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Job Focus: Working as an Optometry Franchise Owner
While many jobs in the medical field involve working in a hospital, big office, or working for someone else, optometrythe health care profession that treats the eyeis one where it's common to own your own business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 25 percent of optometrists are self-employed.
What they do:
Optometrists are the main doctors for eye care. Not to be confused with ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) or opticians (doctors who fit eyeglasses and contact lenses), optometrists conduct general eye examinations, testing for color perception, depth perception, near/far sightedness and eye coordination. Optometrists also prescribe medication for infection or disease and recommend correctional tools such as glasses or contact lenses.
According to the US News and World Report, a career in optometry is one of the best for curious, investigative personalities, citing a high cure rate, regular hours, good pay and realistic potential for being a successfully self-employed. Owning an optometry franchise comes with an additional set of duties: ordering equipment and office supplies, keeping patient records, contacting insurance companies and managing employees.
Optometrists who choose to pursue the research end of the industry may continue their education and receive a PhD in areas such as neurophysiology, visual science, physiological optics, and other more encompassing fields such as public health or health education.
What they need:
Optometrists must have a doctor of optometry degree, which indicates they have completed a 4-year program at one of the 19 accredited colleges of optometry in the United States.
Getting into optometry school is competitive. Applicants may have an advantage by including English, physics, chemistry, biology and math in their college course load. They must take the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), a four-part test that measures both overall academic abilities and scientific comprehension.
While a general optometry degree is sufficient, many optometrists choose to specialize in a particular area of eye care such as pediatrics, geriatrics, ocular disease or ocular surgery. In order to do this, you must complete a one-year postgraduate clinical residency.
Even with all of the degrees and certifications listed above, optometrists are not allowed to practice until they receive their license. This process involves passing two tests given by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. One test is a written exam for the National Board while the other is a hands-on test that evaluates knowledge via a clinical exam. Licenses must be renewed every one to three years, and continuing education credits are needed for all optometrists to renew.
While owning your own business usually means making your own schedule, optometrists should be on call for patient emergencies.
What they earn:
According to CBsalary.com, the average salary for an optometrist is $128,935. The 25th and 75th percentiles of salaries fall between $78,659 and $227,819, respectively.
As baby boomers grow older and require more medical attention for their eyes, the field of optometry is expected to respond. Employment for optometrists is expected to grow more than 20 percent between now and 2018.
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