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how are new grads from california finding jobs?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by pienfoo, Sep 5, 2012.

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  1. pienfoo

    pienfoo

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    So after being out of school for a few months, as a graduate class of 2012, I've realized first hand the FACT that it's nearly impossible to get a full time job in california. My friends are getting paid, on average, $100-$150 more than what I am getting paid in California working for the same retail companies. I'm lucky that I can piece together a full time schedule right now working for eyeexam (lenscrafters), firstsight (walmart), and filling in at a few private offices. That is what i'll be doing until, again, very luckily, I join a private practice early next year full time. I have looked and stayed on top of job listings for about a month looking for something that pays more decent with more stability and there honestly has not been nearly enough spots to fill the number of new grads, or even, I assume, for those who just finished their residencies. Which brings me to the question of how in the world the 120+new grads this upcoming year from SCCO AND WUCO are going to find anything, and the years after that??? In the past people have always suggested retail as a good paying backup. I really think everyone in california (southern) are going to have to chew each others heads off to get a part time low paying position even at Walmart locations. Afterall, you can't just work on Saturdays right?? After alot of calling and networking it seems like walmart/sears/JCPenny has some sublease units but from what i hear the majority of them make pretty scrap for one to live off of. Or get in a 5-10 year line for a good one at costco. this is definitely looking pretty bleak.... i'm not trolling just thought I'd put this out there and see if any of you guys expereinced a similar experience or have suggestions on how to be more successful at starting a career.:confused:
  2. pienfoo

    pienfoo

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    on a side note, I really love what I do. I definitely enjoy going to work and am doing a pretty good job at it so far. But I wish it wasn't so hard to find these hours, and how the future grads are going to deal with this problem of their education going to waste if they're not getting hired other than moving somewhere else..?
  3. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    I'm sorry Pienfoo. I'm sorrry our leaders didn't have the foresight to stop the incredible overload of optometry graduates over the past 20 years. I'm sorry they couldn't stop 5 new OD schools from opening. I'm sorry the AOA and your school didn't tell you the truth. California is a model of how the rest of the country will be in just a few short years.

    Sorry I don't have much encouragement. Just be as professional as possible and don't let anyone take advantage of you. If you keep at it, you will find a decent position somewhere. Might have to move to South Dakota or on the Mexican border though. Sad. Sad. :oops:
  4. blazenmadison

    blazenmadison

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    I'm so sorry to hear that. Unfortunately that will be the case for the rest of U.S. very soon. There are still some positions in undesireable places like rural towns and along border of Mexico. I recommend you venture out of California. You should write PCO a letter letting them know how difficult it is to find a position and for them to shrink their class size.
  5. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    Or perhaps ask for a partial refund.
  6. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Or perhaps a class action lawsuit. It's worked in the past for law students. It's only a matter of time before this starts in optometry. It's a good thing the new private schools have such large bank accounts. They'll need it in a few years when 90% of their graduating class turns around and sues them for their tuition dollars after they realize they've paid $240K for a degree that can't easily be put to good use.

    If I were looking at optometry right now, and I were interested in it based on what I would be doing as an OD after graduation, I'd be seriously considering a refracting optician's certificate. Their job responsibilities will be virtually identical to that of ODs in a few years, especially after they get independent refracting rights, and the cost would be a tiny fraction of optometry school.
  7. hello07

    hello07

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    If I may ask, what are you getting paid if your friends are getting paid 100-150 more by same retail companies. I can understand 25 or 50 bucks more even 75 but 100-150? Are you sure it's that much ?
  8. NYCBlues

    NYCBlues Member

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    Sorry that you have to find out the hard way, just like myself and other recent grads. This is the reason why i am on here to tell future OD students the hard truth to prevent them from ending up on the same boat as us.
  9. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    luls..relocate
  10. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Pienfoo,

    1) Were you unaware of this issue before you graduated or even entered optometry schoo, particularly as it relates to southern California?

