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What Do You See Happening?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by Tippytoe, Mar 6, 2012.

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  1. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    I've been accused before of being overly pessimestic so I'm open to thoughts.

    Looking back on the optometry forums, I see that ODs have been complaining of an oversupply at least for the past 10 years (or more). But the average income in optometry has been around $120,000/yr (they say). Students see established ODs doing okay and feel they can duplicate this.

    Keeping it simple : 700+ optometry graduates are going into the marketplace per year now (1,200 graduate but we will subtract out the ones that die/retire...probably not even this many but I'll be conservative) and they are finding it very hard to find decent jobs.


    In a few more years, there will be another 500 added to them, all trying to find jobs too (from all the new OD schools).


    The $200,000 Question: What are they going to do?
  2. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Market will balance itself out. Wages will go down. Less people will apply. Schools might get shut down. Wages will go up. Its the cycle of life. Stop trolling.
  3. thecgrblue

    thecgrblue Enjoyin' the journey

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    As long as the government provides student loans schools will not shut down.
  4. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Shnurek, as usual, you are making glorious assumptions to serve your desired outcome. Markets tend to balance themselves out when there are opposing forces on both sides of the middle. That is not the case in optometry. There is far more drive pushing lemmings into the profession than there are visible forces pushing back. Why? Because there's money to be made from a glut of ODs, by many people. There's no money in keeping them out, despite what naive preops might think. Note the word "visible," as that's the operative term.

    What people "see" and what they are going to get from optometry are two very different things. If people actually saw what they would be doing/getting for their career, and how it differers dramatically from what they see in their idolized OD's offices, people would be running from optometry like a fatophibic man from plus-sized model convention.

    For the record, any cycle-driven "increase in wages" will come right before the next ice age, at least for ODs.

    I'd argue that your ridiculous, often comically clueless posts, are far more of "trolling" than any of the negative nellies on this site.

    Would you care to point out, specifically, what it was that qualifies as trolling in the original post? Please don't be a netmag and just ignore the question. Man up. It's nauseating when students/preops label anything they don't like as "trolling." Reality will be with you sooner than you know, and you can't just dismiss it as "trolling."
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  5. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    Finally, a student that understands the economics of education!
  6. q1we3

    q1we3

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    It is hard to predict what will happen 20 or 30 years from now. But in the next 10 years optometry will go 100% commercial like pharmacy. Reality is people will always need eye exams, contacts, glasses etc. Optical stores of Walmart, Costco, LC will keep getting more traffic and continue to hire ODs to sell eye ware. The salary will not match the inflation and stay relatively around what 80k. Population is still growing and Walmart & Costco keep getting busier so I don't think finding a job in commercial would be too difficult even in the next 5 years.

    What happens after that? Hopefully, at some point residency will become mandatory to put a stop on the overflow of graduates. If that doesn't happen then you will see huge number of unemployed ODs. When that happens ODs will look into research or teaching or entire new career.
  7. thecgrblue

    thecgrblue Enjoyin' the journey

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    How many residencies are there? If every student is required to do a residency will there be sufficient slots?

    What about funding? A large amount of medical residencies are subsidized by the govt...will optometry be able to get them to foot the bill for this as well?

    What would the end goal of residency be? If it is to yield higher trained ODs the programs will have to provide an opportunity that far surpasses what could be accomplished in a first time job...bring back the concern of limited spots.

    Research seems viable, for a few. However, for bench research what more does and OD bring to the table than a PhD? Again, a battle for funding would ensue.

    I don't have any answers, but these seem to be pretty important questions.
  8. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    I've studied economics and I think you are completely wrong in your predictions.

    As long as people want to go to Optometry school to get to call themselves doctors and chase the mythical good life, there will be a demand for the education.

    What I think will happen is that those graduating from OD programs will progressively adjust their expectations downward and those will become the new norm.

    They won't ever experience the profession's glory days and so they won't miss them.

    Many will settle for the "I've got a clean job and decent living."

    You've already made posts that acknowledge the need to move to a rural community and live a modest lifestyle.

    This is a generational adaptation to the changes in the profession and I believe will continue as it gets harder to earn an above average living.
  9. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    I don't see mandatory residencies in a profession that has lower earnings in its future. This, by the way, is not a new idea it was proposed 20 years ago. Problem is it doesn't make sense financially to add another year of education. Why is PCO playing around with a shorter program?
  10. q1we3

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    20 years ago it wasn't necessary since there wasn't an oversupply or commercial optometry but now there is. Mandatory residency is the only way to control the supply, it is not everyone birthright to become optometrist. Not only mandatory residency will make newer schools look like Caribbean optometry schools but profession will also get more respect from the medical community.

