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Career and Education Opportunities for Optometrists in Los Angeles, California

Optometrists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Los Angeles, California area. About 3,300 people are currently employed as optometrists in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 21% to about 4,000 people employed. 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%. In general, optometrists diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system.

The income of an optometrist is about $47 per hour or $99,210 yearly on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $46 per hour or $96,320 annually on average. Incomes for optometrists are better than in the overall category of Ophthalmology in California, and better than the overall Ophthalmology category nationally. Optometrists work in a variety of jobs, including: doctor of optometry , optometry doctor , and doctor.

The Los Angeles area is home to 274 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Los Angeles where you can get a degree as an optometrist. Optometrists usually hold a Doctoral degree, so you can expect to spend four or five years studying to be an optometrist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or eight to ten years if you have 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 Los Angeles include:

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  • 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 Dispensing Optician. Design, measure, and adapt lenses and frames for client according to written optical prescription or specification. Assist client with selecting frames. Measure customer for size of eyeglasses and coordinate frames with facial and eye measurements and optical prescription. Prepare work order for optical laboratory containing instructions for grinding and mounting lenses in frames. Verify exactness of finished lens spectacles. Adjust frame and lens position to fit client. May shape or reshape frames.
  • 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.
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  • Orthodontist. Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
  • 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.
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  • 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

Southern California College of Optometry - Fullerton, CA

Southern California College of Optometry, 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831-1699. Southern California College of Optometry is a small college located in Fullerton, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 384 students. Southern California College of Optometry has a doctor's degree program in Optometry which graduated ninety-two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California photo by Diliff

Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 3,833,995, which has grown by 3.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Los Angeles, 166, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Los Angeles are valued at $361,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, seven hundred twelve new homes were built in Los Angeles, down from 1,551 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Los Angeles are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 25.5% of Los Angeles residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 13.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Los Angeles residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. All Peoples Christian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and All Saints Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Los Angeles. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Los Angeles is home to the Balboa Municipal Golf Course and the Angels Flight Railway as well as Hazard Park and State Street Recreation Center. Shopping centers in the area include Encino Junior Shopping Center, Encino Oaks Shopping Center and Encino Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Los Angeles can choose from Best Western Mid-Wilshire Plaza, Best Western Westwood Pacific and Alma Lodge for temporary stays in the area.