Optometrist Career

People who have a passion to work in the eye care industry must definitely understand the roles and responsibilities of various career paths available in this field before making the right choice. For a common person, the role of an optician, optical assistant, optometrist or ophthalmologist may almost look the same, but each line of work has its own unique significance and practice. As a part of education and training, all these courses require an undergraduate degree with four years of optometry specialization to complete the Doctor of Optometry program. Due to huge exposure to electronic devices, unhealthy food habits and rapidly changing human lifestyle, people are facing more and more eye ailments everyday, which in turn is creating increasing demand for optometrist career professionals.

What is Optometrist?

Optometrists are well-trained independent eye-care professionals who are able to identify and solve eye related problems including diseases, injuries & abnormalities of the visual system and its other associated structures. Generally, licensed Optometrists run their own private clinics and practice independently to treat the patients with eye defects. Before prescribing the necessary treatments, most of the optometrists analyze the root cause for the defect in the visual condition and then suggest the required procedure to reduce the problem. Initially, these professionals perform comprehensive eye checkups to make out the actual reason for vision abnormalities and suggest corrective lens or vision therapy as a part of the healing process. Optometrist career requires wide range of clinical, assessment and managerial skills, which means they have to establish and manage their clinics, maintain accounts, hire employees and keep track of all the patients’ case records for future reference.

What is Optometrist do?

Most of these eye care professionals have quite varied routine tasks that include pre and post - operative surgical support, rehabilitate visually impaired, educate patients for eye nutrition, test visual acuity and many more. Apart from performing typical visual tests for glaucoma, astigmatism and other general eye conditions, if necessary optometrists sometimes refer patients to other healthcare providers for further investigation into the case study. Optometrist career is very challenging, as it requires lot of patience and analyzing capabilities to diagnose the problem in-depth and identify the pre-existing systemic health hazard conditions like hypertension, diabetes etc. Optometrists can enhance their career opportunities further by doing postgraduate clinical residency programs in specialized areas in which they get training & practice to treat patients with specific needs as in low-vision rehabilitation, ocular diseases, vision therapy etc.

Optometrists work environment:

Mostly optometrists prefer being self-employed having their own clinics and running businesses, but sometimes they may also choose to practice in groups or partnerships in various hospitals, retail stores, medical offices etc. Just like other regular jobs, optometrist career has no fixed timings to follow. Occasionally, if the job demands, optometrists even have to sit for extra hours in case of emergency. Based on the work environment and personal preference, it is strictly the doctor’s choice whether to follow fixed 40 weekly working hours or go for flexible timings.

How to become Optometrist, Qualifications and Requirements:

To choose career as optometrist , one must first enroll in the accredited university optometry programs with pre-requisite of at least 3-year bachelors or post secondary education in biology or chemistry. After successfully completing the optometry degree, some candidates enroll in the postgraduate advance clinical residency programs while others decide to start their profession by becoming licensed optometrists. However, for every individual it is mandatory to pass all sections of written and clinical exams conducted by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry to obtain the license as an optometrist. It is also important to check for additional licensed examinations, as some state laws require candidates to pass all the regional and state licensing tests before they start practicing. Below are the schools that are offering optometry program in USA

School Address
University of Alabama at Birmingham Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL, 35294-0110
Midwestern University-Glendale 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ, 85308
University of California-Berkeley 200 California Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720
Western University of Health Sciences 309 E 2nd St, Pomona, CA, 91766-1854
Marshall B Ketchum University 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd, Fullerton, CA, 92831-1699
Nova Southeastern University 3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33314-7796
Illinois College of Optometry 3241 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, 60616-3878
Indiana University-Bloomington 107 South Indiana Ave., Bloomington, IN, 47405-7000
New England College of Optometry 424 Beacon St, Boston, MA, 2115
Ferris State University 1201 S State St, Big Rapids, MI, 49307-2251
University of Missouri-St Louis One University Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO, 63121-4400
SUNY College of Optometry 33 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036-8003
Ohio State University-Main Campus 190 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, 43210
Northeastern State University 600 N Grand, Tahlequah, OK, 74464-2399
Pacific University 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR, 97116
Salus University 8360 Old York Rd, Elkins Park, PA, 19027-6262
Southern College of Optometry 1245 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN, 38104-2211
University of Houston 212 E. Cullen Building, Houston, TX, 77204-2018
University of the Incarnate Word 4301 Broadway, San Antonio, TX, 78209
...View complete information about optometry schools and colleges in USA

Optometrist salaries

Optometrist career is one of the highly paid jobs in the healthcare industry with variation in the income depending on the individual’s potential, professional experience and number of working hours. On an average, research shows that self-employed optometrists with their own practices have earned larger incomes than individuals who work for other hospitals or clinics. Professionals with high level of training and many years of experience have chances of earning excellent financial prospects with additional benefits like family health insurance, pension schemes, annual bonus, life insurance etc.

Optometrist career growth and career path

With limited optometry schools to enroll and tough demand for admissions, there will likely be more demand for optometrist professionals in the next coming up decades. Optometry has flexible career structure with wide options to choose between self-employed establishment to public hospitals and government sectors. In terms of developing career to have better income, some professionals even prefer to work as lecturers and research assistants in the accredited colleges and universities. To have good career growth and be successful in optometrist career, one must definitely possess top professional skills, continuing education and training practices, better personal traits and great enthusiasm to learn new things.

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