Optometry versus Pharmacy School

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by dandyspange, Jul 25, 2006.

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  1. dandyspange

    dandyspange New Member

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    I need help, please!!! I need opinions and feedback about whether you would choose optometry versus pharmacy school. I am a burned out Social Worker/Counselor w/ an M.S. degree. I can't believe I have attended 8 years of college to come out making 25K to 35K per year. At my last job interview, I was offered $9 per hour while McDonald's is hiring at $9.75 hour w/ a $250 weekly bonus in this post-Katrina New Orleans world. That is it, I have had it. I want to desperately stay in New Orleans despite the devastation that remains one year later. However, the opt school I have chosen to apply to is NSU in Oklahoma (I lived in Okla. for 28 years & there is no opt school in Louisiana). My friend recommended pharmacy school at Xavier which would: *keep me in Nawlins *same amount of years studying as opt school *similar salary as optometry *and I don't think I would have to take the PCAT for Xavier where as I would definitely have to take OAT for opt school in CountryHickVille, Oklafreakinghoma. I am not married, have no children & have always done well in school (like a demented, sordid hobby of mine). I have nothing holding me back in other words. I do realize there are all sorts of opt & pharmD schools in great cities elsewhere. However, I really want to stay in NOLA & I would really go back to Oklahoma for opt school if it meant that 4-6 years down the road I would be rewarded with a decent, living wage for once in my life. It is downright disgusting that high school drop outs are making more at Mickey D's & I am ready to do something about it NOW! I need to know the major/minor pro's & cons of optometry versus pharmacy to help make my decision. Signed, still drowning with this decision in NOLA & standing on my rooftop with a sign that reads PLEASE HELP ME NOW! Every professional opinon helps.
     
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  3. still_confused

    still_confused Senior Member

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    pharmacy is what optometry doesnt want to be, but if things go as they are, optometry will inevitable be as commercialized as pharmacy
     
  4. blazenmadison

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    I am so sorry to hear that. I have some good social worker friends and I know they don't make a whole lot, but they have good hearts. Have you considered academic positions? It is really sad when you spend 8 years of higher education to earn as much as a Mcdonalds cashier. Most of my high school friends that didn't go to college are making 2x as much as I would make with my biology degree. One brings in 100k each year as a real estate agent. Sorry about the rant....


    Why I would choose optometry over pharmacy:
    1)more autonomy, respect
    2)direct contact with patients
    3)you're not as bored
    4)you're giving the gift of sight!
    Why I would choose pharmacy over optometry:
    1)signing bonus (as much as 15k!)
    2)100k plus benefits easily without much stress
    3)did i mention better money?

    So if you want to make money and don't mind standing all day counting pills, then pharmacy is the way to go.

    I hope you LIKE science. ;)
     
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  5. opt_princess

    opt_princess Junior Member

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    I too, have considered pharmacy as an alternative to optometry. One reason I considered it was the better pay, but also it allows for more flexibility. As a pharamcist you can move around pretty much anywhere and still be able to work. In optometry, once you have established a practice and have a set of patients, moving is not very smart and very hard if not impossible. One negative for pharmacy is that it does seem boring and too repetitive. I don't know if I could be standing all day counting pills( I am sure there is more to the job.). There is also very little room for advancement or for entreprenuership. You basically will always have a boss. In optometry, as the doctor you are your own boss. Unless, of course, you work in a retail, and even then you could be an Independent Doctor of Optometry. What it boils down to in choosing between the professions is basically what fits you as a person.

    Do you want money over being your own boss?
    Can you handle not having much interaction with other people on a daily basis?
    Can you handle sranding on your feet for long periods of time?
    Do you want to stay in one location pretty much for the rest of your life?

    Those are some of the questions I asked myself and it brought me to the conclusion that optmetry is what I want to do.
     
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  6. iiiimonica

    iiiimonica 4 eyes on me

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    i :love: optometry, i chose it becuase i have seen the good the bad and the ugly of the feild. i really like the retail ascpect of optometry (sorry KHE).

    once you are a pharmD you DO NOT spend all day counting pills. how do i know this? i shadowed a pharmacist! yep i wanted to be sure optometry was the absolute best fit. who spends all day counting pills? pharm techs! pharmacist verify the rx, check for interactions and counsel patients when needed (which is like ~80% of the time) i shadowed a kaiser doc, so of course it can be different. best advice is to shadow both optometry and pharmacy and then chose.
     