    Also you are saying profession has lower earnings in the future. Why do you think that is? BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY OF US!! You don't think if number of ODs in the country went down by 50% right now that remaining ODs will make more money?? Income is based on demand remember market price??

    This is the only guaranteed way of taking optometry back to glory days. Have only like 600 spots, problem solved. But this will require some major balls from the leaders if this profession which they surely lack.

    If you have a better way of fixing this profession, I would love to hear it.
  11. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    If this were a perfect market, I'd agree. However, this isn't a perfect market. Also, it could be argued that this would create a restraint of trade situation, which is not legal in the US.

    I don't have a solution and am glad I will be retired before we completely destroy the profession.

    You'll never get this profession to agree on mandatory residency, and if you could then the schools would just create more residency positions. Residencies are accredited by the same people who will allow the new programs to exist.
  12. q1we3

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    You will need to great 100 new residency spots to match the effect of accrediting just one new school. When every year medical graduates fail to land a residency spot is that restrain of trade situation?

    But whatever what is point of discussing this with you. As you said, given your current situation you obviously could care less about the profession that put food on your table for whatever many years. And its hard to blame you for it. Enjoy your retirement, hopefully its soon!!
  13. Shnurek

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    There used to be 66 schools of optometry. And now there are ~21. Something must have happened. Can you tell me what that was?
  14. Jason K

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    Very good question. Unlike medical post-grad programs, CMS does not supply funding for any optometry residency, they're funded by the individual schools and, I suppose, partially by the VA in some cases. This is why OD residents can bill as medicare providers as any normal OD would. Medical residents, as I understand it, cannot do so because CMS does not want to "double pay." There is a built in supply valve in medicine since, if a specialty decides there are too many practitioners, residency programs can have funding cut. OD residencies have no such connection. It's "the more, the merrier."

    Until people start to actually see the product they're buying when they sign up for an OD, people will keep flooding like lemmings into the profession. Unfortunately, as brighter students start to migrate to other professions, we don't cut class sizes in response, we just allow poorer quality applicants to fill seats. Yet another reason the profession will continue to decline.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  15. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    Totally different situation. Those programs were created only to take advantage of the GI bill after WWII. When the govt money dried up, the programs died. Also during the same time period the profession was increasing the number of years of study. Alot of those programs were glorifed optician programs and a lot of their grads never got licensed.
  16. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    What do you care when I retire?

    I don't owe you or this profession anything. I've made a great living because I'm good at business, something I didn't learn from OD school or anyone else in this profession.

    You seem to be very bitter for someone your age.
  17. Shnurek

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    Interesting. Kind of like how now Federal loans are given out like candy and anyone can basically attend. Paying it back? Well...[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg98BvqUvCc[/YOUTUBE]
  18. mclem222

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    Yeah but in the meantime..the people who are in school now will be in the "wages will go down" part of the curve.
  19. Shnurek

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    Yup, most likely. Still was the best option for me. Dental school is 50k, 65k a year unless you have godly MD stats 3.71 GPA to get into SUNY Stony Brook dental.
  20. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Oh, lord. Since when is a 3.71 a "godly" GPA? With grade inflation, that's probably equivalent to a 3.3 or 3.4 from 15 years ago, on average. A 3.71 is a strong average, but it's far from "godly." Although, for the current crop of OD students, I'd say it's more than "godly" since we seem to be letting anyone with a pulse and a SS number in. I don't know how many more posts SDN can take along the lines of:

    "So, I've got a 2.1 GPA and I'm wondering which optometry program to apply to...."

    or

    "So, I've a got a 2.1 GPA and here are the optometry programs I got into...."

    and finally

    "I'm clinically deceased now, but before I died, I had a 2.1 GPA and I'd like to know if my SS number can take out a loan and go to optometry school."
  21. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    Perhaps Einstein. But you will be at the end of your career before the market corrects itself in 30 years. But you can always put your blue vest on and work in the garden department between patients. You will NEVER make it private practice. I see that already. You seem to lack what many of us consider 'common sense' - a trait that is all too important in business.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  22. Tippytoe

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    With all due (and undue) respect, no one has really answered my question. According to this site http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Wal-Mart_Stores , there are 2,500 Walmart stores in the US. (More according to the next website but that's neither here nor there).