    2) What steps did you take to land a position that would have been more to your liking? How did you go about looking for positions and when did you start doing it?
  11. pienfoo

    pienfoo

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    yes I was. I worked in the field since I was 18 and I would say I'm very aware of this problem in Southern California. I have licenses in other states planned as a back up.

    Starting 2 months prior to graduation, I checked/emailed AOA listing, school listings, craigslist, monster, went to conferences and meetings, networked, emailed all the doctors I've worked with before.
  12. pienfoo

    pienfoo

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    I think what prompted me to start a thread about this matter is my disappointment in seeing this matter of over saturation first hand as a recent graduate. After months of searching and applying to jobs, I have realized how truly horrifying the job market for optometrists really is in Southern California and how it will almost certainly become progressively worse in the future, and that reality is hard to grasp even though it is that I have anticipated. There is no purpose or solution on my part in posting this thread, I am simply sharing my first hand experience of what it's like to be a new grad and be faced with the choice of moving to another state, to be away from your family and loved ones so you can afford to pay off your loans and maybe even having some spending money left over after paying the highest tax bracket. I don't have a problem personally with landing a job, and day after day I consider myself very lucky to be in the position I am in right now. However, I do wonder, and actually care, about how all the 100+ (just my estimating, but considering the graduates from two schools and those who attend out of state collages I'm sure it's somewhere around that number) graduates each year are going to survive in this type of environment for the long run, as well as for all our colleagues who have been working in the field.

    Throughout the last 4 years of school and going through rotations, I have repeatedly heard about how people who graduate from residencies are not finding jobs in California and the majority of graduates have to piece together jobs to get by, while hoping that something better will come along. I personally feel that with the continuation of this problem our profession will start to corrode in that doctors will be forced, more than what I think should be necessary, in selling materials and making desperate moves to fill their appointment books, which for the most part is not being filled anyway. I also hope that the current and prospective students of optometry schools should realize, maybe more so than they think, that commercial practice will almost certainly be the pathway that they will enter into, and will be forced to stay there. The schools are boasting the need for optometrists and the expanded scope of practice which will make optometry a growing profession. That may be true for many other states but that's definitely not the case here. Many students talk about how their school is very oriented in neuro-optometry, VT, etc, but in reality I think there are very, very few spots to fill for those positions, and most/all will require additional training which may or most likely will not pay off.

    I realize this topic is pretty much beating a dead horse, and that this seemingly whiney attitude seem make me like an incompetent individual with no social skills which is why I'm ranting about this in the first place. It may seem like I'm being impatient, or that my expectations were set too high, or I was not smart in the way I am approaching this matter. All of that may be true, but I am confident that my abilities as a clinician is strong, and my interpersonal skills equally if not even greater. So far I have had great success with the offices I have signed on with, and am actually getting more hours than I can handle working about 6-7 days per week, and I love what I do every day. I do, however, believe that due to the competition and saturation that I am along with those in my circumstance, undervalued and exploited. I have an offer, a very good offer I might add, to be part of a robust private practice. However, that position, and I think along with any of such kind, came from a combination of luck and hard work. It is not advertised, only circulated amongst a small group of individuals and I happen to be lucky enough to have come across it. Had I not come across that opportunity, I would definitely have moved to another state. It is that fear, that what if I wasn't in the right place at the right time, which will result in my being forced to be in commercial practice (although it's actually not that bad) for an indefinite amount of time, to be waiting for opportunities that may never arise in this extremely competitive environment.

