Ophthalmology is a great medical specialty to pursue. Becoming an ophthalmologist is rewarding in a number of ways, but achieving success as an eye doctor requires dedication and long-term commitment. If you are interested in beginning your ophthalmologist career path, read on to learn more about ophthalmologist education requirements, job outlook, average eye doctor salary, and more.
An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in eye and vision care via medical and surgical methods. These healthcare providers are focused on diagnosing, treating, and advancing the understanding of disorders and diseases of the eye.
As with many healthcare occupations, the ophthalmologist career path provides an avenue for practitioners to do a lot of good in the world as well as a road to financial stability. In addition to studying, identifying, and finding cures for the ailments that impact their patients’ vision, ophthalmologists have the potential to improve or even restore an individual’s sight, which can be far more rewarding than mere monetary gain.
The very first step on the ophthalmologist career path includes a lot of education. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors after all, so they must have a doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) degree. From there, an ophthalmologist must obtain their medical license, which includes rotations under training physicians as well as a two-step examination process. After achieving licensure as a medical doctor, all ophthalmologists must complete a one-year internship as well as three to four years in a residency program to earn certification through the American Board of Ophthalmology.
Similar to other physicians and healthcare practitioners, the average eye doctor salary is well over six figures. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts the median pay for ophthalmologists at $208,000 per year. However, other sources list compensation as high as $343,115.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are approximately 27,500 practicing ophthalmologists in the US as of 2018. However, a large portion of these doctors are 55 or older (47% to be exact), meaning there could be a shortage in the near future. This has the potential to significantly impact the ophthalmologist job outlook, which the BLS projects to increase by 13% from now through 2026.
The ophthalmologist career path is a satisfying occupation that allows you to make a difference in the lives of patients of all ages. The stringent ophthalmologist education requirements mean this vocation is not for everyone, but if you work hard, there’s no reason why you can’t find your dream job as an ophthalmologist!