    And I'm betting every one of them currently has one or two ODs working at them (and another one or two licking their lips hoping the others get hit by a bus so they can move in). These are mostly young ODs that have 40 years left to work. Fact is there are many newer grads right now doing a bunch of fill in part-time gigs here and there still trying to find a full time job after 4-5 years out of school.

    According to this website: http://walmartstores.com/sites/annualreport/2011/financials/walmart_2011_annual_report.pdf Wal-mart is adding between 50-100 stores per year in the U.S. That's 1-2 stores PER STATE when there will be about 24 ODs per state graduating every year (1,200 per year).

    Is everyone counting on Walmart expanding much faster?
    I've asked this question to 5 different deans of ODs schools and none have responded. Their silence is very telling.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  23. Jason K

    Jason K

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    I guess they all had better hope that Target Opticals take off. :laugh:
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  24. q1we3

    q1we3

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    What about lenscrapters, pearl vision, Costco, america's worst?
  25. Tippytoe

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    I don't know. The current ones are staffed. Do you believe there will be hundreds of new optical stores opening every year? I don't know. Just asking.

    Most authorities I have heard say on-line opticals are the wave of the future. Some will send you 3 or 5 frames you pick off the net, you try them on and send the others back. Can't get much more convienent than that.

    So without optical money, the stores you mention will not be able to open (ie, they won't build and open a store just to give an OD a job without being able to sell bunches of glasses).
  26. Commando303

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    That seems cyclical and wrong: If the government continues to provide loans to persons who are ever less able to pay them back, it will become unable to continue doing so; thus, fewer persons will be able to attend costly schools, and schools will have to close.
  27. thecgrblue

    thecgrblue Enjoyin' the journey

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    Yes...yes it does and it is wrong.

    Have you every seen the govt. stop b/c 'there isn't the money'? Those idiots just adjust the budget to fit what they want instead of what the average joe does, adjust their wants to fit the budget.

    This is already happening, look at the endless supply of online, for-profit, and degree to nowhere granting university.

    Obviously and foremost, people need to be realistic in how they pursue their education. I do not feel it should be the govt.'s job to ensure people borrow money wisely, but they shouldn't be making it so damn easy for people to BURY themselves in debt.

    Screw this, I'm opening up an online university. The finances of education is a joke in this country.
  28. Commando303

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    It's both ridiculous and futile to try to design a professional program around the hope of impressing another profession. Additionally, mandatory residencies would make sense if they granted a necessary extra amount of information to the practitioner, not simply if they wished to "curb supply."

    If one wants to reduce the number of optometrists entering the field each year, the only viable way to do so would be to decrease the overall number of seats that are open annually — not to leave slots where they are, then hope either, 1) people will fail to complete the residency, or 2) applicants will be deterred by the thought of finishing one. You could do this by closing schools, of course, but you also could do it by capping the number of seats schools can offer. Now, whether the latter is feasible (a political group, such as the A.O.A., ordering a private institution to diminish its quantity of slots), is its own question.
  29. Commando303

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    The government tends not to stop because, when money runs out, it simply can print more of it. Continuing to do so infinitely, however, the money ends up being of less and less value, and just running the Xerox machine no longer patches up the holes.

    It's impossible for anyone to pin down what will happen on the larger economic scale, but simply because things have chugged along in a certain way for a number of years or decades, does not imply they will resume doing so into eternity.

    Just into the early 21st century, almost anyone could buy a house, because getting a loan to do so was as easy as leaning over to pick a coin off the pavement. That went too far, so there was a natural correction. If sky-high tuition prices scrape farther north, and people who can't close to afford them continue to attend schools via government loans, and those people can no longer pay pack the loans within even thirty years — both because the amounts are too great, and because the jobs pay proportionately less — and begin to default (effecting that much of a rise in interest rates), I think it's reasonable to think, at some point, a correction would occur.

    Of course, the above looks at a problem in isolation from the remainder of the economy: if everything else goes swimmingly, such a problem may be masked. If the world sort of collapses around the issue, the latter could be that much exacerbated.
  30. Commando303

    Commando303

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    I find this to be a shallow and condescending view of the mentality of persons entering, or hopeful to enter, the field. Many, if not most, such persons do come in with a realization of what they're stepping into and what their lives will comprise for a number of years upon graduation, and with a plan of how to reach their ambition, within a timeline, thereafter.

    Of course, those who do not think through such things may well become disappointed and bitter.
  31. hello07

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    On a different note, but worthy to take notice; the 3 Optometry schools that opened up past 3 years and another one opening this summer reflects the greed and reckless of those who promote new schools. Is it the AOA? I don't know? Not good. Bottom line.
  32. Visionary

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    Some say the student loan situation is on it's way to becoming into the next housing collapse.
  33. thecgrblue

    thecgrblue Enjoyin' the journey

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    What I wonder is how this collapse will go down.