    I think we have all worked very hard for our degree, passed too many board exams and paid too much tuition to have to consistently worry about where your Tuesday or Wednesday shifts are going to come from next week, or to hope that you get that call for you to come in the day you have no shifts scheduled, or the opposite, to get the call that your shift is canceled because not enough patients are scheduled. It probably is none of my business to care as long as I'm done well, but it really is. It my business, in my opinion, to know that our profession is healthy and growing, and I'm not sure if I'm seeing that at all in California.
  13. q1we3

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    Yes, you are beating a dead horse. Why did you plan on moving back to California when you have been hearing for 4 years that full time positions are very rare? You act so surprised but knew all along how bad the job market in Cali is. I am from a big city that is saturated with ODs there is no way I am even bothering to look for a job there.
  14. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    If a person can't live where they want to live and enjoy their profession then there is a problem. You shouldn't have to move somewhere you don't want to be to be successful.
  15. q1we3

    q1we3

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    That happens with every desirable location, they get saturated or job market gets really competitive. That is regardless of the profession. All major cities will have too many lawyers, dentists, restaurants, electricians, pharmacists etc etc.
  16. pienfoo

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    I actually didn't plan on moving back to California, I was set on finding a job in Queens, New York (where btw is still a pretty populated/ oversaturated area but finding a job there was nowhere near as gruesome as it is in in so cal) where I know have a number of places I could join as an associate or somewhere upstate or anywhere that has a good full time position. I was being as flexible as I could and was open to all opportunities. But I don't think it should be as impossible as it is now to find a full time job in southern California. I came back because of the position I was miraculously offered which does not start for a awhile so in the meantime I've been looking hard to see what I could do and to get a feel for the job market, which obviously was a disappointment. I know if I'm complaining about the situation I am at then I should just relocate somewhere far far away and deal with it. Again I'm aware, and for a long time, that it's extremely competitive in the so cal area and I had every intention of not being back here again, but I have to say that even though I'm making much less now than I should (or potentially could) be, I'm definitely a happier person in this environment and working 6 to 7 days doesn't seem all that bad, yet. It is definitely not an option for long term, and with age comes more responsibility I'm in my late 20s with no dependents so I'm as open and flexible as can be, but I just can't imagine having to deal with some of the type of issues I see now when I'm in my 30s/40s, there's simply no time and flexibility for that. I did not realize how much happier I am being in southern California, until I actually started living here again. Again, even if I am happy where I work, I know that if the right opportunity doesn't arise I am ready to pick up my bags and go to where opportunity knocks. I think this is especially hard to consider for people who have families to have make this type of adjustment just to make ends meet for their family. Again, given our extensive education I don't think new graduates should be faced with joblessness, almost with certainty, and be forced to move to a more 'underserved community', which doesn't exist. You'll hear people say oh just go to Fresno or go into Riverside County and there'll be plenty of good paying jobs, or at least just jobs. It's not that easy, it's not that if you're WILLING to move then you will be blessed with work. The reality is it's more likely than impossible that you'll land something in places like Apple Valley or Temecula, part time. The only days that employers want to hire for are Saturdays, and maybe they'll stick in a day or there to test the waters out. There are 4 OD offices + 1 optical that opened within a 2 mile radius of where I live in the past 5 years, that's right FIVE and unless every resident in town get a yearly eye exam growing that business is going to get more tough each year, instead of the other way around as it should be. Next thing you know America's Worst will start opening its doors here, or maybe they already have. Just a matter of time.

    here's the pattern that I am/ my peers are seeing in california, with no residency:

    graduate --> 1 year out of school: work for commercial part time, fill in schedule with random private doctor days if you find any --> 2nd year hope that you'll find an associate job somewhere that will give you more hours and leading to partnership--> 3rd freak out a little, weddings to plan maybe, putting some pressure on the associate job --> 4th year take a big leap and open your office cold, which probably result in regret and worries for the next 6+ years; or just stick with your schedule of commercial/private days since it's probably more solid by now --> 5th to infinity maybe something good will happen, most likely not. same routine for the rest of your career.

    if you do residency, Add one year to education, Add one year to fighting for jobs in academia, VAs, which all will pay you very very little in the beginning, or work for OMD.

    sounds pretty bleak but, so far looks like that's how it is for a good chunk of people.
  17. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    Pienfoo,

    You are an absolute loser. You don't know what you're doing. You must of had bad grades and no personality.

    Sorry, I am just getting all the idiotic student comments out of the way. The fallback line for most students seems to be "you must be an idiot/loser/incompetent if you don't have an adequent job after graduation as an OD".

