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Is Anyone Actually Satisfied?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by BeesKnees22, 01.26.12.

  1. BeesKnees22

    BeesKnees22 Zoo of the New

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    I'm starting at PCO next fall. I have to admit that these forums have been making me a little nervous about this career path. I do understand that the nature of forums causes them to be a little self-selective, but the tone here seems to be overwhelmingly negative. Is there anyone who actually enjoys this job and makes decent money?

    I have around a 3.9 GPA as a pre-med major, and I'm starting to think that maybe I should do something else. If I'm honest, I don't really know that I feel like going through med school and actually becoming a medical doctor. Most of my friends and some of my cousins are pharmacists, and I've been considering pharmacy as well. However, I get bored very easily, and I always thought that optometry would provide me with a stable career and a little more day-to-day interaction. I've also been led to believe that the market for pharmacists is going to be saturated soon too.

    I do care about the welfare of people, and I would like a job where I can help others, but I also enjoy living well. Am I making a mistake? I wouldn't even mind working for a corporation like Wal-Mart if I had to. If I could hear a few success stories, I think my mind would be put at ease, but I also want to point out that I appreciate the honesty of the posters who seem to be less than thrilled with this profession.
  2. optsuker

    optsuker

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    I still love going to work every day. Love seeing patients and the environment is much nicer than most medical fields. I make a good salary working 4 days/week and usually take 4 weeks of vacation along with a yearly mission trip. I own a PP and employ other OD's.

    The big problem is that getting to where I am now is significantly more difficult to get to and once the new, unnecessary schools start graduating OD's, it will be a cut-throat world to be employed in and difficult to pay off student loans quick enough to enjoy the bulk of your career.

    If you're motivated and get lucky, you still can succeed. It'll just be a whole lot tougher.

    For as much as I love my job, I'm not encouraging my kdis to follow in my footsteps.
  3. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    I think you can find quite a few happy ODs around. Older ones mostly. They made their carreer success during an easier, happier time.

    Optometry, and all health fields in general I suppose, allow you to help people. That's the good part. And you MUST be a people-person because you are dealing with people complaining about their problems all day,every day for 50 years. Lots of other jobs have that. And please remember about 20% of the population are complete arseholes. But listening to people complaint all day, every day can get to you.

    But we have the added problem of having to hear of their 5 different complaints and then given 10 minutes to diagnose and fix them all. For this, we get to send a $100 bill off to Omaha, Nebraska (or wherever) and wait 45 days to see what they will allow us to have for all of our work. If we are lucky, they will graciously give us $34.73. We are not allowed to balance bill the patient a penny more. Whatever they decide to pay us (completely randomly) is what we get. No if, ands or buts.

    Health care is very screwed up in general. ODs and OMDs have to deal with both medical and vision insurance which doubles the headaches.

    So many people go into health care and optometry in particular thinking it's a nice relaxing 9-5 job where you give people glasses and they are thrilled because they can see great and they go home and bake you a cake.

    When in reality, people many times come into your office in a bad mood, they are rude to your staff (causing frequent staff turnover), have no idea about their insurance, expect you to be an expert on their insurance, want you to give them glasses and contacts for $80 total because they saw an ad in the newspaper for some bait and switch store scheme. They want the glasses in 1 hour. They want their red eye medication you prescribed to cost $4 and make it better in six hours.

    After your lab makes their glasses the patient frequently decide they want a different color or simply decide they didn't want to spend the money (or spouse got mad at them for spending money)--ie. buyers remorse. They don't realize that lenses are custom made and you already spent money to buy them for the patient (you have to pay the optical lab no matter what). We can thank Walmart and Lenscrafters for the "pt is always right" idea.

    Expenses are through the roof. Yellow page ads can be $1,000 per month. Phones for an office can be $500+ per month. Staff expenses are crazy. Taxes are even crazier. If you work for someone else, they will take a big chunk of your money because they will have to deal with all that B.S.

    So many of your patients are nice to work with. Many are complete a-holes that ruin your day many many times over.

    And on top of this, some months you work for free because insurance companies decide to hold your checks......just because. There are no rules for them. They can do what they want. I'm currently waiting on $16,000 that Medicare owes me but simply won't pay. No reason why. Who do you complain to when the gov't doesn't pay. Answer: Not a damn soul!

    So in a nutshell. Optometry has just changed so much that it's not a very desirable field anymore.
  4. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Not much I can say to add to what's already been said - I agree with all of it. Optometry is just a ship that's slowly disappearing below the waterline. Student's apply because they see what they want to see and not what's actually there. If you see an office with a couple of ODs in their mid 50s and you think you want to sign up for what they have accomplished, you might be very disappointed when you graduate and find out that the only practical way you can make ends meet is to take a commercial crap position - or more likely, several of them.