  7. montana83

    montana83 Junior Member

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    i wouldnt necessarily say there's a lot more money in pharmacy than optometry....i know a lot of optometrists raking in some really good coin, much more than pharmacists....u can't always go by averages
     
  8. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a retailer of some kind. However, if that is how you are going to make the bulk of your money (which is how most of optometry does it) then I contend that there is no need to take on 8-9 years of post secondary education and a couple of hundred grand of debt to do it.

    If you have a flair for retail, then you can become an optician with just 2 years at a community college and open up your eyeglass store.
     
  9. blazenmadison

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    monica, weren't you an optician for a few years?
     
  10. iiiimonica

    iiiimonica 4 eyes on me

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    how sweet to remember! i like the retail aspect, but i :love: :love: :love: the patient interaction and feeling like i am caring for the general well being of patient's eyes.

    i know i could open an optical shop(and i have the business background to do it). but i really want to own a chi chi dispensary (letting my very much overpaid opticians take care of the retail end) were i can be the family eye care person. that's my goal. i want our practice to be known for our excellent patient care and awesome dispensary.
     
  11. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    If you have that much background and experience in the optical world, I would suggest that you save yourself a whole lot of time, money and energy and simply open up your chi chi dispensary and hire an OD a couple days a week to do exams for you. You can have an office that is known for "excellent care and awesome dispensary" without the 4-5 years of education and the 100-200k debtload that usually comes along with that.
     
  12. iiiimonica

    iiiimonica 4 eyes on me

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    1) i took the decision to go to optometry school very seriuosly. i weighed the pros and cons for weeks before i switched majors from business to biology. i knew that i would have many years ahead of me and yes i knew about the debt load

    2) i want to be an od because of the total interaction between patient and doctor, sure picking frame lines is fun, but careing for a patient's eyes is amazing

    3) i am sure that you have my best interest at heart, but i made my decision a long time ago, i am going to be an optometrist :love:
     
  13. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    Best wishes for a long and successful career.
     
  14. iiiimonica

    iiiimonica 4 eyes on me

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    :love: :love: :love: :love: :love: :love: :love: :love: :love: :love:
     
  15. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy
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    Pharmacists aren't always in retail. There is no way in hell I will ever work retail. I plan on going one of two routes - mail order pharmacy where you do nothing but count all day and get paid $55+/hr to do so or hospital pharmacy where you do all sorts of cool stuff like make IVs, scream at hospitalists for not using formulary drugs, not having to deal with the retail public, and still get paid roughly $100k/year.

    Money or having respect for myself....hmmm.
     
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  17. gochi

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    yes, they work Saturdays.
     
  18. JMU07

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    Why are you bringing back these 2-3 year old threads?? These people probably aren't even reading the boards anymore!

    I understand you're trying to tell as many people as possible how much optometry sucks. We get it. But um, it kind of defeats the purpose when these posters are not active anymore.

    I like that you posted in 15+ threads last night. Nothing better to do on a Saturday night?

    Gochi, seriously. Can you please just tell everyone what your situation is? Why you really have so much beef against optometry? It's fine that you hate it, but... what happened to you?
     
  19. gochi

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    I was just helping the pre-opts. Most of them are unable to use the search function.
     
  20. thanotoriousfob

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    Gochi... you getting desperate? Grasping at straws much? You are persistent, I'll give you that much.
     
  21. gochi

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    huh.
     
  22. FishPharm

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    Many people on here have a lot of misinformation about pharmacy. Pharmacy and optometry are both great professions and both programs offer a doctorate. Pharmacists do not stand on their feet all day counting pills, this is what a technician does. As far as diversity goes, pharmacy is considerably more diverse than optometry as a profession. As a doctor of pharmacy, you have options of retail (independent or chain), hospital pharmacy, home health care, nuclear pharmacy, clinical pharmacy, drug reps, pharmacy administration, drug research, long term care facility pharmacy and there are several more. Optometry is much less diverse. But lets compare a retail chain pharmacist to an optometrist. In retail pharmacy, the pharmacist uses his or her knowledge of every organ system in the human body on a daily basis. There is not a day that goes by that a retail pharmacist doesn't make a diagnosis and recommends a medication. So people on here saying all they do is count medication have no idea what they are talking about. I'm in my last year of pharmacy school and I could probably count on my right hand how many times I've seen the pharmacist count medications and label a bottle. An optometrist on the other hand basically does eye exams all day ... which I would think would be extrememly monotonous. I would think putting an eye machine infront of someones face and saying "Tell me which one is clearer.. 1, 2 or 3" all day would be extremely boring. Another negative about optometry is going to school all those years and just dealing with the eye. As a pharmacist your education is on practically every disease state a medical school student learns about. Now, I'm not saying optometry is a bad profession, it isn't . On average, pharmacist make more money than optometrists. I know optometrist who go into their own practice can make killer money but so can pharmacists. The biggest problem I see with optometry is insurance reimbursement .... so, just like any other healthcare profession there is less and less reimbursement. So if your price for an eye exam is $130 and Aetna Insurance will only pay you $30, thats what you get. Another thing too, most people don't have yearly eye visits......maybe more like once every 5 years.... if that.
     