    Yet we are seeing and hearing about more and more situations such as yours (and surely will see more in the future).

    Ahhh...........to be a know-it-all student. Must be nice. Yea, just move. Nevermind if you have elderly parents needing your help. Never mind if your entire family is there. Nevermind if your spouse has a good job there. :rolleyes:

    Denial (by students) seems to be a metal disorder at this point. They simply shut off to anything they don't want to hear and instead focus on a fairytale presented by the schools and the AOA. Once again, sad. I am very fortunate that I came through school just in the nick of time (when you could still do fairly well in optometry).

    I wish the best for you. Good luck.
  18. ohiostateboy

    ohiostateboy Junior Member

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    Tippytoe, I concur. Pienfoo is in a predictable 10-step program.

    He/she was aware for four plus years of the dire job situation in Southern California. Even with that knowlege, he/she still waits until 2 months before graduation unitl he/she begins searching for an attractive opportunity. Finally, he/she is surprised when he/she cannont find a desirable job opportunity.

    Yet, no one else here reading Pienfoo's story is surprised at their current result and employment situation.

    Currently, Pienfoo is in denial, next anger, then depression, finally acceptance.
  19. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    Sounds like a rationalization for choosing a career in which there is no demand for additional practitioners.
  20. Shnurek

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    Are you kidding? That's like saying a person should be able to live in the Sahara and do glacier research. Or how about working Finance in Glasgow, Montana. Makes no sense.

    You go where the demand is.
  21. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    You always use these ridiculous arguments. You're not going to work on a glacier and anyone who goes to school to study glaciers would know the sahara won't work out long before they graduate.

    You are going to be doing glorified tech work in a quasi health profession that can be performed anywhere.

    Keep telling yourself you made a wise move going into this field and maybe you'll convince yourself by the time you graduate.

    No one should spend $200 grand and four years of their life getting an education that forces them to live somewhere they don't want to be so they can make a living.

    Other than summer camp, have you ever lived outside the city?
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  22. q1we3

    q1we3

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    Oh, come on. Why so down? Do I need to remind you that you a real Doctor and not just any doc, a CL Doc.
  23. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    Had a bad day...didn't save any lives!
  24. CMM83

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    It's easy to make these statements when you're a student. However, once you actually hit the point of exceptional knowledge in your field of study and have to start repaying all the money you've borrowed to gain that knowledge, you'll inevitably feel that society undervalues you. I wouldn't go as far to label my profession as a glorified technician, but just realize that there are better values out there for your tuition dollars both within and outside of healthcare.

    Don't get me wrong here, the actual day to day work is great. I live in a great town with good old-fashioned southern people as my patients. They probably value me more as an honest person, a friend, and member of their church than they do for the services I provide for them, and there's nothing wrong with that. I found a niche that suits me but that's what I wanted in the first place.

    Assuming that going where there's demand isn't that simple. You already like what you like. If, for some out-of-this-world reason the demand was in NYC, I'd rather stay in Tennessee and live under a bridge. The city is loud, smells like a landfill, and most people are rude and always in a hurry. I would quickly suffer cardiac arrest at age 30. The opposite is also true. Leaving behind a big city with so many conveniences and entertainment options you're accustomed to will be more shocking than you anticipate upon arrival at your new studio apartment in Montana. At least it might have a million dollar view of the mountain range.
  25. Shnurek

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    Such is life and I completely agree with you on the depiction of NYC. I'm not really used to much in the city. Most weekends I like to go to the beach or go hiking about an hour from where I live if its too cold for the beach. I'm fine with lakes in the summer and skiing in the winter. I'm only here for my financial situation. (Low in-state tuition and saved on one year of living costs) The only thing that's like decent with the city is the nightlife. Its good if you want to go drinking once every couple of weeks or so. Other than that I'm not a city person at heart.
  26. CMM83

