Optometrists are medical professionals specializing in eye health care and treat clients of all ages, from children to the elderly. They prescribe corrective lenses and eyeglasses to patients and also suggest treatments if needed. If this is your dream career, read the following sections to have a comprehensive understanding of how to make a resume.
First, let’s look at the three types of resume formats, one of which you will choose to write your resume.
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Job Duties of an Optometrist
The role of an optometrist demands extreme care in performing eye examinations and diagnosis as part of their daily activities. The following list explains the overall responsibilities carried out every day by an optometrist:
Conducting thorough vision tests such as visual acuity, retinoscopy, refraction, keratometry, and intraocular pressure.
Diagnosing defects in the vision such as myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.
Prescribing appropriate medications, eyeglasses, or contact lens for the eye condition and referring the patient to an ophthalmologist for complex issues.
Providing guidelines for eliminating further vision problems and taking care of eye wellness with lifestyle changes.
Involving in preoperative and postoperative care for patients who underwent surgery.
Preserving the condition of equipment like a phoropter, retinal camera, and ophthalmoscope.
Maintaining medical records of patients and updating them with ongoing treatments.
Scheduling future appointments for patients requiring further evaluations.
Collaborating with other specialists like ophthalmologists, opticians, neurologists, or physicians.
Optometrist Median Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of an optometrist is $118,050 per annum as of May 2020. The compensation is variable based on the performance and experience of the optometrist.
Top Skills for Optometrists
An optometrist must have exceptional skills to analyze and diagnose the patient’s eye condition without any errors.
Here are a few:
- Knowledge of eye anatomy and how vision works: You need to have a strong understanding of the physical structure of the eye and its biological and chemical characteristics. That’s why you need to have a good educational background to have this job.
- Excellent analytical capabilities: The first duty is to examine the patient’s vision with appropriate tests based on age and complications they may face. Upon receiving the necessary information, the optometrist must conduct relevant eye examinations, such as external, internal, and visual field exams, to analyze the cause of the issue in pursuit of a treatment plan.
- Equipment expertise: Analysis of patient eyes and measuring vision correctness requires efficient and skillful handling of devices. The optometrist must be an expert using tonometers, retinal cameras, ophthalmoscopes, a Snellen chart, retinoscopes, phoropters, and autorefractors. With the help of the readings from this equipment, the optometrist can diagnose visual defects accurately.
- Critical thinking during emergencies: Optometrists are expected to develop quick resolutions for eye emergencies due to collisions, sports accidents, or chemical burns and irritations. They must make a swift diagnosis and redirect the patient to ophthalmologists for surgeries. Apart from these, they should receive a certification to perform CPR and first aid during emergencies.
- Electronic health records (EHR) management: Optometrists take complete responsibility for recording patient information and treatment plans. More medical offices turn to EHR to increase productivity and minimize physical health records for easier access each day. Learning to use EHR software such as athenaOne will boost your resume.
- Knowledge of lenses, contact lenses, and frames for glasses: Optometrists commonly treat loss of vision. Such issues are treated using contact lenses or glasses prescribed by them. A skilled optometrist should determine the thickness of the lenses and the type according to the patient’s vision. The same applies to contact lenses since there are several types ranging from gas permeable to bifocal. Each patient is different, and optometrists should know how to tailor contact lenses and glasses to their specific needs.
- Ethical responsibility: The profession has a code of ethics every optometrist should follow. More than just adhering to these rules, they have the duty of ensuring patients are comfortable at all times and comply with HIPAA to respect their confidentiality.
- Patience and attentiveness: Optometrists have to be good listeners and attentive while the patient explains their issues to provide satisfactory customer service. The equipment is to be handled carefully to ensure the safety of the patients. This requires a lot of patience to take accurate readings and images.
- Clear and amiable communication: Since customers rely on optometrists to find the issue and provide solutions, optometrists should possess a pleasant nature to make patients feel comfortable. They need to collaborate well with opticians who prepare the glasses and ophthalmologists.
Educational Requirements for Optometrists
DegreeTo become an optometrist, one must initially complete a bachelor’s degree in biology, physics, chemistry, or health science. Universities like Portland State University and New York University offer undergraduate programs in the above courses.
The next step is to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). Ultimately, a Doctor of Optometry degree is required to practice. It is a four-year graduate program offered by universities like the University of Alabama, Ferris State University, and the University of Houston. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council of Optometric Education (ACOE), the primary accreditation body for professional programs in optometry. The Doctor of Optometry degree provides students knowledge of ocular anatomy, glaucoma, contact lenses, ocular diseases and other topics needed to treat patients.
Also, ASCO offers residency programs specializing in pediatric and geriatric optometry and other specific focus areas, enabling you to choose a niche.
LicensureAfter completing graduate education, the next step is passing the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam to practice as a licensed optometrist. Some states require you to take specific exams to become a licensed optometrist, so it’s best to contact the board of the state you live in to inquire about these requisites.
CertificationsApart from the mandatory license from the NBEO, taking certifications can enhance your skills.
The American Board of Optometry (ABO) is a non-profit organization that provides advanced certifications for practicing optometrists to expand their clinical knowledge and equip them with the latest trends in optometry. Similarly, the American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry (ABCMO) improves the competency of optometrists with a high-grade certification recognized by major medical centers.
The American Red Cross offers an online CPR certification that boosts your resume since this skill is required for optometrists to perform specific surgical procedures. Another online certificate that can contribute to your career is the Electronic Health Records Certification from Grantham University to keep up with software advancements in the health field.
Optometrist Resume-Writing Tips
If you are a passionate optometrist looking for a job role in an esteemed organization or medical center, you need to build a good, creative resume. Here are tips to make your resume stand out:
- Write an impressive summary or objective statement: Begin your resume with an objective or professional summary that encompasses essential information like former job roles, licensure, years of experience, and at least one career achievement. In the few seconds recruiters spend going through your resume, they have to see relevant skills that match the job description.
- Focus on your achievements: Include complex diagnoses you treated and corrective solutions provided. Mention the advanced certifications and knowledge of the latest trends to entrust the recruiters with your efficiency.
- Showcase your patient advocacy: An optometrist is expected to deal with several customers or patients each day. This is why recruiters look for good-natured candidates with exceptional communication skills. Mention any situation in which you provided excellent patient care and received positive reviews.
- Feature emergency actions: Give more significance to services you have offered during emergencies. If you carried out emergency treatment, write it in your work history section to showcase problem-solving skills.
- Proofread and edit: Check for grammatical errors, inappropriate tone, spelling mistakes, or redundant information. You can have an impressive work history and skills section, but one error affects your credibility.
What are the career opportunities for optometrists?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported employment of optometrists is expected to increase by 4% from 2019 to 2029. Suppose you have completed the four-year doctoral program in optometry along with the license provided by your state. In that case, you can practice optometry in a private office or team up with an ophthalmologist. Optometrists are also employed by eyewear manufacturers and eye care medical centers.
Which resume format should we use if we have minimal experience?
The functional resume format is best suited for candidates with little or no experience. This format emphasizes professional skills more than work experience.
Are we supposed to include references in the resume?
It is unnecessary to include references because the recruiter will directly contact you if they require a connection once your resume is shortlisted.