    The problem with optometry is that it's like a wounded gazelle on the plains of the Africa. Corporate interests (lions), new schools out for making $ (hyenas), and insurance companies (insurance companies), have spotted the wounded animal, pounced on it, and they're tearing it apart, limb from limb. Everyone's out to get a piece of the carcass before there's nothing left at all. That's what's happened to optometry. If you want to get on board despite all the warnings, the risk is yours. I'd visit ODWire in the pre-optometry forum. To be honest, this place is 98% pre-ops and OD students who are feeding their own wishes so it creates a warm, clueless, self-reinforcing environment.
    Last edited: 01.27.12
  5. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    All of healthcare is screwed up to some extent in America and especially with this recession things may not look too bright for any profession. But I say if you can get out of opto school with $50,000 or less in debt then you will be happy. Crazy how taking out loans for school now is the standard. What ever happened to people saving first and then spending?
  6. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Shnurek - first off - not everyone can live at home with mom and dad until they're 30 and then head off into life with their savings account. There is, however, some hidden truth in your statement in that if everyone waited until they had saved up enough to go to optometry school, they might have become wise enough to realize the integrity of the investment. Since most OD programs cost well over 100K these days, there aren't many people out there who can save that up before they're 30.

    Secondly - you're right - all medicine is trashed right now, but the reality is, MDs and dentists do their complaining from much larger homes, newer cars, and 2 - 10x the income, not to mention infinitely more diverse career potential/options. It's easy to say "It's all about doing what you love...." and if it were 1978 right now, I'd agree with you, but when you're spinning dials in America's Best or Walmart, you might think back to that statement and realize how ridiculous it is.
    Last edited: 01.27.12
  7. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Jason why didn't you go to med school then. Do bad on your MCAT?
  8. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Shnurek - I'm not going to sit here and quote my stats from undergrad and beyond, but let's just say I could have gone to about any med school I wanted to. Perhaps that's why I'm even more nauseated with what optometry has to offer these days. I steered myself toward an OD because of what I thought it offered, not what it actually did offer. It all looked good on the surface, especially when compared to medicine. The reality is, we put up with the same insurance nightmares, but we actually get reimbursed less in many cases, just because we have an "O" instead of an "M" in our degree. The diversity in career potential is nonexistent in optometry compared to what it is in medicine. As screwed up as both fields are, medicine is much more solid option since the profession is not facing virtual extinction.

    If someone has done extraordinarily poorly in undergrad and can't get into any other clinical doctorate program, maybe an OD would be a good consolation prize, but if you've done well, it just amounts to a waste of your academic record and your future. It's nothing against current ODs, it's just the reality of what has happened to the profession.

    The future generation of ODs will not be of the quality of those who built the profession. The quality of the ODs coming out of school in the future will only decline as schools start scrounging for souls gullible enough to sign on the dotted line.
    Last edited: 01.27.12
  9. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Jason K can you explain what you would do if you had a 3.2 GPA from a decent private university, a passion for science and good test taking skills nowadays? Would you consider Caribbean MD?
  10. Jason K

    Jason K

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    No. I'd go to the cheapest dental program I could find. In my opinion, that's the only health profession worth doing right now for someone who wants a Dr. before their name. I can't tell you how many dentists I know who are going to cash only. ODs can't do it - patients don't value our services enough.

    Regardless, the worst MD from the worst school in the middle of the Caribbean is far more of an asset than an OD from any of the 427 colleges of optometry that exist now or are on deck to start. I've been to an MD from a Caribbean medical school. He was just as competent as any other I've seen. Granted, his career options may not be the same as someone who graduated from Hopkins, but he's a hell of a lot better off than an OD at Walmart.
    Last edited: 01.27.12
  11. BeesKnees22

    BeesKnees22 Zoo of the New

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    First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the earnest replies. I really do appreciate everyone's time. I'm at a loss for what to do in this economy. My best friend just graduated from a top ten American university with good grades and fantastic internships, and she is still have big trouble finding a job. My friends who are in pharmacy do not seem to be satisfied. I'm talented in the academic realm, and I've worked hard. I don't want to be disappointed.

    I feel like I can be honest here without a lot of judgment, so if you will allow, I would like to bring up the subject of money a little bit. My parents have been fairly generous, and after undergrad, I have no debt. I would say we are pretty comfortably middle class, but they can't simply pay for this 200K optometry degree (as I doubt many families can). I'm taking out government loans, and my parents are going to try to at least keep up with the interest for me. I feel guilty already about all they've done for me. I don't want to end up in debt and unable to live nicely after all of this work. I'm not a superficial person, but I like to be rewarded. I will be crushed if this doesn't pan out.

    Could I make enough money if I worked at a Wal-Mart or Walgreens? Would anyone suggest going into pharmacy instead? Damn, maybe I should start looking into medical schools or even dental schools. My friend's father is a dentist, and their garage is literally larger than most of the normal homes I know, including mine--not that I need that kind of money. I don't want to come off as greedy.

