Optometrists are very important specialists in the field of eyes and vision. An optometrist examines and treats the patient’s eyes. The main responsibilities of optometrists are to diagnose eye diseases, prescribe correctional lenses, and treat eye injuries. Other responsibilities that you’ll have when you work as a Sydney optometrist include:
- Performing detailed eye exams
- Performing vision tests and interpreting the results
- Diagnosing and treating eye diseases
- Prescribing corrective lenses and helping patients buy them
- Responding to eye-related emergencies
Becoming an optometrist …
If you would like to become an optometrist, you will have to finish special education and complete clinical experience before you can earn a license to start practicing. If you’re reading this you’re most probably interested in becoming an optometrist or are trying to figure out if it’s the right career for you. In this section, we’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to become an optometrist.
- Pursue an education
This is obviously the most important step towards becoming an optometrist. You have to meet all the required educational requirements that include several steps:
- Obtaining a bachelor’s degree, ideally in pre-med or any biology field. In most colleges, that should take about four years to complete and graduate. For some schools, you only require three years of post-secondary education with courses in zoology, chemistry, and physics in place of biology, plus mathematics and English.
- Before applying to an optometry program, you have to pass the Optometry Admission Test. OAT is a computerized exam that tests your knowledge in science, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, and physics. The OAT results should be included in your application.
- After acceptance into a four-year doctoral degree, you’ll study advanced anatomy, physiology, optics, visual science, and how to diagnose and treat eye diseases.
- After the Doctor of Optometry program, you’ll need to pass all sections of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam.
- Lastly, depending on your state, you might be required to pass an additional clinical exam or an exam on the law.
- Gain experience
To gain experience in this field, you need to work under the supervision of a licensed optometrist. Most aspiring optometrists volunteer in optometry offices. Here they assist practitioners in office activities as they observe patient care.
Volunteering gives you an up-close feel of the duties you’ll have to handle when you start practicing fully. It’s also very important in deciding whether or not that is the career path you want to take.
- Get licensed
Once you become licensed to practice, it means that you can legally work in whatever state that you’re employed in.
Keep in mind that the license needs to be renewed regularly according to your state laws and regulations. Most times, you might be required to further your education before renewing your license to keep it up to date.
- Consider certifications
Certifications go a long way in improving your job prospects. Additionally, seeking certifications from the American Board of Optometry is great for anyone wishing to pursue advanced knowledge of optometry.
Most certification processes require you to take and pass an examination that is on offer twice every year. This means that if you miss the exam during the first period you can wait and take it later on when it is being offered.
- Apply for jobs
After you have satisfactorily passed all educational tests and met all licensure requirements, you are free to apply for optometry jobs that are open. If you don’t know where to start, you can look online to see any vacancies that are advertised. You could also ask for referrals from other optometrists who are already practicing.
Jot down a well-written CV that includes all your educational and work-related achievements, not forgetting your background as well as your current skill set. If you can, request your former professors or supervisors to craft a letter of recommendation for you.
The journey to becoming an optometrist is rather straightforward. Once you’ve completed your degree, it’s advisable that you get advanced training on top of your extra experience. This positions you ahead of others when it’s time to find employment. If you don’t want to get employed and are considering private practice, it strengthens your skills.If you’re an optometrist, you will work alongside optometry nurses and administration staff.