Optometry is a lucrative career option for people interested in a career related to medical field, but not core medical jobs. Know more on school requirements for becoming an optometrist in this article.
Optometry is a branch of medicine which deals with diagnosis and treatment of vision problems. An optometrist is a professional who is skilled at performing basic and comprehensive eye examinations to diagnose a vision problem, and recommend a corrective treatment for the same. A career of an optometrist has been rated amongst 30 best careers in the US by ‘U.S. News and World Report’. It also happens to be one of the most decently paid careers. This career offers you great job satisfaction, independence and flexibility in working hours.
Optometrist School Requirements
Educational requirements for optometrists include completing a four-year degree course in Doctor of Optometry (O.D) from an accredited optometry school. Before getting an admission to an optometry school you may be required to complete 3 years of college education. The specific requirements for getting into an optometry school vary as per the state. For becoming an optometrist, high school requirements include completing your high school diploma with English, math, biology, chemistry and social sciences in your curriculum. A college degree with a major in chemistry or biology can be very useful for getting you in an optometry school. Generally, students with science major find it easier to get in an optometry school. A college degree prepares you for an education in optometry by introducing you to basics of optometry. This will come in handy when you take on the exhaustive optometry course.
For entering an optometry school, you need to take a national level Optometry Admissions Test (OAT). Your scores in this exam determines your chances of getting admitted to an optometry school. If you intend to get admitted to a reputable institute, then you ought to score well in this exam. Incidentally, you can take this exam more than once, in case you are not happy with your scores. After getting admitted to an optometry school, you will be exposed to various classroom and laboratory courses. You will study biology, biochemistry, math, organic chemistry and clinical science amongst other subjects. The course syllabus includes comprehensive study of optic science and vision science. You may also have to go through training and internship programs during your course tenure. All in all, this course is very demanding with high difficulty level.
Optometrist Job Description
After successful completion of the course, you can apply for a license to be able to work as a professional optometrist. You can either practice in your own private office or seek employment in optometry shops and chain stores. Salaried optometrist earn an average median income of about $87,000, whereas those practicing on their own with a fair amount of experience can earn anywhere between 130,000 to 190,000. Apart from that you can also look for career opportunities in education and research.
A typical job description of an optometrist includes understanding problems of patients, performing relevant tests, evaluating results and diagnosing the problem accurately. He can then suggest corrective measures such as lenses, medications or surgery. An optometrist may also refer you to an appropriate ophthalmologist if he suspects a serious problem. Similarly, conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, which also affect vision, are best treated by an ophthalmologist. An optometrist typically works for about 49 hours a week with fixed or flexible timings.
A career of an optometrist is indeed attractive as you get to interact with people and resolve their problems. However, think about this career if you are one hundred percent sure about your capabilities as an optometrist because this is a really demanding career.