    Thanks again, everyone.
  12. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    From everything I've been hearing dentistry is the best deal in healthcare RIGHT NOW. But you never know what will happen to the profession in the future. Even if you end up in Walmart you will still make 100k so optometry is better than pharmacy for the long run because once you start working at a Walmart for example as a pharmacist, there is not much more you can do. 95% of pharmacy is commercial. Optometry is like 25% if I'm not mistaken.
  13. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Optometry may be around 25% (it's actually highter - I can almost guarantee you that), but if you assume that it is at 25 right now, that number applies to current, established ODs. It does not apply to those graduating. The numbers I'm seeing for grads entering practice are in the neighborhood of 70% going commercial.

    Oh, and you are absolutely, positively, definitely NOT guaranteed to make 100K at Walmart. I have no idea where you got that from. Six figures at box locations are certainly possible and not all that uncommon, but again, it's not new grads that occupy those slots most often. It's older, established ODs who are not about to give their "slot" to a newbie. Most available leases these days are Sam's and you'll spend some days staring at the lawnmowers and watching fat people in sweatpants and sandals walking by your box asking you for directions to the Vitamix demo. I have a several OD friends who have signed up for Sam's leases only to quickly realize the growth is completely stagnant and they can't support the location. Then you're stuck trying to con some new grad into taking hours from you so you can work somewhere else and actually make money. It's a bundle of joy - better make sure when you sign on for that lease that you're getting what you think you're getting. Sound familiar?

    You can try as hard as you want to cram a square peg into a round hole, but optometry is not what you think it is. You'll see soon enough. Sorry, dude. Better to realize it now than in 3 years when you're thrown into the ice water.
  14. Meibomian SxN

    Meibomian SxN

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    If this is the case then I would not pursue the OD degree at this point. The majority of 95% of ODs day is refracting. Simple as that. Some medical cases come in but the PRIMARY reason patients are coming to you is for refractive care. Everything else is secondary.

    Yes, you can make enough. But remember, you will have hours like 9am-7/8pm M-F and a DEFINITE Saturday, possible Sundays also. Yes, Sundays because this is retail and optometry is rapidly (if not already) a retail oriented profession. So while you'll just break over $100K in a commercial setting (like your pharmacist friends) your hours will be non-family oriented. After 1yr you will feel cheap and after 2 years you'll be burned out.

    I'd say nurses (and possibly physician assistants) have the best leg up in this economy because their scope is always increasing, tuition reimbursement programs, not a high income/debt ratio, various career options, etc. I'm not saying its as easy as cake but compared to all other health professionals (including doctors) they have it the best. Many people get hung up on the "You're not a doctor" stigma though.

    If you planned accordingly, your debt would be nowhere near $200K, especially if your parents are that generous enough to continue to help you. If you graduated and worked your first 5yrs in commercial making ~$100K and lived like a student still, you could easily pay your loans off in 5-7yrs. Then you'd be in a MUCH better position to buy a practice or buy into a practice. Is it worth the investment? I can't answer that because any business is a risky venture.

    If you want a career, I would say take the year off and apply to MD/DO school. Its only 4years of schooling and residency is a paid position. Even if it was a Caribbean school, if you pass the USMLEs, you will be fine in getting a residency. Obviously not the tops picks but you will. I have 3 friends who did the Caribbean route and one's an ER doc, one's an anesthesiologist and the other is an ophthalmologist. None are unemployed.

    Dentistry, like optometry and podiatry, are specialties. So if you could not see yourself examining teeth or eyes or feet all day, then I would suggest to steer away from it.

    Your GPA is nice and I'm assuming you're young. I would highly recommend considering another health profession. And if you want to really see, ask your local Walmart or commercial chain optometrist can you shadow them for 3-4 Saturdays for 1 month. Then come back and tell us if we were exaggerating. Good luck :xf:
  15. hello07

    hello07

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    If you have a 3.9 GPA apply to med schools and forget OD, DDS and pharmacy shools. You'll work just as hard in any of the 4 professions but probably harder in years of training to become an MD. As a physician you'll be more marketable than an OD. More options more $$$$. Yeah, you'll have alos more stress n more responsibility to your patients. But that's life.
    I want you to know that our profession Optometry has been divided more than ever before. Too long to get into it.

    The money making in optometry in MHO is over.
    Think well before you commit to 200,000.00 in education.

    Good Luck to you!
  16. BeesKnees22

    BeesKnees22 Zoo of the New

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    Thanks again, everyone. I'll think this over carefully.
    Last edited: 01.28.12
  17. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    I have a question: Do students from SUNY have a higher chance of being employed by private practice docs? We have higher incoming stats and the classes really kick our butts.
  18. 4Eyes

    4Eyes

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    I have to admit, I don't know how long SDN has been around, but if I had access to something like this when I was about to start school, I probably would have reconsidered. I love the work itself, but it's difficult to make it worth all you put into it, both time and money-wise. I'm not the career-driven person I thought I would be though. I'm different now that I have a family. When I started school, there were a number of areas near my home where I had considered starting cold. By the time I graduated, they were all saturated with new grads who got out of school in the 1-3 years before I did.

