Military optometry?

luvely

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May 30, 2009
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  1. Pre-Optometry
    I'm just wondering if there are any optometrists employed by the military? Specifically army?
    Not asking about the scholarship programs because that's been mentioned in other threads I believe.

    Is is competitive to get a spot and what is starting pay like if you don't mind sharing? And is there 'boot camp' involved? I think I heard you have to go to officer school?

    My boyfriend is in the army so I may consider going that route if we get married as I'm not sure what the job aspects may be so I just wanted to get some insight into this particular option.

    Thanks so much!
     

    optsuker

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    Jul 28, 2008
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    1. Optometrist
      It all depends on their needs.
      The army has X number of slots, a certain % are intended for the entry level OD (Captain).
      If they are in need of junior officers, they'd love to have you! It saves them $100K+ in HPSP scholarship funds if you sign up after graduation.
      You do need to go through OBC (officer basic course) which is tamer than typical boot camp, but still "real army" stuff like PT, weapons, etc..

      They make an effort to station you the same place as your spouse (not BF/GF though), but you may be separated for long periods of time.

      You might be better off to pursue a civil service spot. Many army posts employ 1-2 civilian OD's to man their hospital clinics (seeing primarily family members and retirees), often in a joint opt/ophthal clinic. Very similar to working in an HMO. Paid as a GS-__. Pay grade varies by experience & often how the job description was written up.
      Biggest competition comes from other military spouses and especially ex-military OD's who are too young to fully retire.

      I'd strongly discourage pursuing this if your goal is to follow your spouse. Most posts are located near larger communities with lots of commercial gigs available.
       

      luvely

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      May 30, 2009
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      1. Pre-Optometry
        It all depends on their needs.
        The army has X number of slots, a certain % are intended for the entry level OD (Captain).
        If they are in need of junior officers, they'd love to have you! It saves them $100K+ in HPSP scholarship funds if you sign up after graduation.
        You do need to go through OBC (officer basic course) which is tamer than typical boot camp, but still "real army" stuff like PT, weapons, etc..

        They make an effort to station you the same place as your spouse (not BF/GF though), but you may be separated for long periods of time.

        You might be better off to pursue a civil service spot. Many army posts employ 1-2 civilian OD's to man their hospital clinics (seeing primarily family members and retirees), often in a joint opt/ophthal clinic. Very similar to working in an HMO. Paid as a GS-__. Pay grade varies by experience & often how the job description was written up.
        Biggest competition comes from other military spouses and especially ex-military OD's who are too young to fully retire.

        I'd strongly discourage pursuing this if your goal is to follow your spouse. Most posts are located near larger communities with lots of commercial gigs available.


        A civil service position doesn't sound bad, I think that may be what I had in mind--I'm assuming there is no officer basic course for this? (which I wouldn't mind)
        May I ask what you mean by "paid as a GS__"? Is this a lesser pay than a junior officer?
        And can I ask why you discourage the army route? I agree too that it would be a backup option if I couldn't get a full time job elsewhere, but thought it might be more stable possibly if I were trying to stay in the same vicinity with my boyfriend if were married.
        Thanks so much for your response btw, I really appreciate it! :woot:
         
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        optsuker

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        1. Optometrist
          No boot camp for civilians. Probably limited to a background check.
          Pay scales is GS-1 to GS-15 based on education and length of service (Step 1 to Step 10).
          Example: a dishwasher who just started might be paid as a GS-1 Step 1: No skills & new hire (~$22K). An optometrist who has FAAO & 12 years experience might be a GS-13 Step 8 (~$110K)

          IMO, joining the military just for the scholarship/can't find a job/because my spouse is will lead to much unhappiness/frustration.
          You'll have much greater control & chance of staying together if only one of you is on active duty.
           
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          luvely

          Full Member
          7+ Year Member
          May 30, 2009
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          1. Pre-Optometry
            No boot camp for civilians. Probably limited to a background check.
            Pay scales is GS-1 to GS-15 based on education and length of service (Step 1 to Step 10).
            Example: a dishwasher who just started might be paid as a GS-1 Step 1: No skills & new hire (~$22K). An optometrist who has FAOO & 12 years experience might be a GS-13 Step 8 (~$110K)

            IMO, joining the military just for the scholarship/can't find a job/because my spouse is will lead to much unhappiness/frustration.
            You'll have much greater control & chance of staying together if only one of you is on active duty.

            Okay, I see what you are saying. Thanks so much for clarifying! If it comes down to it, I will look for a regular position first before I even consider military-- I had also considered it for the experience and help towards student loans but I guess the pay may not be as much as a regular practice.
             

            mathcod

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              If you haven't done so already, talk to a recruiter. I talked to one even before optometry school and he drove 2 hours just to buy me lunch and went over everything, including showing me the pay scale and where I would be entering.

              That's their job, and they are super friendly.
               

              USArmyHPSP

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              1. Academic Administration
                For scholarship opportunities: http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/amedd-
                categories/medical-service-corps-jobs/optometry-hpsp-student.html

                For direct accession as an optometrist/nearest healthcare recruiter: 1-800-872-2769

                For job opportunities as a civilian: https://www.usajobs.gov/

                You are welcome to PM me with any questions you may have. If you do speak to a recruiter, be sure it is a Healthcare Recruiter. This is a very specialized area, and while they are all friendly, some may speak without doing their due diligence and may say something that is not correct - especially when it comes to the scholarship and what is entailed with pay back and so forth.


                USARMY HPSP
                 
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