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There are great opportunities out there for those wanting to work in optometry, with many deciding to take advantage of the numerous benefits that come with self-employment by becoming a locum optometrist.

What qualifications and skills do I need to become a locum optometrist?

There are a couple of different routes to becoming an optometrist but the most common one is via a university course.

You’ll need to get a degree in optometry, which will need to be approved by the General Optical Council (GOC), complete a pre-registration work placement (this takes 12 months and you’ll be supervised by a registered optometrist) and you’ll need to pass the GOC final assessment.

The type of skills you’ll need include:

  • Good communication
  • Being able to put patients at ease, especially if they’re nervous
  • Having good concentration and being able to work with precision
  • Adaptable when it comes to new equipment and techniques
  • Organised
  • Having an interest in being able to improve people’s quality of life

Registering with the General Optical Council

It is a legal requirement to register with the General Optical Council (GOC) if you want to work as an optometrist.

So, once you have completed the relevant education and training you will need to fill out a GOC application.

You’ll need the following information to do so:

  • Your contact information
  • Details of your qualifications and the educational institute where you gained them
  • Details of any declarations you may need to make about your fitness to practise – this could be any criminal convictions or disciplinary actions
  • A completed registration identification form (this can be found on the GOC website)

Benefits of becoming a locum optometrist

Joining the self-employed sector and becoming your own boss, whether as a sole trader or limited company, comes with a number of benefits:

Rates of pay
Self-employed professionals are often able to command higher rates compared to their permanent counterparts; this is due to the added risks that come with full-time contracting, plus not being entitled to holiday or sick pay.

Claiming back on expenses
Being self-employed typically means that you’ll need to pay out for various costs that are essential for your business – the good news about this is that you’ll be able to claim back on these expenses and therefore reduce your tax bill at the end of each year.

Read our What expenses can I claim as a Sole trader and Limited Company Expenses Guide pages for more help and advice on contractor expenses.

More freedom and flexibility
When you’re self-employed, you’ll have so much more freedom and flexibility compared to an employee, as you’ll be in the position to choose your own hours and decide what days you want to work.

Do I need insurance?

The majority of contractors will need to take out some sort of insurance and as a locum optometrist working with the public, it’s probably wise to ensure you and your business are protected against any possible claims.

If you go down the limited company route and employ workers then it is mandatory for you to have employers liability insurance – it will protect you should an employee become ill or injured from carrying out duties in the workplace.

You might also want to consider public liability insurance as you’ll be having members of the public visiting your place of work.

For more help and advice on this, read our What type of business insurance do I need? page

If you’d like to sign up or need any further information, please give us a call on 01442 795 100 or you can email There’s also the option to contact us via live chat.

Why Thousands of Contractors Choose Dolan Accountancy

With over 25 years experience in contractor accountancy helping thousands of contractors, freelancers and the self employed, Dolan Accountancy has the specialist skills, reputation and credibility you can trust.

Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £105 + VAT. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795 100 or email or

We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

  • Free Company Formation – This is where it all begins. Once you have decided on an available name, we will form your company free of charge (if using our accountancy services) and it will be ready for you to use in as little as three hours
  • Free use of Contractor Umbrella – With IR35 Legislation changes we understand that sometimes you are required to contract via an umbrella company. We will keep your limited company ticking over, while you work margin free via our sister company, Contractor Umbrella
  • A Dedicated Accountant – Your accountant will be there for any company or personal tax advice that you require. We will never outsource work, even to internal teams
  • Free Access to FreeAgent – We offer all of our clients access to FreeAgent, free of charge
  • Free Business Banking – We have decided to waive our commission so our clients can use Tide free of charge for the first year
  • Unlimited IR35 Status Reviews – We will review all of your contracts for IR35 purposes and provide you with our professional opinion as to its status
  • Free Registered and Director’s Service Office Address – Sometimes you just don’t want your home address on display at Companies House. When you sign up to our accountancy services, we will offer the use of our address as an alternative
  • Your Business and Personal Taxation Needs – This includes Company Accounts, Director’s Personal Tax Return, VAT Returns, Payroll, Corporation Tax and Dividend advice, to name just a few

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