    Good luck with your decision.
  19. Jason K

    Jason K

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    No one will care that you went to SUNY and had a little more stress than the guy at Puerto Rico or Ferris. You're not going to find a PP owner out there who says "Wow, this guy went to SUNY - I'm gonna pay him more..." If you're at MidwesternU, WesternU, or any of the other new student-loan-based theft rings, you should expect to receive some degree of snubbing from the PP world, but that doesn't mean grads from more established schools will receive special treatment.
  20. q1we3

    q1we3

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    BeesKnees22, listen and listen well "DO NOT WASTE YOUR 3.9 GPA". Write your MCAT and apply to med school. If you don't get in go to DO school. End of story.

    Most people who go into are in the following situation
    1. Don't have a high GPA to get into MD school
    2. No option of DO school
    3. Don't want to go to Caribbean MD school
    4. Hate working with teeth
    5. Female who wants to work part-time and also take care of the family (main reason this field is female dominant)

    However, if you don't mind working at one or two commercial locations while making 70-80k (before taxes and loan payments) then welcome aboard. The reality is, success in this field is highly dependent on luck and how deep your family pockets are.
  21. hello07

    hello07

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    I salute you q1we3. Well spoken. There are thousands of premed applicants with 3.49-3.50 GPA and above average MCATs (30-32) that don't get in not once or twice. Some with even 3.60 but below average MCATs <29 that do NOT GET IN. Rejected several times.
    Why waste your 3.9 on optometry?
    You'll never earn the respect of MD's no matter how much of a brilliant clinician you become as an OD. Pts will respect you and you'll save peoples sight, and even life but trust me no matter how hard we try it's all public perception.

    Look at the AOA and all the smoke and mirrors they are trying to pull off w board certification. This has pissed off alot of our optometric educators and leaders across this country.

    Go to med school!
  22. BeesKnees22

    BeesKnees22 Zoo of the New

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    Wow, I seriously do appreciate that everyone is taking the time to reply to me. For a while I have been planning on only working for about 10-15 years in the field, saving up, and then getting into real estate. That's one reason that I'm not sure whether or not I want to put all of the time and effort into becoming an MD or DO. (I also don't want to give people the impression that I won't take my job seriously or that I'll sell my patients short.) Is it highly unlikely that I'll actually be able to make 100K per year? I talked to my parents again, and they said that they are planning on paying a large chunk of my tuition, even though I told them not to worry about it. I shouldn't be too bad on the loan front when I graduate. I'm thinking about ordering some MCAT materials though. People have been telling me for ages that I should just be an MD. I'm a lost soul right now.
  23. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    It is one of the hardest decisions I had to make in my life. To choose my graduate area of study. Almost everything is so specific and specialized. You really become what you choose. You have many doors available to you. Don't worry about what other people think is best for you. Choose the profession that is best for yourself. 100k starting is rare but attainable if you are highly flexible about where to work. 80-90k is average I think for starting.
  24. q1we3

    q1we3

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    OD school is no cake walk especially if you go to established ones who are pushing to expand the scope with injections and minor surgeries and whole lot of other stuff. If you have to work hard at certain doctorate degree, why not get the one that gives the most benefits. You don't have to do surgery, there is always family medicine, you still get paid during residency. You can do real estate after, no matter if you are OD or MD.

    The main problem with optometry is not necessarily the money, it is the direction optometry is heading due to oversupply. If every OD only worked in a private practice practicing full scope while making 70-80k I would gladly recommend the career to everyone. Because the lifestyle and respect will be there. Unfortunately, private practices jobs are getting harder and harder to find every year. Commercial optometry is no fun, refracting all day, can't practice full scope, no respect, pressure to sell products etc.

    With 3.9 GPA you owe it yourself to take some time to think, write the MCAT and go from there. You will thank everyone on this forum later.
  25. Jason K

    Jason K

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    The first half of your statement is accurate. 100K is rare, but attainable. If you remove low-end, garbage positions like America's Best and Cohen's, it's even more rare. In a PP environment, it's absolutely unheard of.

    Regarding the second half of your statement, 80-90K is NOT - and I will say this again and again since pre-ops and OD students repeatedly state this - is NOT the average starting salary. You're dreaming if you think that you and your buddies will average 80-90K coming out of school. If you filter yourself by taking average PP starting salaries, it's much lower still - probably low 70s. You're also not accounting for all those grads who don't find any work - and there's plenty of those as well. You guys just don't get it. Optometry can't support you - any of you.

