Mimi625

2+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2016
39
10
So I've been exploring the forum for a while now and I have to say, I'm utterly confused regarding the future of the profession (going off of what I read anyway).
I was hoping current Optometrists or Optom students could give honest answers. I understand there are so many factors that play a role when considering certain things like salary but overall, I would appreciate unbiased answers (whether for or against the profession). And just to clear things now- I do intend to apply to optometry schools and become an optometrist! I'm fully committed to this, but do want a reality check:

1. Is Optometry becoming a saturated field? According the US Bureu of Labor Statistics, the job outlook is 27% (much faster than normal). So within 5 years from now (once I graduate) what are the chances of me securing a solid job with good pay?

2. Speaking of pay, what is the average starting salary of an O.D after graduation? How does this level of pay fluctuate as time goes on? "
The median annual Optometrist salary is $116,930, as of August 03, 2017, with a range usually between $103,539-$129,607, however this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors."
How true is this statement? In most threads I've read, it seems as though Optometrists today are making far less than these numbers...

3. Isn't it true that the field of Optometry is greatly expanding with the push of allowing O.D to perform surgeries? It doesn't level the field compared to Opthalmologists but doesn't it give Optometrists an advantage in terms of getting patients?

4. Approximately how many years does it take to pay off debt incurred from Optometry school?

5. What is the biggest challenge Optometrists currently face (in terms of patients, insurance, saturation, school, debt, etc.) in your opinion?

It would be really helpful if the individuals who respond also mention what they are (Optom student, O.D, Retired O.D, etc.)

Thank you so much and I look forward to this hopefully being a honest, respectful, and enlightening discussion!
 
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Mimi625

2+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2016
39
10
If you would like I could post this to reddit for you!
Omg thanks!! My OAT exam is tomorrow actually so I've been doing some final reviews for that. So nervous!!!

Could you post the link to the reddit thread once you do that!?
 

car guy doc

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2016
60
19
I think the best place you'll find answers is at your interviews. Actually talk to the students and find out what their thoughts are, then talk to faculty optometrists to find out what they're preparing students to be able to do in the future. This can also open up an interesting dialogue between you and your interviewer that shows your interest and commitment to the profession.
 
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Ojos14

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
158
57
Status
Optometrist
So I've been exploring the forum for a while now and I have to say, I'm utterly confused regarding the future of the profession (going off of what I read anyway).
I was hoping current Optometrists or Optom students could give honest answers. I understand there are so many factors that play a role when considering certain things like salary but overall, I would appreciate unbiased answers (whether for or against the profession). And just to clear things now- I do intend to apply to optometry schools and become an optometrist! I'm fully committed to this, but do want a reality check:

1. Is Optometry becoming a saturated field? According the US Bureu of Labor Statistics, the job outlook is 27% (much faster than normal). So within 5 years from now (once I graduate) what are the chances of me securing a solid job with good pay?

2. Speaking of pay, what is the average starting salary of an O.D after graduation? How does this level of pay fluctuate as time goes on? "
The median annual Optometrist salary is $116,930, as of August 03, 2017, with a range usually between $103,539-$129,607, however this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors."
How true is this statement? In most threads I've read, it seems as though Optometrists today are making far less than these numbers...

3. Isn't it true that the field of Optometry is greatly expanding with the push of allowing O.D to perform surgeries? It doesn't level the field compared to Opthalmologists but doesn't it give Optometrists an advantage in terms of getting patients?

4. Approximately how many years does it take to pay off debt incurred from Optometry school?

5. What is the biggest challenge Optometrists currently face (in terms of patients, insurance, saturation, school, debt, etc.) in your opinion?

It would be really helpful if the individuals who respond also mention what they are (Optom student, O.D, Retired O.D, etc.)

Thank you so much and I look forward to this hopefully being a honest, respectful, and enlightening discussion!
Optom student.

Salary and saturation depend a lot on where you want to work. California is over-saturated in many areas partially due to there being 3 schools of optometry, and given the strong presence of the medical association here, it is also harder to expand the limitations of the profession. This is why it's important to become involved on a political level.

In addition, the over-saturation means people accept lower salaries and that kind of begins a cycle. If you've worked in a private practice, you know that insurance companies (like VSP) don't typically pay well. A recent grad told me that in the California Bay area, people are accepting salaries of $350/day due to the competition, which would definitely make paying off the degree take longer. If you are okay with working in a more rural area then salaries can be much higher. New York is supposedly a great place to work as an optometrist in terms of salary.

The reason there is a push for expansion is because optometrists often outnumber ophthalmologists, particularly in more rural areas. Expanding the scope of practice would allow more patients to have access to care, so it wouldn't necessarily be direct competition. Regardless, the possibility of competition is why the scope of practice is only expanded in certain states.

A big challenge faced right now is competition from Warby Parker/1-800-Contacts, etc. Again, the only way to fight things like this is to become involved politically, and many people don't.

It's definitely important to understand the challenges you will face before starting school. Many people don't give much thought to it. :)
 
Aug 10, 2017
15
9
Los Angeles, California
Status
Pre-Optometry
Optom student.

Salary and saturation depend a lot on where you want to work. California is over-saturated in many areas partially due to there being 3 schools of optometry, and given the strong presence of the medical association here, it is also harder to expand the limitations of the profession. This is why it's important to become involved on a political level.

In addition, the over-saturation means people accept lower salaries and that kind of begins a cycle. If you've worked in a private practice, you know that insurance companies (like VSP) don't typically pay well. A recent grad told me that in the California Bay area, people are accepting salaries of $350/day due to the competition, which would definitely make paying off the degree take longer. If you are okay with working in a more rural area then salaries can be much higher. New York is supposedly a great place to work as an optometrist in terms of salary.

The reason there is a push for expansion is because optometrists often outnumber ophthalmologists, particularly in more rural areas. Expanding the scope of practice would allow more patients to have access to care, so it wouldn't necessarily be direct competition. Regardless, the possibility of competition is why the scope of practice is only expanded in certain states.

A big challenge faced right now is competition from Warby Parker/1-800-Contacts, etc. Again, the only way to fight things like this is to become involved politically, and many people don't.

It's definitely important to understand the challenges you will face before starting school. Many people don't give much thought to it. :)
Thank you for this!
 
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