How to become a Optometrist

Optometrists perform eye examinations to determine the presence of vision problems and other eye conditions and disease. They treat or manage these problems by prescribing glasses, contact lenses, optical aids, vision therapy, medication (in the form of eye drops) or referral to an eye surgeon when required.

Personal requirements of a Optometrist

  • Patient and caring manner
  • Able to carry out accurate and precise work
  • Good communication skills
  • Enjoy helping people

Education & Training for a Optometrist

To become an optometrist you usually have to study optometry at university. Alternatively, you can complete a degree in vision science or a relevant area at university, followed by a postgraduate qualification in optometry. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. You may also be required to sit the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT). Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Optometrist


  • determine the nature and extent of vision and eye problems and disease by examining patients' eyes using specialised instruments, techniques and tests
  • correct vision defects by prescribing and dispensing glasses or contact lenses, special optical aids or vision therapy
  • examine patients for signs of eye disease and systemic conditions, including glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis, and work with medical practitioners and eye surgeons to co-manage patients when required
  • manage some eye conditions by prescribing ocular therapeutic drugs
  • monitor patients' vision and ocular health with the use of imaging techniques such as digital retinal photography and computerised vision tests
  • conduct eye screening and testing for the purposes of determining occupational fitness or fitness to drive
  • undertake managerial, retail and administrative tasks.

Working conditions for a Optometrist

Most optometrists are in daily contact with members of the public on a one-on-one basis.

Employment Opportunities for a Optometrist

Most graduates enter private practice on completion of their course. Some graduates choose to embark on non-clinical careers that make use of their skills as visual scientists. Most non-clinical positions are in universities and research organisations or with companies involved in the manufacture of optical instruments and lenses. As optometry becomes more diversified, there are increasing opportunities for specialisation in areas such as ocular disease, sports vision, children's vision and industrial vision practices.

Future growth:


Employment by state:


NSW NSW 36.7%

NT NT 0.4%

QLD QLD 42.7%

SA SA 4.7%

TAS TAS 0.5%


WA WA 8%

Hours worked:



Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 34.1%

Female 65.9%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 5.4%

25-34 - 27%

35-44 - 36.9%

45-54 - 7.4%

55-59 - 9.3%

60-64 - 4.7%

65 and Over - 9.3%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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