    To the OP, if you've got a solid academic record with a 3.9 and you choose optometry, I absolutely guarantee you that you'll be in my position in a few years. Trust me, you don't want to end up wishing you'd played your chips at a different table. Grad school is way too expensive these days to consider do-overs. Once you commit to an OD or MD, just about anything else is virtually out the window. Don't do what I did - pick a profession that actually needs you. What that is, I can't tell you, but just pick something that actually has room for one more person. Optometry is not that profession. Why anyone would choose to devote their life to a career that is screaming "We Do Not Need One More Person!" is beyond me.

    I'm actually cutting my hours back to half time since I'm in the process of leaving the profession - for good. I'm not alone. There are many other younger ODs working on exit strategies right now - the field is just drying up before our eyes and no one can really do a damn thing about it. I can somewhat understand the pre-ops who come on here with a 1.2 GPA and 200 on the OAT asking if optometry is the right choice. They have nowhere else to go, but Midwestern or WesternU, maybe the new place in Mass. But if you've got a 3.9, you've got a wide open door to any profession you choose. Please - don't waste your effort on this career. You'll be furious if you do.

    And if all else fails.....you may just want to watch these little gems....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk2YpECr9XI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYCo_fzXjjo
    Last edited: 01.29.12
  26. hello07

    hello07

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    If you do decide on Optometry, don't ever tell anyone you had a 3.9 GPA in undergrad. Alot will not believe you or question your motive as to why didn't you apply to med school?
    When I got in back in the late 80's, there were 2200 applications for little over 100 seats. Competition was fierce. Nowadays, this is making me sick looking at the tuition n how admission standards have changed. BTW- don't read AOA student profiles. They embellish the stats to make our profession look great. Same goes with salary. Be it private, corporate, academic or etc......all bogus numbers.

    Just giving you a heads up play.
    If I had to do it over again, I would have taken my MCATS and If I didn't get in anywhere here on first attempt I'd go Caribbean. Looking back at it, it's been a wonderful lifestyle(can't complain) money good nothing great but aim higher. Become something "MORE THAN AN OPTOMETRIST." I'm sorry but that's how we OD's feel out there. Well, the ons that are honest with themselves.
    From my spoken heart!
  27. BeesKnees22

    BeesKnees22 Zoo of the New

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    Once again, thanks everyone. I guess the main thing keeping me from med school is that I really don't know that I want to be a medical doctor. I think I have the intellect, but I don't know if it would be fair to my patients to go in halfheartedly. I mostly worried now about going through another four years of school and not being able to live comfortably--or worse not being able to make ends meet.
  28. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    If you don't want to be an MD then do not become an MD. I know a few people that are just doing it for the money/respect and they are miserable jackasses that people don't like to chill with anymore. You can look into PhD as well. They pay you to go to school like 30k stipends or something like that or at least tuition is free. Research is fun but PhD is a long road. Or go work for a few years to learn more about yourself and what you like to do.
  29. amaprez

    amaprez

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    I'm kinda intruding on this opto thread, but it sounds like you've got the stats to apply for medicine, but the main thing holding you back is that you don't want to commit to the length/stress of training (4 years school + 3 years working 80hrs/week as a resident)

    Have you thought about Physician Assistant school? Only 2.5 years of school & $100k/year for new grads is the norm nowadays. The only catch: it's a Masters, not a Doctorate & you'll be working at the level of a permanent junior resident (meaning you will almost always have MD supervision). If you don't care about titles and power then maybe you should check it out.
  30. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    PA is not 100k its more like 75k-80k. Also you need about a year of shadowing before you can even apply.
  31. blazenmadison

    blazenmadison

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    What is motivating you to put down optometry every way you can? You're like one of my former classmates in college that sabotages everyone's chemistry experiments so he could get an A.

    Corporate/chains - 100k-115k starting out salaries with benefits.
    Private practice - 80-90k avg. I got 90k+ benefits for myself when I started in PP.
    You have to factor in LOCATION and demand. An OD salary in Chicago is going to be much lower than an OD salary in North Dakota. u

    Overall there is a surplus of ODs and it will be harder to find 'decent' positions. Just be prepared to work in areas you may not want to...

    Here's an ad for a 100k private practice job near Little Rock, AR with benefits.
    http://www.pointandpost.com/jobs/jobpage.asp?jobid=ar-ma-1363&dn=www.etsvision.com
  32. hiddenf

    hiddenf

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    If you are able to graduate with under 100k in debt , would you guys consider optometry worth going for?
  33. blazenmadison

    blazenmadison

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    Yes. Try to limit your debt to one year of salary. Otherwise choose a profession with less expensive schooling.
  34. Veritas23

    Veritas23

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    .
    Last edited: 03.28.13
  35. Jason K

    Jason K

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    What is motivating you to claim that I'm "putting down optometry?" Pointing out the realities of the future of a diseased profession is hardly bashing, it's telling the truth. Learn the difference, please.

