Australia.
  • Start your career
    A vocational qualification in allied health is a great stepping stone in your career.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Build your customer service and sales skills with a targeted vocational course.
  • Build your resume
    Take your career to the next level with a business management course that will allow you to move into management.
  • Industry requirements
    To practise as an optometrist in Australia, you must be registered with the Optometry Board of Australia.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your health career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    There is strong growth predicted in this field over the next few years, and optometrists are generally paid very well. However this is a small field and in some locations job opportunities are limited.

Resources for Optometrists

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