An optometrist is a medical professional that performs eye exams to check for vision problems or any types of diseases of the eye. They also have the authority to prescribe eye glasses and contact lenses to patients. They may also treat eye problems and prescribe medications for treatment of eye diseases and problems.
An optometrist has various duties as a part of their every day job. The main job description of an optometrist is to examine a patient’s eyes to determine visual acuity and perception. They also check for focus and coordination and ensure that there are no diseases such as blindness, loss of sight or glaucoma. In some states they may prescribe medications to treat certain types of eye problems. They prescribe, fit and supply eyeglasses and contact lenses. They remove anything that may be stuck in the eyes or that may be causing a loss of vision. They provide pre and post operative care for patients undergoing certain types of eye surgeries and procedures. They prescribe treatments to preserve a patient’s vision. They provide several types of vision therapies to their patients.
The current national optometrist salary is about $108,000 per year as of 2012. The amount that you make as an optometrist will depend on your training and education, your experience, the amount of clients you treat, the type of diseases you handle and even the state that you work in. Experience is a very important factor in the optometrist salary. As a newly graduated and practicing optometrist, the average salary will start out around $52,000 per year. As an optometrist gains more experience, they will see raises in their salary. After five years of experience, the optometrist wage will increase to $72,000 per year. With ten years of experience, an optometrist salary will increase to $95,000 annually. The pay rate for an optometrist will continue to rise each year that you remain employed. After fifteen years of working as an optometrist, the optometrist salary will increase to $124,000 a year. The top optometrist income will be reached once you have at least twenty years of experience. At this advanced level of experience, an optometrist salary is in the $184,000 a year range. In addition to these rates, you can increase your salary by remaining at one work place for several years. This typically puts you in life for more raises.
If you are interested in becoming an optometrist, it is important to understand that it will take a lot of time and determination to complete. The first step in this process is to get your undergraduate degree. While the degree can be in anything it is recommended in a math or science. After you graduate with a bachelor’s degree, you will need to take the Optometry Admission Test and pass it before you can apply to optometry school. There are currently twenty accredited optometry programs for you to choose from. This doctorate program will take four additional years to complete. Course work will include classroom learning in addition to clinical rotations in a real medical setting. Once you have graduated from graduate school, many optometrists will complete a one year residency program. This is done in a specialty setting such as vision therapy, geriatrics, pediatrics and family practice. In addition to a medical degree, it is also required in all states to become licensed before practicing. An optometrist must take and pass the National Boards in Optometry exam. An additional exam may be required depending on the state that you live in.
Optometrist Work Environment:
The work environment for an optometrist is typically in a medical setting such as an eye clinic or a medical facility. Many optometrists often work in doctor’s offices too. Some optometrists are also self employed. The setting is typically a doctor’s office environment and is well lit and temperature controlled. The majority of the work done during office hours as an optometrist will include standing over the patient. They also will have to transcribe and update medical records and other documentation. They may work in a team environment or in a one person office. Since they will be working with patients, they also must have a good level of communication in both listening and understanding. The normal work schedule for an optometrist is forty hours per week. Some may work part time hours. Hours are typically 8 to 5 PM and some weekend hours may be required.
There are many great benefits to becoming an optometrist. It is a job that offers a great salary, good working hours and conditions and a great job outlook for the future. Currently, there are more than 34,000 medical professionals working as optometrists. By 2020, there will be an increase of more than thirty three percent more jobs added to the market. This means that there will be more than 11,000 jobs added in the next few years.