You might never know the importance of optometrists until you or someone you know has eye problems. People who depend on eyeglasses and contact lenses to see everything go to their optometrists to update their prescription lenses, and often use other methods such as switching to contact lenses whenever necessary.
Optometrists are different from ophthalmologists. Optometrists create and prescribe the proper eyeglasses and contact lenses for people who have blurry vision, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
If you are someone who has worn eyeglasses to improve your vision for most of your life, you would understand this. They correct people’s vision to the level that they are comfortable with. Without them, so many people would struggle with their vision and optometrists can improve their quality of life without the immediate need of surgeries or other invasive operations.
Here is everything you must know about becoming an optometrist in Canada.
Educational Requirements for Optometrists in Canada
Those who wish to become optometrists working in Canada must have at least three years of university undergraduate studies in mathematics or sciences. They must also have completed a four-year university program in optometry at a university accredited by the Canadian Association of Optometrists. The three years spent studying for an undergraduate Bachelor of Science must have a minimum overall average of 75% or a B.
Optometry students must complete prerequisite courses. These courses include ethics, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, statistics, calculus, English, ethics, and psychology, constituting 0.5 credits each. Courses such as physiology and biology have 1.0 credits each, and physics has 1.0 credits too with laboratory requirements.
There are only two universities in Canada where students can study optometry. These are the University of Waterloo and the Universite de Montreal for French-speaking students. Alternatively, they can also study in American schools recognized in Canada by the Canadian Association of Optometrists.
Licensing and Other Professional Requirements
As common with other medical industry professions, optometrists are classified as regulated professions in Canada across all provinces and territories. You must be registered at the regulatory authority from your province or territory where you will practise as an optometrist.
It is also required to have a license because you won’t be able to use the title “optometrist” and offer consultations and services to clients if you are not registered or licensed.
Skills, Knowledge, and Other Requirements
Optometrists are required to have the proper skill sets, knowledge, and other essential requirements to practice their trade successfully in Canada.
They need to examine their patients’ eyes and conduct tests to determine the visual efficiency of their patients, use specialized instruments to do the job, and prescribe the proper treatment a patient needs to conserve, correct, and improve their vision.
They must also prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses for their clients and advise them on using them correctly. Lastly, they should also talk about visual hygiene, lighting arrangements, and working distances to take care of their eyes even more.
Optometrists should also be highly knowledgeable in business administration, client service, medicine, therapy, and counselling.
Optometrist Salary, Wages, and Job Prospects in Canada
Canada offers one of the highest salaries for optometrists around the world. The national yearly average is $86,115. Still, it can go all the way up to $167,858. This depends on several factors, such as proficiency, skill sets, years of experience as a licensed optometrist, and other relevant information, such as the appropriate degrees and other educational attainments.
Some jurisdictions do not have the prepared official numbers about the salary their optometrists earn a year. Nevertheless, Canadian optometrists make a lot compared to the other optometrists working in different countries in North America.
According to the data available, Ontario optometrists earn up to $179,500 a year. In contrast, optometrists working in British Columbia earn as much as $135,900 a year. Still, these are not bad because they do not include the bonuses and incentives they get each year.
Of course, as long as people need eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct their vision, optometrists will always remain in demand in Canada. As the population ages, the demands for health services and the need for healthcare professionals are expected to increase.
The ageing population also experiences many age-related eye conditions, needing the services of optometrists at the very least to improve their vision or correct it. Thus, it is acceptable to say that Canada needs more optometrists than ever before.