Is Optometry a good career? Is Optometry a hard degree?
What are your present responsibilities?
In a bustling city center practice, I presently operate as a senior optician. My job includes evaluating all of my clients’ wellness and eyesight, as well as dispensing contact lenses as needed.
What path did you take to reach this position in your professional life?
Optometry is a very demanding field, with most colleges requiring a minimum of three B grades. You will probably require even better grades to get into top institutions like Manchester and Cardiff.
I began my three-year Optometry degree at UMIST after finishing my A levels (now Manchester University). The program is rather demanding, and your grades in each year are factored into your final grade.
Following your graduation, you will begin your Pre-registration (Pre-Reg) year, during which you will study under the guidance of a competent optometrist. The goal for this year is to apply what you have learned at college into effect in the real market.’ Supervisors will test you during the year to ensure that you are meeting the needed criteria, and at the conclusion of each year, you may take your Professional Qualifying Exams (PQE). After passing these, you can begin looking for employment.
Whenever you first begin practicing, you will see clients each half an hour, but as you gain expertise, you will see them every 20 minutes. You will also develop your contact lens abilities to the level where you will be able to do all specialties flawlessly according to the needs of the client.
What are the peaks and bad times of the work? In other words, what are the plausible highs and lows that the job entails?
- When opposed to many other occupations, the graduate entrance wage is rather substantial. Based on where you live, you may begin with as little as £30,000, which is quite appealing. Following ten years of practice, many opticians would make close to £50,000 due to increasing expertise and testing efficiency. It is vital to note that salaries in saturated regions are lower, especially in Northern Ireland.
- Dealing with the wider populace: While this might be aggravating at times, it does ensure that no two days are the same. Operating in places with differing socio-economic characteristics will also reveal a significant disparity.
- Opticians normally operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rarely long evenings or conferences. An additional plus is that you are highly unlikely to perform any ‘work-related chores at home.
- There are no current exams: As opposed to certain other professions like medicine, among the most tempting aspects of optometry is that after you qualify, your learning hours are practically over!
- Assisting somebody to see for the very first moment or discovering an illness that saves somebody from becoming blind are only two of the causes why the job may be highly rewarding at times.
- Foreseeable: After a few years of experience, your day-to-day job gets quite easy to predict since you are unlikely to find any challenges that are difficult to address. On hectic days, it may feel as if you are simply bringing in one person after the next, which may be exhausting. In this way, it might end up becoming quite monotonous after a while.
- Poor top income: While opticians start off well, the top salary you can expect to earn is around £50,000. While this is quite fair pay, it pales in comparison to what dentists and doctors will earn over the course of their lives. Thus, there is not a lot of motivation to keep going when you see that dentists and other doctors are earning more than you have been.
- Career growth: In Optometry, there is not much professional advancement, so what you are doing on the first day is not anything that distinct from what you will be doing in ten years. It is pretty much the same with not a lot of additional or new things. Therefore, there is close to little career growth, which might become dull very fast.
- Working Saturdays: Optometry is a health profession that also works in the retail industry. As a result, Saturdays are the crowded days of the week, and you will virtually probably be required to cover them. This is an additional downside to selecting this as a career.
- Litigious career: Optometry, like all healthcare occupations, is now growing increasingly litigious, emphasizing the significance of good behavior and maintaining records. Healthcare indemnity insurance is necessary for all opticians, which is normally supplied by the AOP.
What about temperament, hobbies, and mindset?
You must be prepared to handle the stress associated with maintaining a full clinic schedule.
You must operate quickly since sticking to a 20-minute clinic is difficult. Furthermore, your clients mustn’t believe you are hurrying them, as this will undoubtedly end in a grievance!
You must have a pleasant bedside style and excellent interpersonal abilities. People entrust you with their eyesight and confide in you about their private lives.
Because the industry is always changing, you must be adaptive and adaptable to the discussion. This is particularly crucial if you want to work as a locum optician because the technology may differ from clinic to clinic. Therefore, you have to have an open mind and know how to adjust to new situations and environments.
You will have to be sensitive and empathic at moments since you will have to break unfortunate news to clients who may well have impaired their eyesight permanently.
What advice would you provide to somebody thinking about pursuing a similar professional path?
Handle your clients the way you want to be handled, and keep in mind that you are only one gear in the wheel. You should also thank your clinical personnel for their assistance and cooperation.
Never think of oneself as superior to your coworkers since this can lead to animosity and a negative work environment. And it can become very difficult if there exists any sort of hostility among the different workers and make the functioning of the world increasingly tough.
Recognize that optometry can be mundane sometimes, but this will enable you to maintain a full and undisturbed personal life.
Is there anything beyond optometry?
Individuals have to understand that the grass is not always greener on the other side. The qualities you did not enjoy about your work, such as the monotony and absence of advancement opportunities, are frequently the qualities you value when you quit!
Because I operate my own online company in addition to my Optometry practice, I often lament the fact that I have to work from home and at odd hours!
If you are thinking about a job outside of optometry, you will likely gain solid interpersonal, organizational, and management abilities while working in practice. These are all skills that will help you succeed in other fields.
I wish individuals who will begin a career in optometry a long and prosperous career.