    I'm leaving optometry and yet you're going to argue that I'm somehow trying to "sweeten the pot" for myself? That makes a ton of sense - really it does. Think &#8211; use your brain &#8211; look a the situation objectively and figure things out for yourself. God, it's like I'm talking to an applicant or something.

    Corporate/chains starting at 100K - 115K? Really? Maybe you're referring to the wonderful America's Best? Maybe Cohen's? Have you ever worked in a place like that? Those places aren't optometry offices; they're refraction mills of the worst kind. And for God's sake, learn what an average is. It's not the number you dream up in your head, it's a figure based on factual data. Have you surveyed dozens of outgoing grads? I have. The few lucky enough to land PP positions are not averaging 80-90, they're getting 70-80, sometimes with minimal or no benefits. Learn the political realities before you start throwing claims around like crap in a monkey enclosure.

    Are you serious? You're going to post a single job listing from ETS and use that as proof that all is well in optometry? Wake up there wunderkind, the offer looks great and if there were about 2000 more of them available, maybe I wouldn't be on here. You're not in touch with 3 programs and I'm sure you're not tallying where the grads from even one program are going, are you? That's what I thought. Stop applying YOUR situation, whatever it is, to everyone else's future possibilities. "I'm really happy in my OD position so optometry must be great for everyone coming down the pipeline." Never heard that one before. My situation is what caused me to investigate the realities of the profession, but it's not what causes me to issue warnings about the future of the profession. If you don't see the reality that over 2000 grads will be coming out of OD programs every year in the near future, most of them with nowhere but crap commercial junk "optometry" positions, then that's your own fault and highlights your own cluelessness.

    2000 grads per year, with more schools on the way. Yup, another one on deck in Nevada now.
    +very few PP openings for grads
    +even fewer FT PP openings
    +declining pay due to oversupply
    +declining pay due to insurance cuts
    +declining pay due to herpetic corporate expansion, driving the value of our services further into the dirt
    +Most grads going into commercial, further feeding the corporate expansion problem
    SUM TOTAL = NO FUTURE IN OPTOMETRY FOR MOST GRADUATES FROM NOW ON


    Add it all up and see what you come up with. Think - stop and think about it. What are you in your first year of practice? You sound like someone who has very little understanding of the situation. Read up, please. Learn what you're talking about. I never agreed with most of what KHE would say on this thing, but at least he backed up his views with arguments that made sense. You're posting a listing from ETS and trying to make it sound like cup runneth over. It's ODs like you who are spreading the problem - you're completely clueless as to what's going on right in front of you and you're dragging a lot of innocent bystanders with you. Don't forget to send that AOA check in. They're gonna need it.
    Last edited: 01.30.12
  36. Meibomian SxN

    Meibomian SxN

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    Exactly. PA and nursing are all medical care, no retail and a much lighter debt/income ratio.
  37. Meibomian SxN

    Meibomian SxN

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    Even with $100K in loans, the new OD would still be in a shark infested pool of new grads + previous grads + senior docs who's 401K got hit hard. As long as they know their odds and the pros/cons, then that's a fair assessment.
  38. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    Go into MD or DDS.

    You can be in a financially better situation with either one than OD.

    But this is looking at your question and answering it with only the financial aspect considered.

    You have to decide what you'd like to do with your time.

    My guess is that if in 10 years you want to go into real estate - then do not do MD. MD is more of a lifelong commitment because of residency (which can extend from 3-8 years) and you'll be playing catch up with your loans for some time in addition to catching up after being beaten down as a resident for so long.

    DDS can be good. You can practice general dentistry and get by. But if you wanted to do something like oral surgery or orthodontics - you will need to do residency as well.

    OD is ok if you know what you're getting yourselves into - the people on this forum are informed enough to help you with that.
  39. BeesKnees22

    BeesKnees22 Zoo of the New

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    I'm afraid that I would become one of those miserable jackasses, which I would not be able to handle. I do consider myself to be a really nice person in real life, so I would hate to see myself become sour. PA school is something that I have thought about, and I might look into it a bit more, but I do think that I am going to rule out being an MD. I just really don't think that it's for me. I think it is a life-long commitment, and I would like to eventually get into business/real estate.

    When I graduate, I don't think that I'll be in too much of a bad way, at least debt wise. My parents are being generous about this, so my only issue with that now is guilt. But I know they don't want me to feel guilty.

    I also shadowed with a Wal-Mart OD, and I know you guys aren't happy about the corporate takeover of the profession, but the OD was honestly one of the nicest, happiest people I have ever met in my life. He and I talked quite a bit throughout my shadowing, and I know that he was being sincere. Please also note that I'm not questioning anyone's sincerity here either.

