How much do locum optometrists earn?

21 March 2022  •  Locum
How much do locum optometrists earn?

Working as a locum optometrist is an excellent way to gain more experience in the industry and earn some extra money. Whether you decide to work part-time or full-time as a locum optometrist, there are a few things to consider before diving in. For starters, how much do locum optometrists earn? As well as this, there are a few other considerations to weigh up before you enter the field as a locum optometrist. In this article, we’re going to look at how much locum optometrists earn, find out what it takes to become a locum optometrist and offer some tips to help you get the most out of the role.

What is a locum optometrist?

A locum optometrist is essentially a substitute or stand-in optometrist. The phrase ‘locum’ comes from the Latin phrase, ‘locum tenens’ which means ‘one holding the place of another’. So a locum is anyone who temporarily replaces another member of the same job role. In real terms, it also means someone who is working on a temporary basis, such as someone working to cover an unfilled position at a company. Seasonal coverage is a common example of locum work. Locum optometrists can work on a temporary basis where they are employed on either a full-time, part-time or self-employed basis. Many locum optometrists work on a self-employed basis for the flexibility that it offers and some of the tax benefits – this is typically through a limited company or umbrella company. Their work is the same as any other optometrist, working with patients and providing eye examinations. This includes determining the best treatment options for patients and diagnosing a wide range of eye conditions.

How much do locum optometrists earn?

Due to the nature of locum work, most locum optometrists negotiate pay rates with their potential employers. Due to this, there can be a degree of flexibility in what locum optometrists earn. According to statistics from Talent, locum optometrists earn on average £295 per day. The average salary for a locum optometrist is around £58,500 per year which equates to around £30 per hour. For entry-level positions, you can expect to earn £16,900 per year. With sufficient experience in the industry, you could stand to earn upwards of £80,470 per year. All of these figures from Talent are merely guides and indicators or average salaries. The location of the work will also determine salary ranges, for example, London rates are significantly higher than those outside of the capital.

How do you become a locum optometrist?

If you’re interested in becoming a locum optometrist, there are a few things that you are expected to do before applying for locum optometrist jobs. Below is a summary of what to do if you want to work as a locum optometrist.

Step one: registration

In the UK, all optometrists have to be registered with the General Optical Council before working on a locum basis. You must also be included on the Supplementary List of Primary Care Trust. In many instances, you will be working with young people, children and vulnerable adults. Before you can do this, you will also need to register with the Independent Safeguarding Agency.

Step two: get your documents together

There’s a considerable amount of paperwork that is involved in locuming, so make sure that you have all of the required documents in order. This is a legal requirement, as all optometrists need to provide specific documentation before starting a shift. These documents are: • DBS documents • GOC/CORU registered contact lens optician documents • Professional indemnity insurance documents Although it isn’t a legal requirement, it’s a good idea to have an up-to-date CV with you too, along with a cover letter and two professional references. This ensures a smooth handover if you are locuming.

Step three: Get your paperwork sorted

Locum work is a lot like running your own business, especially when it comes to the financial side of things. You’re expected to hold consistent financial records while locuming, which includes all records of income and expenditure. In some cases, the optician you work with will have their own billing systems in place, but it’s always a good idea to use your own invoice templates to keep your paperwork organised.

Step four: Source some shifts

The UK is one of the best places to be a locum optometrist and there is more demand for this type of career path than ever before. So finding shifts as a locum is really easy thanks to the wide variety of options available. Globe Locums has an excellent pool of job opportunities for you to choose from, so you can spend some time finding shifts that suit your lifestyle. There are other professional organisations to speak with about securing shifts, too. The Association of Optometrists and the Association of British Dispensing Opticians are both responsible for maintaining the locum list, and they are well-positioned to help you find suitable work as a locum.

Step five: Enjoy life as a locum

Once you’ve secured shifts as a locum optometrist, you’ve successfully transitioned into life as a locum. Remember that now you’re self-employed, you’ll have three months to register as such with HMRC. Failing to do so can cause serious ramifications such as financial charges, so remember to register. Now all you have to do is find shift patterns that suit your needs and enjoy life as a locum optometrist.

If you’re interested in finding the best locum optometrist jobs across the UK, take a look at our incredible range of locum opportunities on our website. Our resources at Globe Locums provides you with a huge pool of locum positions to choose from. If you have more questions like 'how much do locum optometrists earn?', don't hesitate to ask one of our experts.

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