The time has finally arrived.
You’re about to cross the finish line and graduate from Optometry School, ecstatic about the possibilities that lay ahead of you as a new Doctor of Optometry. While your suffix is guaranteed upon graduation, your future may be a little bit more obscure. This article will explore some of the tough questions you should consider as a soon-to-be Optometry School graduate. Let’s get started!
1) Be Prepared for the Job Search
Like any other graduating student, Optometry students must also be prepared for the job search upon the conclusion of their studies. The tools and skills you equip yourself with in this preparation stage will later prove to be instrumental in your search for the perfect job after graduation. During the months leading up to graduation, it would be in your best interest to polish your Résumé, CV, and Cover Letters, while paying special attention to working on those vital interview skills. If you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed with the task of preparing for your job search, don’t fret. There are plenty of resources available to graduating Optometry Students! One such resource, SightNation.com, provides forums, articles, and other valuable information for helping you get started. You can also check out resource aggregation tools like Eyegregator.com for career information. Also, don’t forget that the Local Eye Site Blog is full of helpful, career-specific advice to helping you get your job search jump started!
2) Know Your Options
In life, research and preparation are both recurring themes that don’t necessarily exclude the job search. In your quest for the perfect Optometry job, researching your career options is a key to success. Some practical ways you can begin to discover your options in Optometry is by getting connected with other Optometrists in the field, either online or in person, finding and creating a relationship with a mentor, or checking out the resource center at your Optometry School for career information. The more you research and begin to understand about the options that lie ahead of you in the field of Optometry, the more confident you become in your career search. The following list a just a small portion of the career options you can explore as a graduating Optometry student.
- Corporate/Commercial Opportunities: Optical Jobs USA, US Vision, LasikPlus, Walmart, National Vision, Luxottica, National Vision, Vision Source, Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, CIBA Vision, Costco Careers
- Independent/Group Private Practice Opportunities: EyeSeek, Practice Consultants, Practice Concepts
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
- Ophthalmic Practices: The Eye Group
- Veteran’s Affairs: Air Force Optometry, Indian Health Service, National Association of Veterans Affairs Optometrists, Navy Optometry, Public Health Service, US Army Optometry, VA Careers Website
For additional careers resources, check out OD Grad-Connect here on Local Eye Site. These are opportunities exclusive to graduating Optometry Students from employers on Local Eye Site.
3) Consider an Optometric Residency Program
An Optometric Residency is a valid option for any student who is right out of Optometry school. There are several options for residency to consider, so let’s take a moment to explore a couple options. Pursuing a year of residency is beneficial because it will give you invaluable exposure to a specialty while strengthening your clinical skills. On the other hand, a resident is paid a fraction of what his or her peer who went straight into practicing optometry gets paid. Serving as a Resident Optometrist means a wider range of career options as well as great networking opportunity with established Optometrists in your area of expertise. The downside of residency, however, is an additional year of education - which is not always favorable. Those who are interested in pursuing an Optometric Residency program should check out Optometry Residency Match (OR Match) - an excellent resource for anyone who wants to take this career path. OR Match is an application service that can help place OD students and graduates into Optometric Residency training programs. If you’re still unsure about whether or not the residency option is right for you, you can explore www.opted.org for additional facts and information.
4) CYA (Cover Your Assets)
Unlike most job seekers, soon-to-be practicing Optometrists have to consider an additional issue that doesn’t normally cross the mind of other job seekers. Malpractice insurance protects Optometrists against claims their patients might make about carelessness or mistreatment. It generally costs about $500-$700 annually (depending on several factors) which is a small price to pay compared to an extremely expensive lawsuit. Insurance gives you extra reassurance so you don’t have to worry about being blindsided while you practice.
As a future Optometrist, we hope these tips help you prepare, search, find, and protect your career in the field of Optometry. Of course, there is always more to the story. What advice do you have for rising Optometrists in today’s employment environment? Comments are welcome!