15 months after graduating
of our optometry graduates are in work or further study
96% of our optometry graduates agree that their current activity is meaningful
of our optometry graduates said their degree was a formal requirement or gave them an advantage*
Studying Optometry at the University of Plymouth will open a long-term, successful career for you. Graduates tend go on to become fully qualified and practising optometrists. Achieving this will require you to complete a supervised period of “pre-registration” employment after graduating (usually a year in length) in conjunction with the College of Optometrists. This period will include further training and work-based learning, combined with assessments and a final formal exam. Completion of this will then allow you to register with the General Optical Council (GOC), allowing you to practice as a professional in your own right.
Many optometrists work in a corporate/high street setting undertaking eye examinations, providing relevant advice to patients/clients and prescribe spectacles/contact lenses accordingly. Optometrists also find themselves working for the NHS in hospital environments alongside ophthalmologists and orthoptists, providing specialist support for an array of eye conditions. Alternatively, a role as a domiciliary optometrist suits many, allowing them to get out and support those who cannot reach an examination room to receive sound eye health care. Companies offering laser refractive surgery also employ optometrists for consultation and follow ups, before and after these operations respectively.
Continuing Personal Development (CPD) is a requirement for many optometrists, to make sure they keep their practice up to date. Many go on to also run their own business or manage the retail aspects and/or develop areas of the practice they work for. Some also take their skills and qualifications to work in other parts of the world. Within the NHS, it is possible to work your way up to become a consultant optometrist.
With so much still to learn about the eyes, and detecting and treating eye conditions, some graduates of optometry and/or qualified optometrists go on to become researchers and have careers in academia, or working for lens and ophthalmic instrument manufacturers.
Since specific career paths may be less obvious it is important to use your research skills to explore the range of opportunities and to consider your personal interests, motivations, values, and strengths. Also, do not forget that some employers will accept applications from graduates with a degree in any subject.
On completing your degree...
You'll need to complete your degree with a 2:2 to move onto your pre-registration year as a trainee optometrist. You'll need to successfully complete your pre-registration year, which is organised through the College of Optometrists, to be able to register as a practising optometrist with the General Optical Council (GOC).
Throughout this course, you must be registered with the General Optical Council and follow their standards. Without registration or if your registration lapses, you will not be able to carry out any practical work, and your assessments may not count towards your final award. This may therefore prevent your progression.
We'll support you with acquiring a your pre-registration position.
You will only be able to progress to the pre-registration year having met both the academic and professional (competency and patient experience) requirements:
Researching your career options
- Sufficient academic credits have been attained
- The required amount and type of patient experience has been obtained
- The required GOC core competencies have been achieved
- A 2:2 classification has been attained
- You have maintained registration with the GOC for the duration of your studies
Given the diversity of career options open to optometry graduates, it is important to research and explore these fully so that you can make informed decisions about your future.
Take a look at Prospects, TargetJobs and the following websites for inspiration:
Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth Optometry graduates told us they were doing 15 months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to other roles by providing relevant workplace experience.
- Business Manager
- Pre-Registration Optometrist
- Registered Optometrist
- Trainee Optician (Pre-Registration)
- Boots Opticians
- Dunstone Optometry
- Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Orriss Optometrists
- Robert Frost Optometrists
- Specsavers Opticians
- Vision Express
*Data is from the Graduate Outcomes Surveys of 2017/18 and 2018/19. Graduates were surveyed 15 months after graduating. Data displayed is for 28 UK-domiciled, first degree, full-time graduates who are working, studying or looking for work.