    I'll stop asking questions here soon because I feel bad for making people write out replies so much. I know that you guys aren't pharmacists, but I'm sure some of you probably know people in the business or maybe even a little about the profession. Do you think that I would be in a better boat if I went into pharmacy? It seems like their market is also getting pretty saturated, and my friends tell me that they also encounter long, monotonous hours.

    Thanks again, you guys have been great!
  40. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Honestly, I'd do DDS/DMD. Every program is tough and eventually you get sick of eyes for example when you do OD. So if you can learn to love teeth then go dental. Their profession is much more organized and they have more horizontal (dentists can do pretty much the same thing in every state) and vertical integration (residencies, oral surgery, no MDs hovering above them). PharmD is OK if you like organic chemistry.
  41. q1we3

    q1we3

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    "learn to love teeth" I don't think this individual has as any interest in teeth what so ever and neither in MD. I would still pick optometry over pharmacy but that's just my opinion. If you are happy and fully content with working commercial as an OD then optometry might not be such a bad idea. Walmart, America's best, lenscrafters etc will always be hiring.
  42. Jason K

    Jason K

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    I would tend to agree with this, more or less. Commercial is where the jobs will be in the future. They won't be good jobs since the majority will probably be PT w/o benefits, but that's where they'll be.

    I'd be careful lining up WM, LC, and America's Best in the same plane, though. They are worlds apart from each other in almost every respect, other than the fact that they all offer very little autonomy. If I were forced to choose between the three, I'd take a high-volume, established WM lease over either of the other two options you mentioned. Keep in mind that the majority of new WM/Sam's leases that are popping up right now will not be high-volume for a long time, if ever. Sam's Clubs are being built within 3 ft of existing, well-established WM opticals and the Sam's opticals just sit there with 3 patients per day - sometimes for years. Anyone looking into a Sam's lease had better be ready to sit on their tail for about 6 hours per day. Make sure you've got a great internet connection - you'll need it to pass the time. After that would come LC, and beyond that America's Worst - about 250 miles down the road. Walmart and LC can actually resemble optometry if the practitioner chooses, but America's Best is not and never will be optometry. It's pure refracting and absolutely nothing else, all done in a sleezy, plaid-suit-wearing-used-car salesman-like fashion. That's not optometry.
  43. q1we3

    q1we3

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    Can't comment on America Best since there is none in Canada. Lenscrafters/ Pearl vision seem to look the most professional and clean, well at least the ones I have shadowed at, OD didn't mind those too much. Since, those are well known companies associated with eye care. They generally attract tolerable patients and let OD do their work.

    But, Walmart might be a different story. It all depends who you are working with, not all WM are the same. If people understand and respect you for what you do it is not too bad. Thing to keep in mind don't take the first commercial gig, they all kind of suck (compared to PP) but some suck way more.
  44. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Shadowing someone in a Pearle/LC setting does not give you an impression of what it's like to work in one of those places. They will give the appearance of "clean" optometry, but it's anything but. Don't count on an honest opinion from a Luxottica doc either, there are "sectret shoppers" who will visit you and take notes on every word you say or don't say in the exam room. For that reason, Lux docs are not going to be open and honest because to do so could bite them in the ass. Working for PV/LC as a PT doc is fine, they don't get their teeth into you and the pay is reasonable, but when you sign up for FT with one of those places, you're signing your life away. Don't believe me if you'd like, but go work for a Lux location as a FT doc for a while and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. There's a reason they will hire as a FT "hourly" doc instead of on salary. They want to be able to cut your hours back if you don't perform to their usually unrealistic numbers.

    WM is still not totally autonomous - far from it. But you can practice with less restrictions in that setting. Luxottica will tell you when you can pee, when you can breathe, and how to be a doctor. Legally, they can't do it, but they get around it and do it anyway. You guys who don't believe me will see once you get out.

    Like Tippytoe said in an earlier post, whatever frustration or "anger" you guys might show towards the ODs on here who are shedding dark light on the subject will be dwarfed by your future disappointment that we didn't try harder.
  45. euphaire

