Routes Into Optometry
So, you’ve decided that a career in optometry might be for you. But where do you start? One of the great things about this industry is that there are different ways into it.
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START YOUR ROUTE…
You’re going to need to think carefully about your GCSEs and A-Levels – most universities are looking for at least five GCSEs or equivalent at grades A* to C including English, Maths and at least one science subject. Beyond that you’ll also need to do well in your A-Levels – universities will ask you for a minimum of three, including Maths and at least one science subject if you want to study optometry with them. Scottish Higher students will need a minimum of five subjects including science subjects; Irish Leaving Certificate students need six subjects including science subjects.
However if you’re the kind of person who’d like to go straight into the workplace and to start getting some hands-on experience from the off, then an Apprenticeship might be for you. It’s a route into optometry that is really opening things up to people who might not have considered it in the past. As an Apprentice you can either leave school straight after your GCSEs or after your A-Levels, and join Specsavers where you’ll study for your qualifications while you’re still on the job. You can find out more about our Apprenticeship scheme here http://jobs.specsavers.co.uk/explore-careers/optical-apprenticeship.
If you chose to take a university degree in optometry there are plenty of universities that offer great optometry degrees – here’s a few to look at.
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Aston University, Birmingham, The University of Bradford, Cardiff University, Dublin Institute of Technology, City University, London, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Hertfordshire, The University of Manchester, UWE Bristol, Plymouth University, Ulster University
If you take the university route you’ll complete your degree and then have a period of supervised training called the pre-registration scheme. This scheme marks your transition from being a student to a fully qualified optometrist. It takes place in the workplace, with a number of assessments throughout and a final practical examination before you qualify and are able to register with the General Optical Council to practise.
The scheme gives you the chance to practice the skills you learnt at university in a safe, supported environment. We offer an extensive, industry leading scheme to support you throughout the pre-registration period. This includes events, courses and a library of online and written materials.
A number of universities also offer a Masters degree – you can study at Hertfordshire, Portsmouth, Aston or Manchester – where you’ll study on campus as well as working two six-month placements on the job. It’s a great option if you want to keep on studying and specialising at higher level but want to get practical experience too.
YOUR CAREER ON
Optometry is an industry that is always innovating, and if you’re the kind of person that never stops learning and wanting to find out more about how you can improve then you’re going to love working for Specsavers.
Firstly we’re really keen to help our people to study for Higher Qualifications, supporting you when you want to specialise in an area of optometry that really interests you. You could study anything from Contact Lens Practice or Glaucoma to Low Vision. Head to www.college-optometrists.org to find out more.
PATHWAY - our internal partner development programme
Fancy running your own business? One of the great aspects of working for Specsavers is that you’ll get the chance to do just that if you show that you’ve got the potential to lead. Our Pathway programme is a free, six month course that gives you all the skills you need to be a Joint Venture Partner.
The course covers everything from developing a great culture in your store, getting to grips with the finances behind running your own business, and of course leadership. You can find out more about this programme here.
ENHANCED OPTICAL SERVICES
The optometry industry is changing dramatically, as pressures on the NHS mean that there are now more and more opportunities for our business to take on care that would previously have happened in a hospital. This kind of care – which we call Enhanced Optical Services – is really broadening the optometrist’s role.
It means that increasingly you’ll not just diagnose conditions and then pass them on to other health care professionals – instead, you’ll be able to help to treat patients all the way through their journey to resolution. It will make your job more interesting, allow you to make important decisions for your patients and give you more confidence in your own expertise. It means that you’ll be delivering front line health care locally, and really transforming lives in your community.
HOW TO GET STARTED
If you haven’t already visited it, the College of Optometrists’ website is well worth a look. You’ll find lots of information there on qualifying and the opportunities to develop your career – head to www.college-optometrists.org to find out more.
It’s also a really good idea to make contact with your local Specsavers store. Just put your postcode into our store locator and then drop by – our local teams would love to have a chat about the options open to you, and it’s also worth asking them if they have any work experience opportunities available. They may even have some jobs in store which would give you that first step on the ladder with us.
FIND OUT MORE
If you’d like to apply for an Apprenticeship with us, head to http://jobs.specsavers.co.uk/explore-careers/optical-apprenticeship
To browse the jobs we currently have available at Specsavers, come and see us at http://jobs.specsavers.co.uk