    CMM83

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    Good call on the in-state tuition. If you enjoy outdoor activities then out west or the southeast might be a good fit for you. Just be careful with the drinking in some parts of the southeast since a number of dry counties and cities still exist. If one of your conservative patients saw the local eye doctor with a Bud Light, word would spread fast and a pastor would probably pay you a visit very soon. Something like this happened to a buddy of mine and lots of people in the community really looked down on him even though he'd only have a beer every now and then. I wasn't kidding about the old fashioned thing.
  27. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Ya out West is my dream. I just have to be patient! Not too much of a fan of the South though. Kinda hot, religious and no skiing :/
  28. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    The tech remark was intended to be sarcastic. I don't look at myself that way, but its the way a lot of others (especially MDs) look at ODs.
    We can't even get MDs in my neck of the woods, only DOs.

    I also enjoy my small town environment, but live under the microscope..so to speak. Every one knows what you're up to. I know someone in a nearby town who destroyed his practice with an extramarital affair. In new york that could be a practice builder!

    Living this lifestyle is not the same as weekend trips to the state park.
  29. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Exactly what I want. A place where people don't get lost in the anonymity of the crowds. Where people care about others and not just themselves. Where people's actions have long term consequences so they treat each other with respect and care. Where people that cheat are ousted from the society because if you take an oath then you should stay true to it.
  30. JMK2005

    JMK2005 Member

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    It's not that simple. You can live and work anywhere temporarily (ie. for school or residency) but spending the rest of your life in a less desirable area is a different story.

    Why do you think California is so impacted for for optometry and every other job market. People are willing to take the pay cut and less job security, despite the higher cost of living, pollution, earthquakes, government going bankrupt, etc.

    For many people, it's home despite all the incoveniences.
  31. pienfoo

    pienfoo

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    Like.
  32. Optomchick

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    agreed, willing to take a pay cut to stay in CA. Also if you live near a beach town, it doesn't really have the "city" vibe, we usually go hiking and other outdoor activities in CA too :p
  33. BeesKnees22

    BeesKnees22 Zoo of the New

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    Is this problem only in the so-called "desirable" parts of California? Or is it state-wide? What if one were willing to move inland a little bit or more to the Northern part of the state? I am asking this because I really want to move to California upon graduation to be with family and friends. I would even be happy making a little less than in the rural Midwest or wherever. I won't have a ton of loans to pay back, so I could deal with a little less money. If I won't even be able to find part-time work, then I will be in a real bind. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I really do enjoy optometry and the patient-doctor relationship, but I don't want to be relegated to the countryside for my career.
  34. Jason K

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    Ummm....you guys are aware that you're talking about California, right? Finding a decent position near a beach town in CA is like finding a misprinted $100 bill. It's not just about a pay cut - it's about finding pay.....any pay.

    I've been told if you move to the more inland parts of central CA, there is work to be found. Consider that CA is a very large, reasonably "wide" state. If you're in the central portion of the state (as far as distance from the coast), you'll be several hours from any coast line and you'll likely be living amongst people with fewer teeth than fingers.

    Just some thoughts to consider....
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  35. OpticalBlackOut

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    The last two posts before Jason's make it seem like the original post was not read at all?!

    I have had numerous classmates who are from California now completely looking elsewhere for jobs. Unless you can survive only working on Fri./Sat./possible Sunday commercially part-time (with one of the lowest optometry wages in the country), it's not feasible to work in California- Southern or Northern. You can also hunt down positions where doctors have to go on maternity leave, but dealing with all this instability would drive me insane.

    I have been to conferences and talked to many practicing ODs there; it's the ugly truth.
  36. Shnurek

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    I have talked to professors in my school and even they tell me to STAY AWAY from southern California lol

    I heard figures of $65,000 being thrown around for full time work in saturated southern California.