  23. imemily

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    ....


    I went to my local walmart to shop for some easter chocolates and two pharmacists + a technician, were at arms length away from their patients and were standing/on their feet, for the majority of the time.

    Frankly, I couldn't tell the difference between the tech and pharmacist, if it wasn't for the lab coat (which, is totally unnecessary).
     
  24. nc2tarheels

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    I haven't had a prescription filled in about 12 years.
     
  25. nc2tarheels

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    btw, why did you dig this 2 year old thread up to talk $hit? You have 7 posts, seems like you're trolling. As Cris Carter would say..... C'moooooon Maaaan
     
  26. Shnurek

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    Yea pharmacists make diagnoses every day, gimme a break. All you guys do is make sure I get the right pills and they don't create a bad reaction with another chemical/allergy in the body.

    Also we can have technicians doing simple refractions if we wish. So no, its not all about 1 or 2. Optometry is very diverse. We can do simple refractions all day if we wish to have an easy job and not worry too much. Or on the other end we can do scalpel/laser eye surgery in certain states if we wish to take on this responsibility.

    And yes, if I just wanted to make money I would have done what my friend did and went for a 6 year Pharm"D" program after high school. And study organic chemistry like there is no tomorrow.
     
  27. yushin

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    I think that FishPharm is a troll. :troll:

    "In retail pharmacy, the pharmacist uses his or her knowledge of every organ system in the human body on a daily basis..
    There is not a day that goes by that a retail pharmacist doesn't make a diagnosis.... "


    There is no way a pharmacy student will be this clueless about the retail pharmacy job.
    First off, since when do pharmacists start making a diagnosis? Consultation about medications, sure, but this is not a diagnosis. In a typical retail setting, pharmacists do not even have enough time for consultation. It’s mainly ‘lick and stick’ dispensing. There are many pharmacists who hate working in a retail setting, but have to because there is no other opportunity. And, due to oversupply (the number of pharmacy schools was increased from 80+ ten years ago to 120+ today and more schools are expected to open in the near future), it is difficult to even get a retail job now.

    "On average, pharmacists make more money than optometrists."

    Sure, the pharmacist starting salary is higher, but if you examine the incomes of optometrists and pharmacists who have 10 -15+ years of work experience, I would think that the income of optometrists would be a lot higher than that of pharmacists. And, once again due to the oversupply which will only get worse, the salary of pharmacists will most likely not increase or even decrease in the future.

    I would never say that optometry is better than pharmacy, and I’m not a big fan of optometry, but it seems that your knowledge of optometry as well as pharmacy is very limited. I would be extremely wary of entering pharmacy school these days.
     
  28. KARM12

    KARM12 Super Member

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    I don't know anything about optometry, but I can tell you about pharmacy. I feel like there is a lot of mis-information about what a pharmacist does.

    I am a pharmacy specialist in infectious diseases. I round with the ID team (fellow, attending, resident) and help with pharmacotherapy. I also counsel patients on medications in the HIV clinic. I do kinetics on drug levels and monitor cultures/abx use in our institution. I do not stand on my feet all day and I do not see one prescription or pill all day. Pharmacy can be a very diverse career and there are opportunities to specialize. There is a lot more to pharmacy than CVS/Walgreens.

    Pharmacy is getting saturated will all the new schools. There will be less opportunities for students who will be graduating in the next 5 yrs.
     
  29. thecgrblue

    thecgrblue Enjoyin' the journey

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    Thanks for the post. I honestly had no idea PharmDs can do that.
     
  30. yushin

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    I think that most of us are quite aware that pharmacy is a lot more than CVS/Walgreens. But, wouldn’t you agree that the kind of job you have is somewhat difficult to obtain, and that the majority of pharmacists do work in a retail setting such as CVS/Walgreens?

