Pupillary Pathways

Follow Us

Pros and Cons of the Three Most Popular Career Paths in Optometry

Posted by Talin Amadian on Dec 7, 2020 12:00:00 AM


Optometry offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to practice settings and environments. However, from a new graduate’s standpoint, it’s hard to get an honest representation of a practice setting without actually spending time within.

Some students never have exposure to a particular practice setting until after graduation when it’s time to look for a job. Knowing what you’re getting yourself into is a very important part of the initial job search.

Here are some pros and cons compiled by anonymous docs that can help you determine which common practice setting is right for you. This post is intended to help guide the initial job search. By no means does this replace the value of actual experiences!




High pay

Less medical practice


Longer hours 

Don’t need to sell

Less flexibility with days off

No startup costs

No decision making on frame lines/insurance

Don’t have to worry about staffing

Very few specialties

Refer out complex cases

Don’t set your own fees

Multiple locations

Often work weekends


Private Practice (Associate Doctor)



Flexible hours

Benefits variable

Freedom to practice medically

Higher patient volume

Don’t have to worry about staffing

Limitations on practice patterns

Specialties are possible

Pay variable

Ability to grow/buy out practice

Less job security if part time

No startup costs

Production quotas

Build long-term patient relationships

Often work weekends


Private Practice (Owner)



Adjustable schedule

Hiring/firing staff

Autonomy over frame brands

Little profit generated if out of office

Job security

Administrative responsibilities 

Specialties are possible

Provide your own benefits

Control of volume

Sometimes have to mediate conflict

Startup costs

Can be on call

Build long-term patient relationships

Must market yourself





Stable schedule (very few weekends)

Very high patient volume

Updated equipment

Sometimes on call 

Refracting technicians/scribe

Very little contact lens practice

Good exposure to ocular/systemic disease

Little input for improvements

Great pay in comparison to other modalities

Can lose optical skills

Good benefits 

No vision therapy/low vision/other specialties

CE allowances 

Long hours


I hope this post was helpful! Stay tuned for more career tips in the coming weeks!

Dr. Amadian

Topics: Career Choice



Popular Posts

Posts by Topic

see all