Optometry vs Dental

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Dec 2, 2015
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Hi everyone,
I've been doing a lot of research on optometry and dental schools recently. I'm currently an undergraduate student majoring in sociology but currently working on my prereqs and retaking some classes that I want to get better grades in; hopefully looking into taking either the OAT or DAT end of this year or beginning of next year and applying July of 2017 when applications open. First off, I know they are completely different fields but I guess some opinions from current/post students would be super helpful.
If I were to do optometry, I would definitely look into vision therapy and pediatrics opto.
I have shadowed one before and I did like the set up as it seemed very casual and chill but I'm scared that I would just not have AS much patient interaction...the optometrist at the location was just doing the exams, which is laid back. The actual patient therapy was done by the certified vision therapists on job. I don't want to sit in a retail optometry office and do general contact and lenses fitting all day. With dental I would look into pediatrics as well, and there just seem to be more options like possibly working in a hospital setting. In comparing prices, I know schools are expensive and dental school is pricier obviously (you do make more than an optometrist would) but that's something i'm willing to take on if it means building a bright future. Although income is obviously a factor, I'm stuck because I want to like what I do. I have shadowed maybe one or two doctors in each field and I think more shadowing and advice will help. An orthodontist I shadowed, was saying that insurance is basically horrible for dentists right now and his wife is a general dentist with no residency and she only makes $0.40 for every dollar she makes.... I don't feel so strongly about orthodontists specifically though and think residencies are important if you want more career opportunities..not sure.
Any help would be great :)


The Ohio State University - Class of 2020
2+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2015
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Your return on investment will most likely be much higher with dental than with optometry. With that being said, if you don't care as much about the money, optometry can still be a great option. From my shadowing experiences, I have found that optometrists have much more patient interaction than dentists do. Dentists spend most of their time with their hands in the patient's mouth. For some people, having conversations with their patients isn't that important to them. You really just need to weigh out the pros and cons. All of the orthodontists I know are making a great living. Most of the optometrists I know really love their jobs and make a good enough living. It really depends on what YOU want. It seems like you've got quite a bit of time to figure everything out so I wouldn't stress about it. Good luck!
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