    What FishPharm did was equivalent to an optometry student going to the pre-pharmacy forum, and say pharmacists only count pills while optometrists do all kinds of wonderful things while making more money.

    Pre-optometry students were simply responding in kind.
     
  31. KARM12

    KARM12 Super Member

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    Yes, the majority of pharmacists work in a retail setting (probably 2/3). And I agree with you that type of work can get very mundane.

    I did an extra two years of pharmacy residency to get the job I currently hold. I wouldn't say my job is uncommon, it just requires more training to obtain. There are pharmacists with 2 yrs of residency working in all types of specialty areas (ID, oncology, amb care, critical care, peds, etc.) So there is an opportunity to do things other than retail if you are willing to put in the time.

    Both are great professions, but they are very different. So people will just have to figure out what best fits there interest...drugs or eyes!
     
  32. FishPharm

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    LOL... I love how you say I'm clueless about retail pharmacy after I've had 8 years of retail experience before going to pharmacy school. Anytime a retail pharmacist makes a suggestion to a patient on any over the counter products there is a diagnosis involved. Example, patient walks in and complains of symptoms indicating acid reflux .... we go over their symptoms, review their medication history and make a recommendation on a medication to use .... maybe an H2 antagonist...PPI etc. Is that not a diagnosis?? For you or anyone else to even suggest that pharmacy is just counting pills is completely ignorant. I listed many fields of pharmacy like: retail (both chain and independent), clinical pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, long term care, consulting, mail order, collaborative practice with physicians etc. So if your going to knock a profession at least spend some time to research about it. Now, I'm not saying retail is the way to go for every pharmacist ... I am aiming for a residency. My original point to anyone looking at the two professions is they need to look at the diversity of pharmacy. I just listed many fields in pharmacy.... how many are there in optometry?? The pharmacist who is posting on here has apparently been through an awesome residency but you do not need to have a residency to work in a hospital. Matter of fact, most hosptial pharmacist that I have seen do not have a residency. Its the clinical pharmacists that need the residency. Also, i guess it depends on the area, but where I live in Tampa, Fl there are many hospitals that are begging for hospital staff pharmacists. The reason for this is because they pay a bit less than retail....with loans being so high many students go for retail for a while to help pay down their loans. One of the hospitals near me is offering 105k a year and the CVS and Targets are offering 120-130k range..not counting bonus. The last thing I wanted to address is that I am not trolling. I came across this thread on a google search when searching info about a new optometry school opening up near where I went to school. I know this is an old thread but I felt compelled to respond to this thread because there are so many people who have no idea about pharmacy.
     
  33. FishPharm

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    Do you even know what a white coat is for?? lol. Have you had a lab in your pre-optometry program yet?? lol

    If you can't tell the difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician you can do one of two things,
    1. have one of your optometry friends whip ya up some glasses and actually wear them.
    2. This is the one I love the most ..... Ask each one to show you their check stub ... that will clear things up pretty well.
     
  34. imemily

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    I honestly thought the lab coats were worn to deceive the public into thinking that pharmacists were real doctors.
     
  35. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    That was completely unnecessary.

    This thread is on the verge of being shut down if the participants can't curb their third grade behavior.
     
  36. FishPharm

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    LOL.... and whats your idea of a real doctor?? an Optometrist? :laugh: I think the opthamologist out there will even get a chuckle at that one.
     
  37. optsuker

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    As a practicing OD, I've found having access to a knowledgable pharmacist very valuable over the years.

    In pratice you will find them to be huge asset when:
    • You need to do pediatric dosing
    • They call about a drug interaction on something your Rx'd.
    • You need fortified tobramycin and they're a compounding pharmacy.
    I really don't get the animosity.A couple posters are showing some real immaturity.
     
  38. FishPharm

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    Finally someone gets it !!! :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
  39. optsuker

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    I'd withhold the thumbs up if I were you.
    I just called you immature.

    And bringing up a 2 year old thread so you can insult the profession the forum is dedicated to with some incorrect facts either means you're stupid, mean, or both.

    Once you get in the real world, you'll find the allied health professions need to stick together.
     
    #37 optsuker, Apr 19, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  40. blackhole2

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    +1. Some of the hatred on here is so unnecessary.
     
  41. nc2tarheels

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    We all understand the importance of a pharmacist, no one is debating that....what we have a problem with is this dung-hole coming in here acting like his weiner drags the floor and his $hit don't stink
     
  42. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    Alright. I guess if we have wieners dragging the floor, it's time for the thread to close.
     
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