Labour shortage: The demand for optometrists in Canada is high – and growing
Want a career with high earning potential and a solid outlook as far as the eye can see? Consider optometry. We've already seen in an earlier blog post how graduates in this field are basically guaranteed a job upon leaving school. A recent study found that optometry students currently have a 98 per cent employment rate after graduation.
Statistics Canada is predicting increased labour shortages for this profession from now through 2026. They predict that there will be a need for 14,700 new optometrists (due to increased demand and replacement demand) while only 13,500 new professionals (arising from graduates, immigration and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them.
Optometrists perform a wide range of functions concentrated on improving their patients' vision. These include activities such as performing eye exams, and prescribing eyeglasses, contact lenses and other visual aids. Many optometrists specialize in a particular area of visual health such as glaucoma, partial sight, or myopia.
The increased demand for optometrists is particularly due to Canada's aging population. As more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, many people are leaving the profession. Another consequence of demographics is that more people require eyewear and vision correction.
That growing demand for optical products has also directly resulted in a particular need for dispensing opticians to work in eye care offices, clinics, and retail outlets, assisting clients with their prescription eyewear and contact lenses.
According to the Labour Force Survey, in Canada, 94 per cent of workers in this occupation were self-employed, while the average for all occupations was 14 per cent. The median wage is $94,608 right now. Wages are highest in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.
Interested? To work in Optometry in Canada, professionals need to complete three years of university undergraduate studies in mathematics and sciences and a four-year university program in optometry. Licensing by the provincial or territorial regulatory governing body is required. Find out more about those here.