The decision to become an optometrist is not one to be taken lightly. You’ll have to commit to several additional years of school, you’ll have a heavy course load, and once you graduate, you’ll literally be responsible for one of the most important aspects of people’s lives—their sight. And you’ll most likely be taking on a considerable financial burden until you graduate.
On the other hand, optometry can be incredibly rewarding. If you go into clinical optometry, you’ll get to interact with a tremendous variety of people. You’ll be dealing with patients, colleagues, and other health professionals. You’ll be responsible for making sure your patients are getting the optimal treatment. And if you decide to go into research, you’ll be interacting with highly intelligent colleagues from a wide range of scientific fields. In either case, optometrists tend to be both well-paid and well-respected—a rare combination.
To be effective and successful, optometrists must have certain traits that help them with their position. First, and most crucial, they definitely need to have the ability to pay attention to detail. Judgment and dependability are essential for this job as well. Since you’ll have access to potentially dangerous substances, you must have high ethical standards and maintain reliable records. Finally, you’ll have to be knowledgeable about and keep up with the constant stream of new products and treatments on the market.
So is it right for you? Ultimately, that’s a decision you have to make. Optometry school is a serious time and financial commitment. But if you have specific career goals and apply yourself, the payoff can be extraordinary.