The Future of the Job Market for New Optometrists

Sep 5, 2017
3 min read

Today's new optometrists are entering a career field with endless options! There are quite a few career paths that one can pursue, even fresh out of school. We caught up with some unique ODs at Vision Expo East 2017.

Here are some of the highlights from the videos we shot:

Some new optometrists are opening up private practices cold.

If you're willing to work hard, you can be very successful opening a private practice cold.

Eric Baas, OD, Marketplace Vision & Co-Founder of, notes that the financing market is great right now for a young OD looking to open a practice cold. He states, "The risk of failure is minimal...almost nonexistent." adding that "quite frankly, as long as you're willing to put in the work, I really think that success is the only outcome."

Other new ODs are buying into existing practices.

The best part about private practice is the tremendous amount of flexibility: professional, personal, and financial. It's also a built in retirement plan.

Lots of private practices will pay good money for you to come in and learn, then eventually partner or buy out the practice.

If your goal is to eventually partner or buy out an existing practice, be sure to make that clear during your interview process!

Some new optometrists are choosing to open corporate subleases.

Many new optometrists have been told some negative things and corporate subleases as a perfect blend of private practice and corporate.

Azzrah Thobani OD, FAAO, Managing Optometrist at LensCrafters remarks that, "it's a just different form of practicing," urging new optometrists to not give into the perception of what others might say it is.

Instead, Dr. Thobani strongly recommends that new ODs look corporate optometry themselves and make up their own minds.

She feels that corporate subleases have many pros, including the ability to learn the business side of optometry, without having to deal with the individual overhead.

Dr. Thobani enjoys being able to call the shots about how she treats patients, including what she prescribes, and when she follows up with them. She also enjoys the fact that her patients are impressed by the cutting edge technology that her sublease affords.

Entrepreneurship and non-clinical care.

Technology is allowing young ODs to take on non-clinical and entrepreneurial ventures. There's absolutely nothing wrong with leveraging your OD degree to do something unique.

Dr. Matt Geller, OD, co-founder of, strongly urges students to take the extra time in their days to explore interests and skills that could be used in unique or entrepreneurial pursuits.

"If it's the difference between a B and an A," Dr. Geller urges, "take the B and with that extra hour you'd use to get the A, invest it in making yourself unique in other ways."

Of course, he points out, if you're set on pursuing a residency, shooting for top grades is essential.

Medical optometry is another route for a new ODs to stand out.

When you are doing medical optometry, there's never a dull day! There's always communication and the ability to learn. Ask yourself what you really want out of your optometry career. Take the primary motivation in optometry quiz, if you haven't already!

If you crave variety, consider medical optometry!

A residency will help you feel more confident, so consider that. Dr. Patricia Fulmer OD, FAAO, recommends that optometrists considering the medical optometry path pursue residency.

About Meredith Victor Castin, PT, DPT

Meredith is the co-founder of and the founder of The Non-Clinical PT. She is originally from Tyler, TX and attended UPenn for undergrad, before graduating with her DPT from USA (San Diego) in 2010. She has worked in …

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