If you’ve ever considered a career in eye care, you’ll be pleased to know that the employment outlook is good. Growth in the market is steady and predictable. The population is aging, and once people reach the age of forty, they tend to need more help with vision correction and other eye-related concerns than before. On top of that, the U.S. population continues to grow.
Eye care is a profession that weathers economic downturns better than many others since it’s essential. Best of all, eye care professionals make a meaningful difference in their patients’ lives.
Options For a Career in Eye Care
If you want a career in eye care, you can become an optician, and optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
Help fit eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision correcting devices. They’re always in demand, and the pay ranges from about $38,000 – $55,000 per year, depending on where they’re employed. If you want to learn to become an optician, it may interest you to know that The Army Reserve is currently offering positions as an Optical Laboratory Specialist (68H). The training process for this position includes 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training followed by 24 weeks of Advanced Individual Training.
Doctors who examine, diagnose, and treat visual problems, diseases, and injuries of the eye. Optometrists have a four year college degree, plus four additional years of specialized graduate training that consists of a mixture of classroom courses and supervised clinical work.
Optometry school is competitive and rigorous. You’ll need to pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) to get in, and get licensed in the state in which you wish to practice, and complete continuing education courses throughout your career. However, that level of dedication has its rewards.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) demand for optometrists is growing 10% faster than most other careers. The income can be excellent as well. In 2019, the BLS reported that their average salary at $115,250 per year, which comes to $55.41 per hour.
Medical doctors (MDs) who are licensed to practice eye surgery. Typical training includes a four-year college degree followed by at least eight years of additional specialized medical training.
A career in any facet of medicine is a big commitment. Interviewing and/or shadowing professionals in the eye care career you’re considering —especially those who have recently graduated — will help you know what you’re getting into before you apply.
GI Bill Approved Degree Programs
A huge part of the commitment you’re facing when choosing higher education is financial. You can save thousands of dollars by choosing a GI Bill approved program such as those at:
Caroline Sposto is a writer, actor, and the founder of Savvy Civility, an educational company that specializes in civilian role play training. She has a passion for the arts, education, and small business.