Article Date: 6/1/2014

Transitioning Into Practice

Transitioning Into Practice

Learn more about AOA Compass, AOA Excel and other resources for planning your future

By Devin Sasser, AOSA President and Keylee Clemons Brown, AOSA Secretary

For fourth year students across the nation, the time has finally come to cross the stage and venture out into the world of optometric practice. While this is truly an exciting time, transitioning into practice can be a daunting task for many.

As a new OD, it’s important to use all of the resources available to you in order to ease the transition from school into practice. What better way to do this than becoming a member of the American Optometric Association and your respective state association? These organizations offer invaluable resources that aid in your success in practice as a new graduate. Membership within the AOA and your state association grants you access to valuable information such as patient care, business and marketing basics, management, and many other subjects that are important to your success as a new graduate.

A quick glance at the AOA website will reveal seemingly endless material ranging from billing and coding to tips on caring for patients with specific needs. The AOA Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines are an excellent source of information regarding standard diagnosis and treatment of many commonplace complaints that you will undoubtedly see in practice.

Still haven’t found the practice that is right for you? No problem. The American Optometric Association’s program AOA Excel provides an excellent opportunity to find the best practice for you. AOA Excel serves as a medium between you and potential practices. Through this program, you can submit your resume and begin searching for job opportunities based on your personal criteria.

Yet another source of information is AOA Compass. As a student, you may have already heard of this program. If not, it’s never to late to benefit from what the program offers. AOA Compass serves as a one-stop shop for transitioning into practice. Starting with becoming a member of the AOA/AOSA, Compass provides you with a checklist that works as a guide leading up to graduation. Additionally, this program provides a great deal of information on topics that are important to you as a new graduate such as how to obtain an NPI number, information about residencies and even information on simple things such as acquiring business cards. Visit for more information.

Your state association is also available to help you make a smooth transition from student to doctor. Some states have mentor programs that pair a young doctor with an experienced one to guide you along the way. They also have valuable information on state-specific requirements for getting a license. Plus, it’s a great way to network with docs in your area!

With all the resources that are made available to members of the AOA and state associations, there are significant benefits to becoming members of these organizations. As a new graduate, having access to all of these tangible benefits in one place could mean a world of difference as you enter the profession. Seek out information that will allow you to grow as a clinician. For more information, please visit and your specific state association’s website. nOD

To become an AOSA Sustaining Member today, contact an AOSA Executive Council Leader. Contact and additional membership information is available at

Optometric Management, Volume: 49 , Issue: June 2014, page(s): 3