Whether we are in school, college, or are later in our adult lives questioning our career decisions, we sometimes wonder how good other careers are and if we should change our path.
Optometry is often considered to be a good career, however, is it really?
Outsiders do not know a lot about this job, so we will answer all your questions today, so you can decide if a career in optometry might actually be the career for you.
Table of Contents
What Is Optometry?
Optometry is a good career if you enjoy people, and have a thirst to help better the lives of others. It is worthwhile for those who are scientifically minded as well, as there is some science about it- biology specifically.
Being able to see is an important part of our lives, and looking after our sight is absolutely imperative.
Our world is filled with screens, and being unable to see, or see probably can really hinder our connection to the rest of the world. We need to be able to see properly, and regular check-ups can help this.
Being an optometrist means that you are trained to look at the eyes of others, and detect abnormalities, diagnose issues, and prescribe glasses, contacts, or even eye surgery if absolutely necessary.
It can be a really rewarding career, and it can be super exciting too.
You get to put your knowledge of the human eye into practice every single day, and you will have so many opportunities to learn new things and meet new people.
You may even be learning something new every day about what can affect our eyes. You can even further your qualifications and be able to study glaucoma, the prescription of contact lenses and even low vision.
In this job, not only do you get to study the human eye, and learn more about our ability to see, but you will be helping people every day, and maybe even saving someone’s vision.
What Are The Job Responsibilities Of An Optometrist?
There are many responsibilities optometrists have, however there are some vital ones that really stand out. You will usually cover a variety of roles within an optometry clinic. Let’s look at some of the responsibilities.
- You will be regularly recognizing and treating the most common eye conditions.
- It is likely that you will be prescribing vision aids – at least daily if not multiple times per day.
- You may be recommending patients for eye-strengthening exercises, or perhaps vision therapy.
- It is not uncommon for optometrists to have to identify serious optical ails and diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
- In more serious situations you may need to refer patients to a doctor or write emails/ letters to a patient’s GP.
As well as these traditional tasks of an optometrist you may also be required to do general work around the clinic.
This can include retail and admin tasks, especially when it comes to visual aids such as glasses. You will help clients pick out glasses, and fill in admin work for sizing, lens type, and payments.
You may also need to conduct some paperwork such as schedules for appointments.
If you are successful you may also reach the point where you are responsible for managing and training new staff as well. Which is always a rewarding role in any job.
It is safe to say that no matter what, as an optometrist you always need to be on the ball – the eyeball.
Is It Worth Being An Optometrist?
To become an optometrist, you do need to complete various studies, and you will likely need a bachelor’s degree.
You will also need to apply to a U.S. accredited school or college of optometry. Most of these will need you to have a decent OAT score.
This does mean that you can be left with a trail of student loans behind you by the time you become a certified optometrist.
Some are not so keen on a career in optometry because although you need to go through similar education requirements as doctors and dentists, your pay is not nearly as glamorous.
Averaging at a paycheck of around $118,000 per annum, it is a nice salary, however it is nearly $50,000 less than dentists and $90,000 less than physicians.
Remember that these are average salaries though and do not exactly dictate what you will get.
The state you practice in will also dictate your salary too, there are the top states for practicing optometry such as Kentucky, Alaska, Connecticut and so on.
This is a career that is projected to grow over the next decade, and although it is not providing as high a paycheck as other medical professions.
It can be much better than others such as pharmacists which are looking at a decline.
This means it is a sturdy career that does not seem to be going anywhere, or experiencing any downfall with the growth of technology or economic influences. Although, it is safe to say that student loans are a downfall here.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of An Optometry Career?
So, we know what optometrists do, how rewarding it is, the average pay in comparison to similar professions, and the amount of studying behind it.
We cannot decide for you if the career is worth it or not, only you can make that choice. However, what we can tell you is the pros and cons of the career. What does optometry have going for it?
- It is a low stress job.
- Providing a decent work-life balance.
- It gives people a chance to give back to society.
- You can qualify somewhat quickly, although this depends on particular factors.
- Yields some tangible results.
And, what does it have going against it?
- The pay could certainly be better.
- There is no real chance for career progression once you are in it.
- After some time, it can get boring.
- Weekend working.
- Working in a customer based environment.
- Sales pressure.
It’s all really down to personal preference really. There are good and bad factors about it, pay and experience, helping others and work-life balance. Well, what do you think? Is it a good career?