Practical business skills? Check. Challenging clinical patients? Check.
YOU CAN LEARN A LOT from some of the most profitable businesses in the country, and corporate optometry gives new grads exposure to some of those business models—different kinds of business models from what are traditionally taught in optometry schools. Whether they work as fill-in practitioners or in an employed or sublease situation, new grads can find opportunities within corporate optometry to learn the business side as well as the clinical side of optometry. It can be a great career foundation, as the skills learned here can be used in many other settings within the optometric industry.
In optometry school, future O.D.s learn all about eye health and caring for patients. But unfortunately, they learn very little about the business realities of running a practice. So they graduate ready to take on eye care, but without much practice management education.
Working in corporate optometry after graduation exposes new grads to experienced eyecare professionals and provides the opportunity to see how an optical is successfully run. It can provide:
» Sales 101. This means learning how to set price points, the importance of visual merchandising, staffing efficiencies, and successful marketing and retail branding strategies.
» Optical Management Truths. Eyecare professionals who have worked in various positions in the industry have acquired vast knowledge on insurance plans, ophthalmic lenses, and troubleshooting patient issues. New grads can learn much from them.
» Career Path Exposure. Learning the business with ECPs who know and understand the best practices in the industry is the best way to jump-start your career. It is also a great way to see if you would want to have your own business. Many frown upon working long and late hours, but I think those who can do that continuously and handle the workload can see if self-employment and private practice is—or isn’t—for them.
Many corporate optometry offices are medically focused. The wide variety of patients seen there provides excellent on-the-job training in the very important, but intangible, elements like patient communication and exam efficiency. And, they can also serve as a learning ground for new grads looking to hone their contact lens fitting and skills.
A corporate optometry setting can provide training in:
» Diagnostic Technology. Many corporate offices have advanced technology designed to help diagnose and treat patients.
» Continued Care. Once diagnosed, continuing to care for these patients throughout the years is a great way to expand a new grad’s clinical knowledge. Many corporate optometry settings employ doctors who are at various stages of their careers, providing mentoring opportunities for new grads regarding clinical cases.
» Contact Lens Fitting. New grads will find themselves fitting a lot of toric and multifocal contact lenses. And with volume comes experience. And with experience comes skill.
Don’t listen to the myths that O.D.s in corporate optometry spend their days refracting, and only refracting. There are many things that new graduates can learn and expand on from a job in corporate optometry. COT!
—Maria Sampalis, O.D.