Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Optometrists in Birmingham, Alabama

If you want to be an optometrist, the Birmingham, Alabama area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 510 jobs for optometrists in Alabama and this is projected to grow 16% to about 590 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for optometrists are expected to grow by about 24.4%. Optometrists generally diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system.

Income for optometrists is about $39 per hour or $82,860 per year on average in Alabama. Nationally, their income is about $46 hourly or $96,320 annually. Incomes for optometrists are better than in the overall category of Ophthalmology in Alabama, and better than the overall Ophthalmology category nationally. Jobs in this field include: doctor, doctor of optometry , and optometry doctor .

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be an optometrist, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Optometrists usually hold a Doctoral degree, so you can expect to spend four or five years training to become an optometrist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or eight to ten years starting with a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Optometrist

Optometrist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, optometrists diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. They also examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment.

Optometrists analyze test results and design treatment plans. They also examine eyes, using observation, instruments and pharmaceutical agents, to establish visual acuity and perception, focus and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities such as glaucoma or color blindness. Equally important, optometrists have to prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses and other vision aids. They are often called upon to confer with and refer patients to ophthalmologists or other health care practitioners if additional medical treatment is determined needed. They are expected to educate and counsel patients on contact lens care, visual hygiene, lighting arrangements and safety factors. Finally, optometrists examine eyes, using observation, instruments and pharmaceutical agents, to establish visual acuity and perception, focus and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities such as glaucoma or color blindness.

Every day, optometrists are expected to be able to piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for optometrists to furnish vision therapy and low vision rehabilitation. Somewhat less frequently, optometrists are also expected to educate and counsel patients on contact lens care, visual hygiene, lighting arrangements and safety factors.

Optometrists sometimes are asked to remove foreign bodies from the eye. and prescribe medications to treat eye diseases if state laws permit. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish vision therapy and low vision rehabilitation.

Like many other jobs, optometrists must have exceptional integrity and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Dentist. Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Medical Laboratory Technician. Perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May work under the supervision of a medical technologist.
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist. Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
  • Physician Assistant. Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
  • Radiation Therapist. Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Optometrist Training

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a professional degree program in Optometry which graduated thirty-four students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.