12-Year-Old Is Considering Career as Eye Doctor


Ashley writes:
Although I’m only 12 I still am trying to find my career early. That’s what my careers teacher said.
I really think that I might want to be an eye doctor though I don’t know why. And I don’t know how
my parents would react to that. I don’t know much about what an eye doctor does. I tried searching
on the Internet but instead I came across you so I figured I’d email you. Can you help me find out
more about this career and how I should tell my parents?


The Career Doctor responds:
Wow… I think it is great that you are contemplating future careers though12 seems pretty
young to really know what you want to do with your life… but I am glad to help you with
the process.
A lot of people pick careers without knowing why — and that’s okay if they luck into a career
that matches their interests and skills. Unfortunately a lot of people fall into the wrong careers
and spend many years in a job they don’t like — or worse. Thus it is important to regularly do
some career planning — at ANY age.
The one thing you want to avoid the most is choosing a career for either the wrong reasons
(high salary) or because of outside influences (family).
An eye doctor — an optometrist — is primarily responsible for the health of his or her patients’
eyes. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses — and refer patients with more
serious issues to ophthalmologists (who perform eye surgery). Besides the four years of college
prospective optometrists must attend graduate school and earn a Doctor of Optometry degree
and then pass national and state exams before being given a license to practice.
I think the two most important characteristics for a career in optometry is a high level of skill in
science and a desire to help people.
Why would you not want to discuss this career path with your parents? It’s a great profession
and something to strive for — even if you find something that interests you even more next year!
There are many great sources of career information available online and in print and I encourage
you to use them. Also assuming you have an eye doctor see if you can schedule an appoint
to talk with him or her about the pros and cons of the job.
Please use these Career
Exploration Tools and Resources
to help you learn more about optometry or any other career.