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Shadowing Vs Internship?

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by Navindra, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. Navindra

    Navindra 2+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2014
    Hello! I'm a freshmen in a private university. My mind has been set on optometry. However seeming as I have no guidance, I was hoping someone could clarify things for me. I read that shadowing is an important aspect of applying, however when I approached a eye care center for shadowing opportunities, they only offered an internship. Is the internship(paid) valued more? Personally I think this is a common sense question, but clarity would be greatly appreciated. Also, would it be wise to take the CPO exam AOA offers to gain a job while working towards becoming an OD. Thank you!
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  3. mkbarnes

    mkbarnes 2+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    I learned so much more when I was an intern! I actually was a technician and hands down it was the best clinical experience! Shadowing was great too but being an intern all summer you actually develop relationships with the patients and doctors since you are working with them every day. Both are extremely important so that you have experience in the field when you apply to Optometry School and you can confirm that you truly want to be an Optometrist since you have that experience. My internship was paid and honestly I would have done it for free because I learned so much valuable information that I feel will prepare me for next year when I enter Optometry School.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
    Navindra likes this.
  4. BrandNewSpaces


    Dec 8, 2013
    I would say to take the internship because it will be an amazing experience and you'll probably learn a lot from it! But make sure you look into the requirements for the schools that you want to apply to. For example, Pacific requires 30 hours of unpaid experience. If any of the schools you want to apply to require some unpaid experience, make sure you also do some unpaid optometry shadowing or volunteering in addition to the internship, perhaps in a different practice setting. Also, most schools really like when they see diversity in your optometry experiences, so it will really strengthen your application! :)
    futureOD2018 likes this.
  5. futureOD2018


    Oct 24, 2013
    I actually got a job at an office my junior year of high school and worked nights and weekends as a tech. I gradually learned the desk work, insurance, and frame showings as I started to work full time during summer breaks from college. I turned it into an internship for my undergrad work, and this is where I did a lot more shadowing. I attended meetings with reps from different optical companies and shadowed LASIK procedures. I then shadowed at a Walmart for two days. Honestly, I had the impression from many schools that my experience was way over and above what most people do, so I think that shadowing multiple optometrists in different office settings is enough. The key is to prove to your interviewers that you have a solid understanding of optometry's role in serving the public, the political issues that come with the profession, and have an idea as to where you would like to take your career. I hope this helps!

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  6. EyeCaptain


    Jan 24, 2014
    If it works with your schedule, take the internship. You will still need to shadow on the side, but internships are a great way to gain more in depth experience, just like the other posts have attested to. Any experiences you can add to your OptomCAS will help you stand out in the crowd. However, if it's not convenient for you to take the internship, keep in mind that you don't need one to get into Optometry school. When I applied I had about 35 hours of shadowing, and no internship. Some of my buddies who applied at the same time had done internships and worked at Ophthalmologist offices/Lens Crafters etc. and we all got accepted, so if it doesn't work out, there's no need to stress about it.
    BrandNewSpaces likes this.

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