Optometrist Career Profile

An optometrist career may provide greater flexibility than other medical careers that require advanced training, since many optometrists run their own practices. Optometrists work with patients using sophisticated technologies to diagnose and correct any vision problems. On the other hand, running an individual practice can also consume great amounts of time and energy in the form of hiring and firing, paperwork and maintaining and steady flow of clients. A career in optometry requires good communication skills, but most importantly a keen attention to detail and sense of self-discipline to handle such a sensitive part of the body as the eye.

Optometry Doctor Education

Optometrists have to attend accredited schools, pass an exam and become licensed to practice. Optometry school can be highly competitive and takes four years to complete, in general. Optometrists are also required to take courses in continuing education throughout their careers and renew their licenses every few years. Optometrists receive training in multiple disciplines in the sciences, leading to mastery of the field of vision and vision treatments. In order to enter optometry school, optometrists must attend undergraduate education first. Some undergraduates are admitted early to optometry school following the completion of their third year of college. But most students are required to obtain an undergraduate degree before admittance. Optometrists may pick an advanced area of clinical specialization and attend a residency program after graduating from optometry school.

Job Description

Optometrists, or eye doctors, are responsible for taking care of the general health of the eyes and making sure the vision of their patients is the best it can be. Optometrists may specialize in particular area or visual therapy method. Optometrists generally see to common eye problems and prescribe things like corrective lenses and eye drops. Optometrists also keep track of more serious eye diseases, since early detection is key to patient recovery from any potential problems.

Types of Jobs

Optometrists generally find employment in private practice, offices of optometry or some other method. But it is important to make the distinction between an optometrist, or eye doctor, and an ophthalmologist, an eye surgeon. Ophthalmologists work in hospitals and learn surgical techniques in medical school, not optometry school. Also, optometrists should not be confused with opticians, who work with vision correction glasses. Optometrists almost always work full-time.

Pediatric Optometrist

The human eye changes as the body grows. Children have different optometry needs than adults, since their eyes are still developing. Some optometrists may choose to specialize in pediatric optometry and may operate practices in which they see only children. These optometrists may also run family practices. Pediatric optometrists attend a year of specialized training after they graduate from optometry school.

Optometrist Salary

Optometrists generally earn between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. In general, the more specialized training an optometrist receives, the more specialized the position and the higher the pay.


Optometrists may pursue graduate education leaning to the Ph.D. in vision science or a related field. Since Optometrists receive training in biology, chemistry, biochemistry and a variety of other courses, they may have a promising number of options for doctoral study.