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What Does it Take to Be an Ophthalmologist?

Job Description: Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries of the eyes and related structures.

Life As an Ophthalmologist

  • Perform comprehensive examinations of the visual system to determine the nature or extent of ocular disorders.
  • Prescribe or administer topical or systemic medications to treat ophthalmic conditions and to manage pain.
  • Refer patients for more specialized treatments when conditions exceed the experience, expertise, or scope of practice of practitioner.
  • Prescribe ophthalmologic treatments or therapies such as chemotherapy, cryotherapy, or low vision therapy.
  • Perform, order, or interpret the results of diagnostic or clinical tests.
  • Develop treatment plans based on patients’ histories and goals, the nature and severity of disorders, and treatment risks and benefits.

Skills Needed to be an Ophthalmologist

When polled, Ophthalmologists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

  • MD
  • Ophthalmologist, Medical Director, President
  • Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon
  • Ophthalmologist-Retina Specialist
  • Medical Director

Job Outlook for Ophthalmologists

In the United States, there were 372,400 jobs for Physicians and Surgeons in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 11.4% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 42,300 new jobs for Ophthalmologists by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 14,300 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Ophthalmologists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Physicians and Surgeons are New York, Florida, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in Connecticut, Rhode Island, or South Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Ophthalmologist Salary

The typical yearly salary for Physicians and Surgeons is somewhere between $60,280 and $208,000. The median salary is $200,890.

Salary Ranges for Ophthalmologists

How much do Physicians and Surgeons make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

New Hampshire

$275,840

North Dakota

$266,510

Maine

$257,550

Montana

$247,260

Minnesota

$245,040

Alaska

$244,220

Idaho

$241,670

Wisconsin

$239,610

Washington

$239,080

Indiana

$237,470

Georgia

$235,060

Wyoming

$234,610

Tennessee

$231,960

New Mexico

$229,100

Arizona

$229,090

Hawaii

$228,470

South Dakota

$227,710

Nevada

$227,500

Kentucky

$223,770

West Virginia

$222,270

Connecticut

$221,870

Colorado

$219,310

Iowa

$219,300

Utah

$218,210

Delaware

$216,600

Ohio

$212,160

Rhode Island

$209,580

New Jersey

$208,820

California

$208,740

Massachusetts

$207,990

Florida

$205,020

Missouri

$203,440

Oregon

$202,750

Texas

$199,370

Virginia

$199,080

North Carolina

$198,040

Maryland

$196,210

Pennsylvania

$195,810

Kansas

$191,430

South Carolina

$185,210

Louisiana

$183,920

Illinois

$183,780

Alabama

$183,510

District of Columbia

$182,910

Michigan

$181,760

Vermont

$176,520

Mississippi

$174,340

New York

$171,060

Arkansas

$165,290

Nebraska

$161,880

Oklahoma

$155,130

Tools & Technologies Used by Ophthalmologists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Ophthalmologists:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

Becoming an Ophthalmologist

What kind of Ophthalmologist requirements are there?

Ophthalmologist Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Ophthalmologist Work Experience

Where Ophthalmologists Are Employed

Ophthalmologist Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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