Optometric Management Tip # 412   -   Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Advice for new optometry grads

I received an email from a fourth year optometry student asking the following questions: "I was wondering if you have any recommendations on finding private practice opportunities in this tough economy. Also, from your perspective, what does a new graduate have that may seem attractive to an established doctor?

Here are some thoughts that may help students and recent grads as they enter their professional careers, but I hope my comments are also of interest to independent practice owners who should be assessing how new doctors can help them reach their practice goals.

Not everyone wants to own a practice!

It is important for optometry school graduates to consider their goals for practice ownership. Many excellent young ODs today want to practice clinical eye care in a professional environment but they do not want to manage and operate a practice. These doctors would like to work a 40 hour week and go home to their families. They would rather not have the time burden of building a patient base, the stress of managing a staff and the business risk of borrowing money. Those of us who own practices can certainly understand that and fortunately for all, there are now practice modalities that facilitate this career goal.

Many ODs mistakenly believe that you must either own your private practice or work in a retail store or optical chain. Many senior ODs mistakenly believe that to recruit and retain a good OD into their practice, they must offer some form of future ownership. Actually, a growing trend is for independent private practice owners to employ ODs and pay them an excellent salary and benefits.

How can a practice benefit from another OD?

As the new graduate approaches practitioners about the possibility of becoming an associate, it is good to have an awareness of how the practice owner might benefit.

How any associate can help a practice:

Why a new grad may be better:

What to promise

Here is some advice for new grads seeking a job position. If you bring up these ideas in a job interview situation, I guarantee the senior doctor will be impressed. Of course, you must be willing to follow through with them if you are hired.

I'll offer more tips next week for finding a job position.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management