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10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2000
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This question is for TomOD. I noticed you are in North Carolina, so I will pose this question to you. I am from Mississippi & will be applying to SCO for next fall. Have you ever heard from other ODs what the practice climate is like in my state? Also, when you open your own practice, what percent(average)of your gross income can you expect to go to overhead (rent, salaries, equipment,etc)? Is is possible to survive with your own practice and pay back the steep student loans you come out of school with? Any other input about practice as an OD would be appreciated. Thanks.


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7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2001
North Carolina
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I know we had quite a few student from Miss. in my class. Haven't kept up with them though. The AOA publishes a journal which comes out monthly (and we used to get copies at school) that give a U.S. map showing the OD's per population. I don't remember about MS but I think it is favorable. As far as TPA laws, I would have to look it up.....let me get back to you on that one.

The national average of practices across the US says that 30%-35% of your gross should be your net. In my first year I grossed $80,000. That would put my 35% net at 28,000 per year. Not alot. BUT I worked for 2 other OD's on a half day basis 2-3 days per week (worked Tues morn at his practice and Tues afternoon at mine.....Thur and Fri was the same) I made about $500-$1000 per half day with them. So in addition to the $28,000 I netted from my practice, I made another $30,000 working outside my office. After the first 8 months I got busy enough to give up the other jobs and just concentrate on my own office.

I have no problem at all paying my student loans ($100,000 worth) AND paying off the note for my business loan (another $100,000). The school loan is about $700/month and the business loan in $1,500/month. So $2,200/month in loan payment is no fun but no problem. I now pay myself $5,000/month. The business loan payments come out of the business expenses each month. The school loans come out of my $5,000 monthly check. But remember, I have only been open for 14 months. WE are growing fast and have just secured a VA contract. (Thats good). I could go and work for other OD's and make extra money but I enjoy building my own practice much more.

It's tough but being your own boss is what I went to school for. I make 100% of the decisions....from what to charge.......to who to see.....to how much I am going to work.....NO WEEKENDS......I enjoy having a life.
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