    Housing tanked b/c it was funded by the private sector and for a physical asset. Can't really take back knowledge...I see a good sci-fi plot. People can declare bankruptcy and/or be foreclosed on and its over. Student loans go with you to the grave.

    Maybe the disappearance of subsidized loans for grad students is the start of it.
  34. Jason K

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    Call my post(s) whatever you want, but you are absolutely and completely out of touch with reality if you think that most students entering optometry school / considering optometry school are coming in "with a realization of what they're stepping into." You are simply dead wrong, my friend. The vast majority of them have no clue what they're getting into. They don't understand current optometry; they understand 1980s and 1990s optometry, because that's what they see out in the private practice world. Some do understand more than others, most don't have a clue. Spend some time on this forum and you'd have a hard time arguing otherwise.

    I've worked with several hundred optometry students over the past 6 years, 1st through 4th years, and I can say, without any doubt, that few of them understand what they're up against. When I hear groups of 1st year students talking about how they "Would never be able to practice anything other than group practice, medical optometry," it makes me think I might be onto something. I don't hear too many students saying "Gee, I really hope I can land that dream job at Walmart or America's Best." ....and yet, that's where the largest percentage of them is going.

    Please don't call me condescending unless you have something to back it up.
  35. thiaeyemd

    thiaeyemd New Member

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    A patient who is an executive at CVS Caremark told me to day that they are strongly considering going into the optical business and having the pharmacy/optical store/minute clinics side by side. Their biggest interest is selling glasses and getting people into the store for prescriptions and other stuff. Who knows.. in 20 years you might have to get your yearly stress test at the CVS down the street...
  36. thecgrblue

    thecgrblue Enjoyin' the journey

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    condescending=you don't agree with what I hope/think is true.

    We are the product of elementary schools renaming timeout to 'refocus' and making sure children don't get their feelings hurt.
  37. CL Doc

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    Higher education is a business and there seem to be plenty of customers out there willing to spend the next 30 years in debt to get a piece of the good life!
  38. Visionary

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    There are differences, for sure. The similarity is foreclosure and default. If people can't pay their home loans/sell their houses, they go into foreclosure. If people graduate and can't get jobs that allow them to pay off their student loans, they default. In the foreclosure case, there is at least a product of some value to cover some of the loss. In the student loan case, there isn't. Of course, the scale of the two is quite different.
  39. Jason K

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    Ha - how sadly true this is! :D I remember a time when a 6th grader could actually be told he/she did something "wrong." Now, it's:

    "Well, Jimmy, I suppose you could add 3 and 4 and say it's 9, but wouldn't it be better to say it's 7? Don't get me wrong, 9 is just fine, but I think 7 would be better, ok? .......Good, now here's a sticker for not crying. Oh, and don't worry, I won't mark out your incorrect answer with red pen. I'll use purple since it's less threatening. "

    Too bad the real world, where people can actually screw up, and perhaps more importantly, get screwed, is not so kind. I think this next, upcoming generation should be called the "What the hell do you mean I'm not perfect?" generation. :laugh:
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  40. Tippytoe

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    I prefer the "Give me credit just for showing up" generation. Or maybe the " I deserve it just for being alive" generation.

    I've seen sooooo many 16-21 year olds that have never even had a job. They are really in for a cruel awakening one day.

    My favorite was a 20 year old I hired a few years back. She had no experience and thought her job was to lean against the counter and chew gum. She quit within a week because, in her words, we were "micro-managing" her . We call it 'training an employee to do the job'.

    I really wish there was no welfare so people like this would die away cleaning the gene pool.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  41. Commando303

    Commando303

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    1) I believe your perception of students' general mentality is wrong.
    2) Your posts in this forum frequently are condescending to members who disagree with your, what I could call, bitter and jaded views.

    I've no inclination to scour any posts in the hope of demonstrating either of these claims. Do feel free to ignore my posts, as I mostly do yours.
  42. Jason K

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    You can believe whatever you want - I really don't care. What is factual, however, is that pre-optometry and even optometry students can't understand what lay ahead of them because there is no means of actually seeing it. It's well-hidden from them for a reason.

    I've been doing my best to poll outgoing 4th years and recent grads from 3 programs for the past several years. Nearly 70% of them are entering some form of commercial practice.

