How to become an optometrist
Discover the path to a sought-after career as an optometrist.
Discover the path to a sought-after career as an optometrist.
Working in optometry is a rewarding, sought-after profession that can have a positive impact on the lives of many. As one of the world’s highest-ranking optometry schools, the UNSW School of Optometry & Vision Science is the ideal environment to find your place and empower yourself for your future career in the industry.
Optometrists are highly skilled professionals who diagnose vision problems, eye diseases, eye conditions and other eye health issues. These much-needed health professionals correct poor vision and manage or slow degenerative eye diseases with corrective lenses, eye examinations, optical aids, therapy or medication.
Optometry is one of the founding disciplines of UNSW, and our renowned teaching and research achievements span over 50 years. UNSW School of Optometry & Vision Science is one of the largest optometry and vision science schools in Australasia and the only optometry school in NSW. We’re also the #2 ranked institution worldwide for optometry and the top institution worldwide for contact lens research. So when it comes to being at the forefront of research and education, you’ll be in the right place.
We’re preparing the next generation of optometrists and researchers like you for the jobs of tomorrow. As a UNSW Optometry and Vision Science student, you’ll gain superior clinical skills and a deep understanding of the vision science required to have total confidence in your clinical practice.
We offer multiple courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Our double degree Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry allows students to graduate fully qualified for registration to practice in Australia, New Zealand and other registration boards in Asia where our registration is recognised. Your qualification is also recognised in many other countries across the globe, making international work a real possibility for you.
Find your place at UNSW and be empowered to join the forefront of science education, innovation and research in this exciting area. You’ll be fully prepared for an impactful career in the ever-changing profession of vision care.
UNSW's School of Optometry and Vision Science is renowned for its partnerships within the ophthalmic industry and healthcare sector. Bring your learning to life and make a difference with translational research that significantly improves ocular health.
Plus, you’ll reap the benefits of even more practical experience in the UNSW Optometry Clinic. This renowned on-campus clinic is open to the public. It uses state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to give the best in-patient eye health management.
The UNSW Optometry Clinic operates several internal clinics. These clinics work in conjunction with external placements, offering students the opportunity to gain practical experience in many aspects of optometric and eye care. These topics include rural and remote optometry, paediatrics, ocular emergencies, contact lenses and myopia progression control.
At UNSW, we offer a combined Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry. You’ll complete your full-time studies with the specialist skills required to practice as an optometrist in only 5 years.
This degree includes a:
In your Vision Science study, you’ll learn about the optics of lenses and instruments, the anatomy and physiology of the eye, eye diseases and the psychophysics of vision and neuroscience.
In your Optometry studies, you’ll gain competencies and clinical expertise in communication skills, diagnosing and managing ocular disease, dispensing spectacles and contact lenses, caring for those with special needs, sports vision and vision in the workplace.
You’ll also learn about research design, experimental methods and techniques you can apply in the workplace. You’ll gain broad experience in optometric eye care and training in working and communicating with patients and other health care practitioners.
About entry requirements
If you don’t meet the entry requirements for our combined program, you can complete a 3-year Bachelor of Vision Science and may be eligible to apply for entry into the Master of Clinical Optometry. Admission into the Masters of Clinical Optometry will be a competitive process that is based on academic performance and is only open to students who have completed UNSW’s Bachelor of Vision Science.
After completing our Master of Clinical Optometry, you’ll need to register with the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) and earn your licence to legally practice as an optometrist. Alternatively, you can register with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) and the Medicare service providers.
Interested in working internationally? UNSW’s Optometry degree is also recognised by the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB) New Zealand and other registration boards throughout Asia.
By maintaining your registration with the Board, you’ll ensure you’re meeting the required standard of practice to provide the best level of patient care. This shows that you are adequately trained, qualified and safe to practice — with public safety being a high priority of the board.
Become qualified in optometry and vision science, and you’ll be highly employable. With our growing ageing populations, demand for qualified optometrists remains steady in Australia and globally. According to the National Skills Commission, the demand for Optometrists and Orthoptists is expected to grow 15.2% by 2026.
As an optometrist, you can enter private practice on your own, partner with a colleague or as an employee in an established practice. You can also choose from various specialisations in clinical optometry, including paediatrics, contact lenses, occupational optometry, public health optometry, co-management (shared care), low vision, sports vision, vision training and binocular vision.
Global and remote opportunities
2.2 billion people experience vision impairment or blindness across the globe. But, access to proper eye care can improve many of these debilitating cases. Consequently, there are numerous opportunities for qualified optometrists to join programs and organisations that offer care to remote and Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander populations on a short or long-term basis.
The Bachelor of Vision Science will prepare you to work in the eye health sector, including clinical settings, health promotion in government and non-government organisations, laboratory-based eye research and the ophthalmic industry.
You can work in various optics, vision science and ophthalmology research laboratories that develop drugs, imaging technology and vision correction devices such as contact lenses, spectacles and ocular implants.
Public sector optometry jobs
Exciting career opportunities are also available in the government sector, particularly in teaching and defence technology (e.g., lasers and optical equipment). You could also make an impact by contributing to developing health and occupational policy regarding the importance of vision to quality of life in the workplace
Join an inclusive, collaborative community that's leading the future of health. Click below to get started and learn about applying for our Bachelor of Vision Science / Master of Clinical Optometry program.
If you have any questions about studying at UNSW or how you can make your studies work for you, contact us below. We’re here to help.