Optometry Perfect balance of high pay and low stress

Optometry: Perfect balance of high pay and low stress?

Two Business Insider articles, one from 2013 and another from 2014, both placed optometry on a list of high-paying, low-stress jobs—and it seems the placement might be right.

"...Your patient will be healthier and happier due to your interaction with them."

Both Business Insider articles consulted Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., a career information expert. He used a stress tolerance scale (from zero to 100) wherein a lower rating means less stress. The scale, which was created from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Information Network (O*Net), measures how frequently workers have to accept criticism and deal with high stress levels.

Shatkin compared the average annual salaries of hundreds of jobs, identified by the U.S. Department of Labor, with those stress levels to determine careers that offer the winning combination of both high pay and low stress.

In 2013, optometry made the list of 15 occupations and was given a stress tolerance rating of 65.5 and the average salary was noted as $97,820.

In 2014, optometry was on a list of 17 and both its stress tolerance and average annual salary saw increases: 70.3 and $111,640 respectively.

Does optometry belong on a list of high-pay, low-stress jobs?
Optometry is rightly placed on these lists, according to Barbara Horn, O.D., AOA Board of Trustees member.

"While, as optometrists, we have the incredibly difficult and stressful task of informing some patients that they have a blinding eye disease or life-threatening issue, it is more likely that we are providing care that is improving our patients lives," says Dr. Horn.

"We often provide care that increases patients' overall health status. Helping to get them into the health care system to manage their overall health provides a feeling of pride and satisfaction that your patient will be healthier and happier due to your interaction with them," adds Dr. Horn.

Optometry wasn't the only health care profession to make the lists: dental hygiene, audiology and orthodontia are also seen as high-pay, low stress jobs. Orthodontia and optometry were the only two health care professions to appear on the lists in both 2013 and 2014.

Dr. Horn believes owning her own practice—which allows her to be in control of her schedule, her staff, and all aspects of her work life—adds to her job satisfaction.

"Not all ODs would enjoy owning their own private practice. Luckily the OD degree allows numerous options including private practitioners, group practice, educators, researchers and employees," says Dr. Horn.

"For me, optometry is a great profession because it allows me the opportunity to offer my community quality care and also be involved in my community in various other ways," says Horn.

October 27, 2014

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