Deciding which professional organisations to join can be quite daunting as an optometrist, especially as a newer graduate. There are many questions that may be lingering on your mind. How will I meet the right people in optometry? How can I find my niche? What organisations are “worth it”? How much will it cost? Do you really want to be spending your first paycheck on member fees?
Joining professional organisations can connect you with valuable professional networking opportunities and access to a wealth of relevant information. Most organsisations have 'members only' access to exclusive forums, CPD events, netowrking activities and educational resources. Networking can create lasting ties through common ground and support you in times of need. In optometry, continuing education is a key part of our career. The more varied and rich CPD events we undertake, the more likely we are to implement positive changes to our optometric practice.
Most importantly, organisations depend on the power of people and numbers. Optometry is a small profession and we have our strength when we join together in numbers. The 'collective voice' is a powerful tool. Large organisations are able to advocate for optometry in the wider sense, whether it be in politics, the healthcare system or otherwise. Their influence is governed by your membership - with fewer numbers, their influence dimishes.
If you find a passion in certain aspects of optometry, we highly encourage you to join the organisations that align with your personal and career goals. By joining an organisation, you are providing yourself with a competitive advantage as an active, informed member of the industry.
We've selected some key organisations we reccommend you join. Keep reading because we’ve tried to narrow it down for you! Remember all membership fees are tax deductible.
Young Optometrists (YO) NSW/ACT
YO is run by young optometrists, for young optometrists. Young Optometrists (YO)’s mission is to support optometrists and students by providing a dynamic and progressive environment to advance the profession. We provide a collective voice to support optometry students and optometrists in their first 10 years of practice (within NSW/ACT). We know and listen to what you want and strive to represent young optometrists in this ever-changing world of optometry.
As part of our YO Community, you get a huge range of benefits. Our focus is not only continuing education through tailored CPD events and workshops, but also networking, social outings and your overall well-being.
As a member you also get access to CCLSA member discounts for your first 12 months. This is a great way to trial out CCLSA events before joining up as a full member.
For the price of a big night out, you have access to our myriad of benefits as a Full YO Member (incl. access to >30CPD points). If you don't want to miss out, sign up ASAP to become a part of a dynamic YO NSW/ACT community.
Let us welcome you into the YO NSW/ACT community today - https://www.yoptoms.com/Membership/
Free Membership for New Graduates
Optometry Australia (OA)
OA is a not-for-profit body which represents about 90 percent of Australian optometrists. They are an influential voice who aim to provide clinical and professional advice, professional development opportunities, networking and career-advancing opportunities for optometrists by optometrists. Optometry is a small profession and historically membership rates have always been high, with the majority of optometrists choosing the join OA. The only way OA will remain influential is if you choose to be a member. Membership is free for the first 6 months for new graduates.
Australasian College of Behavioural Optometry (ACBO)
ACBO is an association for optometrists with an interest in functional vision care, neurodevelopmental optometry and vision therapy. ACBO kindly extend a free 12 month membership to all final year students.
Australian College of Optometry (ACO)
ACO is an independent, non-for-profit institution in science, education and optometric practice dedicated to preserving sight and preventing blindness. First year graduates can enjoy free membership for 12 months.
Discounted First Year Membership
Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia (CCLSA)
CCLSA’s mission is to support research and innovation and promote professional development and education amongst members in the field of cornea and contact lenses. First year graduates receive a 50% discount off their annual membership.
Recent graduate fees for optometrists, who have worked for 6 months, are discounted to $1746 (incl. GST)
Other Memberships to consider
Orthokeratology Society of Oceania
OSO is dedicated to improving the lives of people now and in the future through Ortho-K and Myopia control. OSO members will be recognized as a member of the International Academy of Orthokeratology (IAO) as well. Joining fee is $275 (incl. GST).
These are not just memberships but communities where you can network and learn from each other. So what are you waiting for? Get signed up!
Note: This post does not represent all the optometry organizations and societies in Australia.
*Prices are for optometrists practicing in Australia or New Zealand (as of Feb 2019).