    So, in your view, why don't you tell me what percentage of entering OD students plans on entering commercial optometry? When that poll was given to my 1st year class, the answer was precisely zero. No one. Nada. Not one single, solitary, clueless 1st year in my class had any intention of entering commercial practice. I don't recall the exact number, but I'd estimate about 90% of the class rang in for private practice. And yet, as you say, "Entering students know what they're getting into."

    You're on here making claims that do not even come close to holding water. Say whatever you want about the future of optometry. No one can prove that one way or the other, despite what obvious trends might seem to indicate. But you can't come on here and claim that pre-ops and students are "well informed" and expect to be taken seriously - especially given the posts that are on record here, permanently. I guess it's not politically correct to point out peoples' gaps in their perceived knowledge.

    Wrong again. My posts are frequently condescending to those who are first condescending towards me. If you think I'm going to come one here and crap rainbows when someone refers to me as a "loser OD" or any of the other countless insults that have been hurled my way, you must have mistaken me for the internet equivalent of Ghandi. Big surprise...I'm not. When someone posts genuine questions about optometry, I answer them with the same respect and genuineness that I receive.

    You're unwillingness to "scour posts in the hopes of demonstrating your claims" certainly doesn't surprise me. Let me guess, you must be an Obama supporter, correct?

    How shocking, someone who makes claims about other someone's post they don't agree with....and they're openly unwilling to back them up with anything. Now you just sound like netmag.
  43. hello07

    hello07

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    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Correct you are in that higher education is a business. However, you don't know for sure there will be plenty of customers willing to spend big bucks on becoming optometrists in the projected future. You might very well have lived the good life thru Optometry -debt free and high income as a veteran OD but don't make assumptions for these poor souls on their future coming out with 200000 in debt. Salaries have not kept up w/ inflation in todays world.

    I do howver agree with you -Optometry is a wonderful profession.
    Are you in any way connected w/ the AOA?
  44. CL Doc

    CL Doc

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Messages:
    172
    Status:
    Optometrist
    Sorry if I sounded a little too optimistic...That last part was meant to be a bit sarcastic.

    I was looking at one of the new school's website today...$30 grand for tuition and over $50 grand a year with living, books, etc.

    I've had a good run in this profession. Some of the young punks on this forum want me to retire soon but I think I'll work another 20 years just to spite them.
  45. Meibomian SxN

    Meibomian SxN

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    690
    Status:
    Optometrist
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    What year in OD school are you in now? Are you graduating this year or next? Because at this point you should be interviewing and trying to secure a position somehwere; and so I'm curious to see how it goes for you and if you hold what some us were trying to warn about is true?
  46. Shnurek

    Shnurek

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Messages:
    2,335
    Location:
    NYC
    Status:
    Optometry Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    O no, I'm just in first year. However, http://www.sunyopt.edu/practice/view.php I'll probably end up working in CT though as it has the best opto laws around here. KHE did the right thing. And I totally understand starting out at the bottom when you get out. Honestly, school isn't that bad. I have a good social life ongoing while passing all of my classes. Its a great way to ride out the recession :)
  47. Rph888

    Rph888

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    89
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    Pardon me, pharmacy student here with a question on opening cold in opt.

    is it not possible because of no traffic or poor reimbursement? I would guess both just like independent pharmacy?

    outside looking in, those 500 will hustle part time all over, as many pharmacists do. some will simply be unemployed, like some new grad pharmacists are...
  48. CL Doc

    CL Doc

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Messages:
    172
    Status:
    Optometrist
    The recession ended in 2009.

    We are in the early part of the next bull market, my stock market returns are double digit year to date. What you are missing is the recovery following a recession.

    None of this will change the outlook for a generally over crowded field though. As long as we continue to graduate a surplus of ODs, macro economic principles won't matter.
  49. optsuker

    optsuker

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    304
    Status:
    Optometrist
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Agree with previous posters about mandatory residencies not being the solution. Financially and practically not doable.

    I foresee the profession kicking back with an area they control: acreditation/licensing.
    They can make it more difficult to pass boards and for a new school with a week clinical experience to get acredited.

    I expect to see an entire graduating class discover that they will be unable to get licensed when their school has acreditation delayed for a year or two because they failed to provide a decent amount of patient contacts.

    What school will it be? My money is on Western. Their sales pitch is full of fluff and they'll wind up sharing one patient between 5-6 students. They also have the California ophthalmology lobby working to see them fail along with CA OD's who'd prefer not to see more competition flooding their oversupplied market.
  50. thecgrblue

    thecgrblue Enjoyin' the journey

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    795
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Does the AOA have anything to do with whether or not this goes down?

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