    euphaire Blank

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    Hey guys,

    I've seen my share of negativity about optometry on this forum. For PPs, corporations like Lenscrafters are not beneficial to their practice. However, I think PP optometrists can still make a good living and are not necessarily always competing with big boxes - because PP optometrists still dominate the contact lenses business. Yesterday, I was at the mall looking to buy contact lenses (first time user). The laws in Canada, and maybe U.S. as well, require people to visit an optometrist before getting fitted for contacts. The mall optometrist (PP) charges $99 for the exam, $50~60 for the fitting (optional, if you already know how to wear them), and another $50 "deposit" that pays towards a year's supply of contacts (I believe this is to make you commit to pay for at least a year's supply). Not a low fee at all. Also, the doc's office is right next to the Lenscrafter, whose staff refers anyone looking for contact lenses to the doc next door because Lenscrafter doesn't deal with contacts. I didn't interview the optometrist, but it is my belief that the optometrist makes a good living because 1. he's been in the mall forever and 2. he gets ALL the contact lenses business.
    In countries like Singapore, the laws are different. You can buy contact lenses from any optical store without going to an optometrist. As a matter of fact, optometrists don't (or rarely do) exist in Singapore. Here, the laws require people to go through optometrists to get contact lenses, so I think that PP optometrists can still earn a very good living by dominating the niche of contact lenses. I may be wrong, and I welcome any experienced optometrist here to shed some light in this.
  46. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Any dominance that PP has in the industry is deceiving for several reasons. First, looking at PP optometry today is like looking at the night's sky. You're seeing the stars as they were 100s, 1000s, or even millions of years ago. What you see now is not what is actually there. Optometry is the same way. When you visit a PP office and it's doing well, you have to understand that new grads absolutely do not have the same rules to play by. Every year, PP shrinks as a percentage of the whole since grads are flooding into commercial, growing that side of the profession. The successful optometric PP is something that will fade away until all that's left is corporate/commercial.

    Second, in the past, PP most definitely dominated both the spectacle and the CL market. If patients wanted to get correction, they had very few choices other than going to see their OMD or OD. Be sure - PP does not dominate the CL market, particularly when the CL services provided by many ODs are something that is "expected" as free service. When patients go to their internist or dentist, they don't "expect" free services. When patients show up for their annual exam and CL check, they will often throw a fit that they have to pay for a CL check since "I've already been fit and paid you last year." Commercial/corporate optometry has given away ODs services for the purpose of selling materials and in doing so, they've trained the public not to place any value on our services. Contact lens services, particularly ongoing or maintenance services, are something that should be free in the eyes of the public.

    Thirdly, the online marketplace is having a significant impact on CL sales for all practitioners. I've seen a noticeable increase in the number of patients who take their CLRx online. Here in the US, the law requires a signed Rx before CLs can be ordered online, but the law also states that if an order is placed and the doc doesn't respond in 24 hours, the order will be filled. Ordering CLs without an Rx has never been easier now that they're available online. I see a lot of college students and they tell me it's as easy as ordering a text book.

    You guys really have to understand that the ODs who are on here telling you what you don't want to hear are not on here for fun or for their own benefit. From an outsider's perspective, things might look ok. But when you've actually practiced for 6 or 7 years, you've worked in most of the types of settings that exist, and you've seen the inner workings of the profession, good and bad, you come to an understanding that the field is not what it seems when you're looking at it through an applicant's eyes. It just isn't.

    Private practitioners who are doing well now will likely be doing well in 5 or 10 years, relatively speaking. Don't let that notion fool you into thinking that you'll be able to leave school in 5 years and attain what they have. It's a rough optometric world out there for new grads now, but the climate that will exist for new grads in 5 years will be exponentially more awful - the new schools and other changes that are going on as we speak will virtually guarantee that.
    Last edited: 01.31.12
  47. q1we3

    q1we3

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    from your experience, if someone had to work commercial which company should they choose. which are workable and which are the worst?
  48. Jason K

    Jason K

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    For "Corporate" employers: America's Worst < that green stuff that floats on top of sewage water < goose feces < Cohen's Optical < Pearle Vision < LC. You can squeeze regional chains into the list in several places depending on the situation.

    For box lease locations: Sam's < WM < Costco

    Nothing compares to AB. It's the absolute pit of optometry.
  49. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    Oh my lordy I could not let this one pass without comment. Private practice docs "still dominate" the contact lens business. Pass that crack pipe over to me please.:oops:

    Do you have any idea what the mark-up is on a box of contact lenses from your doctor? $1. Maybe $3 if he buys a bulk deal. Your doctor makes a couple of bucks if you buy a box of contact lenses from him. Most patients buy only one or two boxes. A large percentage run with their Rx to an on-line shop or to the giant sign in the parking lot of Walmart proudly advertising super cheapo Acuvues 'this week only'. Then they run back to our office to demand we change their CL rx to Acuvue no matter if they will work for them or not. We have to virtually give CLs away just to get the patient in for an eye exam.

    In fact, big chains can buy their boxes of contacts cheaper from the manufacture than we can. Much cheaper. Therefore, they can actually SELL contacts to their customer (not patient) cheaper than we can actually BUY them from the manufacture. (In fact, come to think of it, I might be better off just ordering my patient's contacts from
    Wal-mart.)

    But we 'own' contacts still. Give me a break. You haven't a CLUE! No the slightest clue! If there is ANYTHING we have lost total control over, it's contact lenses. They will, no doubt, be over-the-counter one day.
    Last edited: 01.31.12
  50. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor SDN Advisor

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    I am very curious about this statement. When I was in practice, my mark-ups were anywhere from $9 to $30 per box. I can assure that the vast majority of ODs are about the same as I am now involved with the contact lens business from the manufacturer side.

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