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Career Change to Optometry?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by Jhernandez, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. Jhernandez


    Sep 21, 2014
    Greetings everyone,

    So I currently work as an auditor (accounting) but have become disenchanted of my profession. Mostly of working 10-14 hours regularly in a very stressful and competitive environment, the importance people give to brown nosing management, the high levels of friction with the clients, and ultimately a feeling of not finding my job to be very productive to society. Being in my early 20s, living with my parents, and a little over 30k in savings, I'm currently considering a career change as I honestly don't see myself doing this forever.

    After conducting a little research, Optometry seems like a nice career with lots of client interaction, low stress hours (or at least, I consider 50 or less hours a week low stress), decent salary, and ultimately helpful to people. Plus, I've always found optometrists to be very nice, friendly, outgoing and optimistic people so it feels like they really love their job.

    Yet, I've also been reading a lot of negative information regarding the over-saturation of Optometry, plus the really high amount of debt that one would accumulate in Optometry School. Plus, doing such a career change would send me back to one additional year of undergraduate study (for science courses), and 4 additional years of pre-optometry. In my case, the most affordable pre-optometry school would be AIUPR since I'm from Puerto Rico and would only have to worry about tuition costs (amounting to 30k per year). Plus, I'd have to give up my ~50k salary (equivalent to around ~60k in the US) and probably get a 7.25 part time job while studying.

    So my questions would be, considering I actually did a career change to optometry:
    1. Are the chances of finding a decent job high considering the over-saturation of the optometry field? Would having a strong background in finance, IT, and being completely fluent in spanish make any notable difference in job prospect?
    2. How much would you guys think the starting salary for an optometrist be 5-6 years from now? More or less the 80k average i hear mentioned regularly?
    3. Do AIUPR optometry graduates find decent jobs in the states? Does it compare with other optometry schools? And, is it feasible to get licensed to practice optometry in different state than the one where you studied?
    4. Are there any scholarships and/or low interest loans available for people studying optometry?

    Any help would be deeply appreciated!
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  3. hello07

    hello07 10+ Year Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    If you are considering a second career, my advice to you is stay away from Optometry. No one has a crystal ball to answer what the starting salary will be 5-6 years from now but I can assure you that the annual optometric salaries the past 5-6 years have not gone up at all. They have remained stagnant IMO and in some cases have gone down. This is all connected on where you practice, how you practice and what sort of employment you are involved in.
    My advice is don't go into Optometry.
    Plain and simple.
  4. 310

    310 5+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2012
    1. A lot depends on location. You will find work, but there's a chance you won't be satisfied. Spanish is great and everything else goes out the window.
    2. 80k is a low estimate for full time work. You should be able to find that, but if they have you as an independent contractor and you're making loan payments it won't feel like much. There's not really any such thing as a starting salary in optometry. Work at a struggling bargain optical in LA and make 75k. Work at a crowded medical model practice in NC and make 160k. Things can vary wildly depending on a lot of factors.
    3. Yes to all
    4. Expect to get reamed. There are certain deals you can seek out to get the loans taken care of, but they generally involve working in the military or middle of nowhere and involve a pay cut up front.

    Also, school sucks and takes forever. That's something to take into account.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. Meibomian SxN

    Meibomian SxN 7+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2008
    You wouldn't avoid this is OD school. For the amount of effort and money, apply to MD/DO school or if that's too expensive then I would advise nursing or physician assistant. Hours and family life would be much better and easier to find a job with tuition reimbursement perks. Good luck!

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