Optometry is a rewarding career that offers high job satisfaction, a rewarding career, and many career options through different modes of practice.
Changing Lives Daily
A visit to the optometrist has the potential to change someone's life dramatically. As optometrists perform a comprehensive eye exam, they assess an individual's vision and provide prescriptions for glasses and contacts; diagnose, treat, and manage eye injuries; detect disease in the eye; and provide services to rehabilitate some eye conditions through low vision rehabilitation and vision therapy.
(Video courtesy of ASCO: Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry)
Why become an optometrist?
Optometry is a rewarding career that provides excellent career opportunities, presents different modes of practice, provides great job satisfaction, and offers a good quality of life.
Data from the American Optometric Associations shows the average net incomes ranging from $140,013 for the primary practice of optometry to $172,356 for optometrists who own all or a portion of their practice. (Source: 2016 Survey of Optometric Practice, AOA, ASCO)
Excellent Career Opportunities
There is a high demand for optometrists and a growing need to care for an aging population. Learn more about the Occupational Outlook for Optometrists from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, optometry offers many different opportunities:
The ability to participate in interdisciplinary care with other health care providers to treat patients holistically
Opportunities to go into ocular research and explore new avenues for diagnoses, treatments, and cures for eye conditions and diseases
The ability to pursue academia, helping to prepare and teach the next generations of optometrists
Different specialties or areas of interest: pediatric eye care, geriatric eye care, low vision, contact lenses, vision rehabilitation, ocular disease, individuals with disabilities, and other special populations.
Variety of practice settings – cities, suburban areas, rural areas
Different Modes of Practice
While many optometrists go into solo or group private practice, there are many other different career options for optometrists. They may also choose to work in:
A community health center, VA Medical Center, Hospital, or other health care setting.
A retail, optical, or corporate setting or in a professional setting managing care with an ophthalmologist.
The military, entering the service as an officer and providing care to our armed forces.
An academic setting, providing direct instruction or clinical mentorship to current optometry students
A research facility, seeking to expand our understanding or eye health and disease.
The ophthalmic industry, sports, government, and education, providing expertise on eye related issues.
Job Satisfaction and Good Quality of Life
Optometry is consistently chosen as one of the best jobs through U.S. News Best Jobs Ranking. US News notes, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the profession will grow by about 27 percent, or 11,000 new jobs, from 2014 to 2024.” Optometrists note their ability to make a difference in the lives of their patients while still maintaining a work-life balance. Optometrists:
Provide meaningful work making a difference in the lives of other
Experience immediate gratification when patients put on glasses or contacts and immediately see a difference
Enjoy good relationships with patients as most patients generally enjoy going to the optometrist
Obtain flexible work schedules: optometrists can work full time or part-time based on their needs
Receive minimal emergency calls related to patients
Secure a good income: the AOA reports that the average salary in 2014 was $122,767
Obtain diverse opportunities for practice: the freedom in choosing to live and practice in almost any location