Last weekend the Locate a Locate team visited 100% Optical at London ExCel. The event showcases exhibitors from all sections of the optometry market and it also invites opticians from all over the UK and Ireland to attend. 100% Optical is one of the largest events of its kind making it an ideal place to gain knowledge and accreditations, foster relations and network, and learn firsthand of the many advancements within the field.
As LaL’s content marketer, I attended panel discussions throughout the weekend held by industry experts. On Sunday, the first discussion focused on career pathways within optometry and was hosted by Karmelo Modina from Out of the Box Optics. I’ve put together some of the advice and guidance from Karmelo’s presentation that outlines opportunities available to both newly registered opticians and those looking to change pathways.
Postgraduate academic research
Qualities that are often associated with pursuing a career in research include perseverance, patience, and dedication. It shouldn’t be difficult to put these qualities into practice if the study you are involved with is something that you’re fully invested in. Karmelo likened individuals interested in this pathway to scientists disguised as opticians. It’s important to note that research is a long-term commitment and whilst that can be challenging and demanding, it can also be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.
Undergraduate clinic supervision
If you have a passion for teaching and mentoring others, clinical supervision may be the career pathway for you. This type of role involves patience, creativity, and knowledge. Gaining as much experience as possible in this role is vital as it gives you access to learning your leadership and teaching style. It also allows you to build your knowledge and skills to ensure you provide the best possible education and experience for your students. If you contact your university, ask if they have any available opportunities for you to support the department and students.
To pursue a career as a locum optician you instantly open up so many opportunities for yourself. Given the nature of the work, this pathway is ideal for those who enjoy meeting new people, travelling to different locations, and dealing with new challenges daily. It’s important to note the practicalities required for individuals who do locum i.e.your self-employed status. Whilst this gives greater independence, it also means you must be organised in terms of your record-keeping, updating your essential documents, and punctuality. This pathway is suitable for both newly registered opticians and those seeking a change of pace later in their careers. If you're interested in finding out more more about the available shifts Locate a Locum has to offer get in contact here.
Working as a hospital optician you are presented daily with new challenges, complex patient cases, and wider team collaboration. This role requires you to be clinically minded, it is also essential you commit to life-long learning to equip yourself with both knowledge and confidence to practice. If this is the route you are hoping to pursue it is recommended that you reach out and ask to shadow hospital clinics to gain experience and wider learnings.
Outreach clinic volunteering
Often many opticians aim to use their skills and knowledge to help those in need. The communities that need aid and assistance may be local initiatives and/or global humanitarian crises. These roles involve a lot of emotional regulation as you may be working in unsettling and potentially dangerous environments. However, these opportunities to provide medical aid to those in the most challenging of circumstances are also extremely rewarding both personally and clinically as you will be developing skills and dealing with unique patient requirements.
As a newcomer to the optometry market, it was incredible to see how the pandemic did not deter the industry’s innovation, dedication to patient care, and wider fundraising initiatives. As Karmelo outlined career paths it was clear that it did not matter if you were at the beginning of your career or if you were seeking to change routes, the optical market has a pathway for all individuals’ interests and passions.