Do you need to be good at maths to work in eyecare?

If you are into fashion, love caring for people, or working on a busy shop floor, there’s a future for you in eyecare. Don’t assume you need top grades in maths – you may have other, more important skills.

Becoming an optical assistant is a great place to start. Employers often feel that a flair for customer service and being willing to learn can be more important than exam results.


You’ll be responsible for welcoming people and helping them choose the right products for eyecare and eyewear. This isn’t just a standard retail job – you will be enabling people to look and feel great and protecting their health as well. You can  make a real difference to people’s lives.

You’ll pick out the best frames to suit face shapes and lifestyles. You may get involved in healthcare too, completing eye health screenings (under supervision).

You’ll be working in a shop – this isn’t a desk job. Tasks might include: 

  • Greeting customers.
  • Answering the phone.
  • Helping people choose eyewear frames or try out contact lenses.
  • Booking eye examinations.
  • Completing eye health screenings (you’ll be supervised).
  • Ensuring the environment is tidy and attractive.

Employers want to see enthusiasm and people skills. If you can offer these, you’ll be in demand.

  • A positive attitude. 
  • Teamworking ability.
  • Communication skills.
  • Customer service skills.
  • Sales skills.
  • Interest in fashion.
  • Willingness to learn.

Earn while you learn

Many practices will provide on the job training, including the chance to study for an optical assistant qualification through ABDO College. The course will help you understand and apply the maths used in optics. 

Some companies offer optical assistant apprenticeships – find out more. This is a great way to improve your knowledge and skills.  If you don’t have maths qualifications, the programme will help you work towards Level 2 functional skills. 

Apprenticeships can take around a year to complete, allowing you to earn while you learn. You gain a recognised qualification, such as Level 2 retail optical assistant.

Get started

If you are interested in working in an optical store, a great way to start is by applying for work experience. Ask your school or college, or contact a practice and ask them whether there are any opportunities. See our tips on finding work experience.

There is plenty of scope for optical assistants to take their careers in a wide range of directions. You could become a sales rep, a practice manager or even train as a dispensing optician.

Find out more