Golden Ticket or Fools Gold?
I am a 29 year old mother of two who is in a career transition. I have been an optician officially for 11 years, but have actually worked in the field longer.
My father is an optometrist. He owns a very successful private practice, and I currently work for him, doing both general opticianry and his web design and marketing. I also worked in the several of the big retail opticals as well.
I have never been incredibly interested in optometry, preferring the patient interaction I get as an optician, and being rather hesitant to get "stuck in a dark room all day" as an optometrist. Also, I always viewed opticianry as something that I just fell into based on my father's career, and as something that I would eventually grow out of as my more artistic interests (music, painting, writing) gained momentum and I was able to earn enough income from them to phase out of eye-related professions in general.
As I am quickly approaching 30, I find that it is time to really sit down and evaluate my life path. As much as I enjoy creativity, it just doesn't pay the bills. My children are young, and I really want to be able to provide a more stable existence for them. I am tired of just scraping by, living in a one bedroom apartment on the wrong side of the tracks, loving my artwork, but not being loved back.
I don't mind eye-related professions, I guess I am just hesitant to get "stuck" in one thing for the rest of my life. But, as my father is starting to get older, I would be in a position to take over his thriving private practice when he retires, should I decide to pursue optometry.
I know I can handle the school. I would just have to do all my science-y undergrad classes (my previous education focused on business and art).
I guess I have two concerns:
-Would entering the optometry workforce at approximately age 36 be wise, considering the built-in patient base I would eventually acquire? Or is it too "old"- too late to give me time to pay off student loans, etc.
-Is it even a wise move to get into optometry in general? I have read so many people complaining about the over-saturation of optometry grads, and have seen many optometrists and optometry students encouraging pre-optometry students to consider dentistry or medicine instead. I would think that I would be in a better position than the average grad, considering the existing private practice, but is optometry in general going to decline enough in the future that it won't be worth it, even though I have the private practice? Should I invest my time in a different health field?
Thanks for your time, and I appreciate any insights!