How do I qualify to be an optometrist?
To enter the optometry profession in the UK, you will need to undergo a rigorous programme of training accredited by the General Optical Council (GOC) in the following format:
- Gain a degree in optometry from a university approved by the GOC. Our BSc (Hons) Optometry degree course recently received GOC approval for a further five years: the maximum possible period of time.
The GOC require students to achieve a minimum of a lower second class (2:2) degree classification and a certificate of clinical competence, before going on to further training.
- Complete a clinical pre-registration training period, lasting around one year, working under the supervision of a qualified optometrist.
- Pass the Professional Qualifying Examination (PQE) which involves practical, oral and written assessment of your ability to manage patients and to practise safely as an optometrist. The PQE and pre-registration year are administered by the College of Optometrists.
- To maintain your registration as an optometrist, you will need to undertake continuing professional development throughout your career. This ensures that optometrists remain up to date in this rapidly developing field, enabling them to provide patients with the best possible care. This requirement is likely to be modified in the near future, with a move towards revalidation, a mechanism requiring health professionals to demonstrate, at regular intervals, that they remain both up-to-date with regulator's standards, and are fit to practise.