Optometrists

(NOC 3121)

in All Health

Optometrists examine eyes and diagnose ocular diseases and disorders. They prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses and recommend treatments like exercises to correct vision problems or ocular disorders. They work in private practice, clinics, and community health centres. Optometrists may specialize in fitting visual aids for people who are partially blind, fitting contact lenses or correcting special vision problems.

Job Outlook

Undetermined

Read more

  • Estimate change in employment not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate openings due to growth and retirements not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for this occupation.

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 175. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Optometrists most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a large percentage of the workforce is self-employed which should be an important consideration for those thinking about employment in the occupation.

The median employment income for 39% of Optometrists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $25,189. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

N/A

Minimum

$64,009

Median

N/A

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Optometrists examine eyes and diagnose ocular diseases and disorders. They prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses and recommend treatments like exercises to correct vision problems or ocular disorders. They work in private practice, clinics, and community health centres. Optometrists may specialize in fitting visual aids for people who are partially blind, fitting contact lenses or correcting special vision problems.

Job duties

Optometrists:

  • Examine patients' eyes, conduct tests and use specialized instruments to determine eye health and visual efficiency.
  • Prescribe treatment (excluding surgery) to maintain, improve and correct vision and manage other eye disorders.
  • Prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses.
  • Educate and advise patients on contact lens use and care, ocular hygiene, preventive care, and maintenance, lighting arrangements, working distances and other safety factors.
  • Refer patients to ophthalmologists or other physicians and surgeons for treatment of ocular or other diseases or conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Sample job titles

  • doctor of optometry (OD)
  • optometrist

Skills

This work demands good hand-eye coordination and an aptitude for precision and accuracy. You should be comfortable working with delicate instruments and apparatus. Patience, tact, and the ability to put people at ease are important. You should also have good communication and interpersonal skills. Since most optometrists run their own practices, some business skills would be helpful.

Job requirements

  • Three years of university undergraduate studies in mathematics and sciences and a four-year university program in optometry are required.
  • Licensing by the provincial or territorial regulatory governing body is required.

Other considerations

Earnings depend upon the number of patients served and the services provided. Optometrists who are self-employed have considerable flexibility in their hours of work. Some may work on Saturdays or evenings to meet the needs of their patients.

By the numbers

Quick look

165

employed in 2016

90.9%

employed full-time

81.8%

self employed

54.5%
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45.5%
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43.6

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

41.2%

Halifax

26.5%

North Shore

11.8%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

8.8%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

100.0%

Health care and social assistance

What is the age of Employment?

27.0%

35-44

24.0%

25-34

21.0%

45-54

15.0%

55-64

12.0%

65+

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

87.9%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$64,019 median annual income
6.1%

College Diploma

N/A
6.1%

Doctorate

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Optometry (OD)

University Program

These programs prepare students for the independent professional practice of optometry and that focuses on the principles and techniques for examining, diagnosing and treating conditions of the visual system. They include courses in prescribing glasses and contact lenses, other optical aids, corrective therapies, patient counselling, physician referral, practice management, and ethics and professional standards.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Optometrist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Optometrists
PO Box 9410, Station A
Halifax, NS B3K 5S3
(902) 434-8810
(902) 425-2441

Contacts

Nova Scotia Association of Optometrists
Halifax, NS
Canadian Examiners in Optometry
Stouffville, ON
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Ottawa, ON
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
Bedford, NS
University of Waterloo - Optometry & Vision Science
Waterloo, ON