The AOA recently noted that most Optometrists graduate with over $200,000 in school debt. That means most OD’s start their professional career with the equivalent of a house payment long before ever buying one.
Even with a median starting salary of $94,690, that kind of debt can cripple or at least handicap professional and personal growth.
Some OD’s eventually own their own practice and have the opportunity to make great money. Some are part of practices that offer incentives and bonuses. But many Optometrists are salaried employees with limited options for income growth.
What to do? Here are 3 tips.
One: Work Multiple Jobs
Of course, many doctors don’t want to work at multiple practices. Picking up a shift at a Wal-Mart on a Saturday is incredibly unappealing for many OD’s. But in the immediate, what else are you going to do? Especially if you are a starting Optometrist, now is the time to get ahead. Work now, so you can play later.
Two: Care about the Numbers
So many doctors (even owners) don’t track their revenue per patient, but these numbers are easy to determine. If the young OD can track that they have a high revenue per patient (enhanced by things like contact lens and frame sells), then the young OD can make a case for raises and bonuses or even better jobs at practices that are hiring. Care about the numbers, and the numbers will care about you.
Three: Be the Best OD in the Practice
This may seem obvious, but often it is not. If you are the best, most congenial, and caring OD in the practice, you will be build a loyal patient following. Your reputation will grow and the opportunity to start your own practice will be enhanced because the patients in the area think highly of you.
We hope these tips help. Optometry debt is out of control, but know this. Taking 20 years to pay off that number while trying to build the life you want is going to be a challenge. Help yourself by instilling these three tips into your patient and professional care.
Gordon Duncan is the CEO/Consultant at ProSight Success. He has been an eye care advocate for nearly 20 years.
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Gordon Duncan is an award-winning educator, salesman, teacher, manager, and writer. He has taught in the public school system, lobbied for school's accreditation, managed eye clinics, led sales' teams, and also publishes books on theology, church, and culture.