    I bet you its a similar trend in payscale for ophthalmologists as well. Maybe around the $120,000 range for them.
  37. Optomchick

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    I wouldn't mind central CA, anyone know if Northern CA is better?
  38. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Moderator

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    2010 MGMA data for ophthalmology in HHS9 region (California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii) - Median salary was $451,840. Nationwide, the mean was $376,943, median was $338,208. 25th percentile was $250,671 and 75th percentile was $456,444.
  39. Shnurek

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    Did you miss the part where I said Southern California?
  40. Shnurek

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    Heh, even $90k is being thrown around for ophthalmologists in saturated areas. Gee this post sounds very much like another profession I know :rolleyes:
  41. q1we3

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    It looks like most grads who want to move back are mostly females. You know there is a world outside of California.I have lived in three different countries in the past 10 years, you don't have to go back to where you came from. Change is not always bad. But in a way this is good for students like us, actually I hope all grads move to California so there are better opportunities in other states.
  42. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    I agree to some extent. Usually more family oriented and risk aversive. (sorry I'm not PC but there's a whole scientific journal that's not PC: http://www.bsd-journal.com/) However, I anecdotally heard that 2 female ODs from SUNY that loved shopping all the time ended up in the rural midwest lol. And they love it.

    Exactly, that's why as a male I feel as though I have an advantage to some extent and you should too. The only disadvantage might be if we don't have any females in our practice to make some female patients and children comfortable :/
  43. blazenmadison

    blazenmadison

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    It isn't about the salary or even the oversupply.

    It's the amount of student debt ($200k!!) that these new grads come out with. They then don't make enough money to pay back their student loans. I don't know why all these newspapers keeping listing optometry as a good future career.

    A physician assistant can make as much but only need 2 -3 years of postgraduate training/tuition. Heck, Salus and SCCO optometry schools realized how unprofitable optometry school is and started their own physician assistant schools. Smart move for them.
  44. gambit78

    gambit78

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    SDN 2+ Year Member
    This year was the first time I had seen such shortened operating hours for an eye dr. clinic (I'm the one who posted about balking over the Sears Optical store opening a few hrs (or 90 min. even) per day). Now I'm wondering if the Walmarts/Targets will latch on to the same idea and not have it open all day.
  45. hello07

    hello07

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    Optometrist
    SDN 5+ Year Member

    Absolutely NO WAY 120K for OMD. Shnurek, I understand you are riding high on your horse whatever color it may be along with the fact the Optometry schools are brain washing you into believing you can one day perform retinal surgery. The fact remains, all physician salaries especially past 2 years are very high than any other healthcare profession. You can't equate our measely salaries with those of OMDs even in California. Look up hawkins 2011-2012 MD specialties. You will want to cry. I almost did. our salary as OD's is getting worse by the years b/c of saturation and limited positions-even in the big cities that once called for you-now no longer care. You have some awakening coming to you.
  46. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Such anger and excessive hyperbole in your post. If you want people to take you seriously then be more refined in your arguments.

    No OD school or OD representative has ever brainwashed me. I looked up Optometry on my own. Nice try though.

    Why would I cry when all I want is $100k? That's more than enough for me. I'm not a materialist.
  47. q1we3

    q1we3

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    So is that your minimum? How low of a income will you be happy with?
  48. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    I can't really tell you now. I'd have to have it first and live with it for a while to give you an opinion.
  49. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Jun 10, 2011
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    Optometrist
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    You're hoping for an amount of money that's more than about half of all ODs make right now. Going "Forward," Obama pun intended, ODs will see even less income, especially new ones.

    I hope you'll be happy with an income cap in the 80s - that's very likely where you'll be. ODs making 6 figures will probably be a rarity in 15 years. It's simple supply and demand. The supply will be there, many times over, so the demand will be extremely low on a per OD basis.
  50. Optomchick

    Optomchick

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2012
    Messages:
    351
    this is incredibly sexist. Why do you think SCCO and Berk are so hard to get into? Because EVERYONE wants to stay in CA, not just females. I personally love it here, so I don't see why I would move somewhere else. And if you're in a relationship, it would be hard to ask your SO to move to the middle of nowhere just so you can earn some extra bucks.

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