HOW TO BECOME AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST

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A career as an Ophthalmologist can help individuals live the kind of life that most people dream about. It is a rewarding career that offers excellent pay along with a high level of respectability. The path that leads to a career as an ophthalmologist features extensive schooling and years of preparation. However, the life of an ophthalmologist is one that creates a future filled with a wealth of benefits and perks.

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CAREER OVERVIEW OF AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST

Ophthalmologists are physicians who specialize in eye care. An ophthalmologist holds the title of M.D., which refers to a Doctor of Medicine. Ophthalmologists can also hold the distinction of a D.O., which is a Doctor of Osteopathy. Regardless of that title, ophthalmologists serve the same function. They are responsible for treating problems with the eye as well as diagnosing ailments and prescribing medicine for the eye. An ophthalmologist also performs surgical procedures on the eye.

Ophthalmologists perform simpler duties like prescribing corrective lenses, but are also involved in highly-advanced clinical studies and research. There are some ophthalmologists who opt to concentrate on one area of specialization and some who focus on working with children as pediatric ophthalmologists.

The work setting for an ophthalmologist differs as hospitals and private practices are two common locations. Some ophthalmologists will even open up their own Lasik centers as this type of surgical treatment is becoming more and more popular.

Ophthalmologists are very thorough and extremely well-versed in everything that has to do with the eye. There is also an obligation to uphold strict practicing standards as issued by each state medical board.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

Ophthalmologist education is quite extensive as it requires many years to earn the title of Ophthalmologist. The first part of that educational journey begins with a Bachelor’s Degree. Once that four-year degree is earned, candidates must be accepted into a four-year medical school program, which must also be completed. That is then followed by an internship and residency, which can last anywhere from 3-8 years. Obtaining a residency is extremely competitive, but a necessary step on the way to becoming an ophthalmologist. There is then the need to pass a state exam to receive a medical license to practice ophthalmology.

CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

To become certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, it is necessary to pass several oral and written examinations. There are also a good deal of prerequisites, which include the completion of medical school, at least one year as a patient care intern, and a minimum of three years in a residency program. Certifications must also be obtained within seven years of the graduation date from medical school.

An Ophthalmology certification from the American Board of Ophthalmology is not required to work within the United States, but is highly recommended. Medical licenses can be obtained without a certification, although employers generally place a high value on these certifications.

MEETING STATE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

Ophthalmologists are required to pass the USMLE (United States Medical License Exam) in addition to other examinations as specified by each state. There is also an extensive screening conducted on an ethical and legal level before a medical license is distributed. Educational requirements and residencies must also be satisfied before a state medical license is issued. Each state medical board has differentiating guidelines regarding the licensing of its ophthalmologists. Certifications from the American Board of Ophthalmology are typically not required to obtain a license, although it aids immensely when it comes time to seek out employment.

OPHTHALMOLOGIST JOB PROSPECTS AND POTENTIAL PAY

The average salary of an Ophthalmologist is just shy of $200k as the mean income is $198,386 per year. Experienced and top end ophthalmologists register annual incomes that are well in excess of $300K per year. Salaries differ according to the place of employment as hospitals generally pay a lot less than private practices. Ophthalmology is a very competitive field with financial rewards that can be quite lucrative. New opportunities continually open up in this field as the job growth for ophthalmologists is expected to increase by 15% over the next decade.

RESOURCES

American Board of Ophthalmology

This website is home to the American Board of Ophthalmology, which nationally certifies ophthalmologists. There is a vast amount of information that is useful to those seeking out a career in this profession.

Ophthalmologist Job Listings

Browse this website provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology as there are hundreds of listings for ophthalmology jobs across the country.

Ophthalmology on the Web

This website caters to ophthalmologists by providing news, updates, current events and more in the field of ophthalmology.

The American Ophthalmological Society

The mission of this society is to promote top-quality research, patient care and education to help the entire ophthalmological profession.

Ophthalmology Organizations

Browse through this website to learn more about all of the ophthalmology associations and organizations located throughout the United States.