Genevieve Quilty, CEO Optometry Australia
Q: Do I need a LinkedIn?
A: I say: yes. LinkedIn provides a useful, convenient way for some employers to assess your employment history. We recommend posting a short employment history relevant to the job you are looking for. Keep it short and to the point and let your CV do the rest of the talking for you.
Q: How soon after graduation should I or can I become a locum?
A: You can take up work as a locum as soon as you are registered with the Optometry Board of Australia. If you are going to do this soon after graduating, you should think about how you will seek support for tricky clinical questions, as you might not be working with another colleague. Optometry Australia has a Mentoring Program and we can assist you to find a mentor to support you.
Q: How do I actually get a job?
A: For most graduates, landing a job is a process. The best way to start this process is to arm yourself with knowledge. I advise all final-year students and new graduates to take advantage of the employment Expos hosted by the Optometry Australia State Divisions.
The Expos are an excellent place to seek general and specific advice on a range of matters, and to speak with potential employers from around Australia.
Job openings are posted in the Classifieds section of the national and state Optometry Australia websites.
Q: Should I get a lawyer for reviewing the job contracts?
A: State Division offices can assist you with reviewing your job contract and give you some top tips. Here’s useful information on Employment Contracts.
Q: After I complete my studies, how long does it take until I am a practising optometrist?
A: Most students and graduates have questions about the waiting times for registration, time to start work, duration of contracts and so on.
Registration with the Optometry Board of Australia can take up to 10 days for graduate applications, so as soon as you graduate start the process. Visit the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to learn more about the stages of the registration process.
Remember, once you have been registered, you will need to complete an HW019 application for an initial Medicare provider number for a medical practitioner form, which you can find on the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services page.
Q: What is the registration cost?
A: Registration with the Optometry Board of Australia is reviewed annually. As at 9 September 2014, the application fee for general registration is $200. A full list of fees can be found here.
Q: Is there any support available for students offered a job which requires them to relocate? Is it the responsibility of the practice or the new graduate?
A: Support for moving interstate for jobs is, by and large, a matter for your prospective employer. There are currently no government sponsored payments for relocating optometry graduates.
Q: How do I get a job overseas—besides New Zealand? Do I have to work for a certain length of time in Australia?
A: You need to ensure that your current qualification allows you to work overseas. While Australian optometry qualifications are recognised in New Zealand, this is not the case for all overseas jurisdictions. You can contact your State Division office to ask them to link you up with our overseas counterpart. Remember, you may also need to invest in professional indemnity insurance too, so factor that into the equation as you do your sums.
Q: What happens if I am interested in doing post-graduate study?
A: Contact your current university or any of the others offering optometry studies. Each of the five university faculties would be happy to talk to you. If you wish to work part-time while you undertake your studies, you can register with the Optometry Board of Australia as a part-time optometrist.
Each State Division of Optometry Australia offers part-time membership rates inclusive of professional indemnity insurance.
Q: What are my CPD requirements?
A: Practising optometrists must complete a minimum of 80 points of CPD over two registration periods. A registration period runs from 1 December to 30 November the following year.
The Optometry Board of Australia has developed the Guidelines for continuing professional development for endorsed and non-endorsed optometrists. To download the PDF, visit the Key Documents page of the OBA website.
Q: What should I expect in the first year after university?
A: Every graduate’s journey is different. Most feel that they could use professional support from someone who has followed this career path before them.
Optometry Australia has established a National Mentoring Program that allows new graduates to develop mentoring relationships with optometrists who can draw upon their own experience to provide valuable professional and clinical guidance.
Participation in the Mentoring Program is free for Optometry Australia members. For more information on the program, visit this page.
Download the Mentoring Program sign up form.
Q: Why should I become a member of Optometry Australia?
A: This is my favourite question to answer. Optometry Australia has been representing optometrists since 1918. Our goal over the years has not changed: to lead, engage and promote the profession of optometry.
As a member, you have access to confidential, clinical and professional advice; network and career-advancing opportunities at the State Division optometry conferences and CPD programs; and the best whole-of-career professional indemnity insurance available.
I urge all graduating students to engage with those at the state or national level of Optometry Australia to learn more.
Optometry New South Wales/ACT
Optometry South Australia
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