Dec 6, 2010
18
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
I'm currently juggling acceptance letters to multiple schools and was wondering what the outlook is for the Optometry field. I've realized after browsing this forum that there are a lot of "haters" of the optometry profession. the government and multiple magazines and websites say that the demand for optometrists is large and projected to increase dramatically, but i see that a lot of people are complaining about lack of jobs. I'd like to hear from recent grads, maybe within the past 1-3 years. how do you feel the job market looks? are the people who complain about lack of jobs unwilling to look in areas that are not already saturated with OD's?

thanks!
 

4Eyes

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2005
344
1
Status
Optometrist
(I graduated ~2.5 years ago.)

The job market is good if you happen to want to live in an unsaturated area (probably rural) after you graduate...OR you don't care where you live, you'll just go where work can be found.

The job market is fairly bad if you are picky about where you want to live.

That being said, I got two job offers in a large city with an optometry school in it. But ultimately I chose to go back to my hometown to be closer to family. A decision I've been flamed for, but it comes down to priorities. I did find work, but I'm having to split my time between a private practice and a retail joint. Originally, it was supposed to become more private practice and less retail, but that has not been happening, and I don't see how it'll change anytime soon. Exam fees are also quite low in this town. I'm not exactly making loads of cash. But I make my student loan payments, I can afford the things I need, and I was able to purchase a modest house this year. Am I frustrated? At times, yes. But I'll be close to my grandparents when they are approaching end of life, and my kids will be close to THEIR grandparents. Just a couple of things among several that make me feel I still made the right decision. I'll be where I want to live if this private practice thing turns around...or when a position at a local medical facility opens up.

So I guess...not being picky about location = no problems finding a job (or better yet, starting your own practice)

Being picky about location MAY = having a hard time finding a job OR taking something you don't want OR making a smaller paycheck than many of your classmates.
 
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OP
brandnewish
Dec 6, 2010
18
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
thanks for the reply! would you say that your hometown was one of the more "saturated" areas? and were the 2 job offers that you turned down in private practice or full time positions?
 

4Eyes

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2005
344
1
Status
Optometrist
My hometown has about ~160,000 people, with >400,000 in the metro area. And yes, I'd say it's saturated. I'd be out of my bleeding mind to start my own practice here. My plan when I went to school, unless something awesome IN my hometown became available, was to open a practice in one of the surrounding towns. But in the 4 years I was in school (really, maybe just the first 3), ALL of the surrounding towns became saturated as well.

The two jobs I turned down.... One was sort of retail-ISH, but not exactly. It was a corporation with about 20 locations in roughly a two-state area. The other was a multi-location private practice. They were both full-time positions.

The BEST opportunity that I ended up not really pursuing was a civilian gig near a military base. It was a town with a population of about 14,000. It sounded like a rather nice set-up, and the pay was good, but I just couldn't bring myself to live in a town that small (personal preference)...and so far away from all family or friends. Would have made a sweet paycheck, but I would have been miserable in so many other aspects of my life.
 

jmonte

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
May 19, 2005
10
0
Status
The outlook presently is very much tied to geography as the previous poster said. Unfortunately, while in school and as a new grad, you simply will not know where a good practice location is and most likely will find yourself in an overly saturated community.

This will not be improving anytime soon with new schools and more grads. There are simply too many students. Some will counter and say increased population size will make it ok. That is not the present reality. There are too many students and OD's.

The schools would like to have you believe that you will be treating and managing lots of disease. The reality is that most likely you will not. Medical panels are highly discriminatory towards OD's and unless you're in the right geographical location, you cannot be paid for your time and services and about 80% of the education that you have overpaid for.

Which brings us to the cost. You will incur six figure debt that you will probably not default on. But, you will be working perhaps a whole week every month just to service that loan. The other 3 weeks you get to split towards family, house, bills, etc.

The new norm is for new grads to work a day here, work a day there, work a day over there, and maybe another over there. Full time work is no longer the norm in big cities.

The Optometric organizations that are supposed to be looking after your interest, are now looking for ways to bleed more $$ out of you with new a new board certification program. A program that is not presently not needed, has no merit, and is essentially a way to increase revenue.

Then there is corporate influence and vision plans. Vision plans, which do not pay you fairly for your time, are trying to expand into the medical arena in the new age of healthcare, and will continue to decrease reimbursement and they will be spending millions to convince medical plans not to take you.

The result of these influences is you have to see a ridiculous amount of patients to service your loan and lifestyle. The patient loses, you lose and the corporations/Vision plans win.

As you can see in eyecare there are many political influences that students and new grads are not aware of. Schools will not mention them, and students looking to get in don't want to talk about these either.

Hopefully you don't view this as haterism because I assure you this is not the case. These are the facts. And you can disregard and jump in or you can pause and plan a new course.

There are many who in spite of all this find a great opportunity, and get to have it all. They manage disease, get paid properly, see a reasonable amount of pts. However most likely it will never happen this way or it will take several years of fighting in the trenches before a suitable practice opportunity is found.
 
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Jan 4, 2011
2
0
Status
Optometry Student
A happy new year to you all. I'm relatively new to this forum and I enjoyed reading through recent and old blogs. I have an OD, Optometry degree from Nigeria and recently completed my MS, in Clinical research. I intend enrolling for the Boards through the Advanced international program at the New England College of optometry in Boston sometime this year. I'm interested in volunteering in a practice here in Massachusetts while preparing for the boards. Please I sincerely need the assistance of an Optometrist in my area.