Optometry is rated excellent in a guide to careers in the March 19 issue of U.S. News and World Report. Optometry ranks in the top 10 among 25 careers that will be in growing demand as baby boomers age, the Internet becomes ubiquitous and Americans seek richer, simpler lives, the article says.

Some of the other top careers include audiologist, school psychologist, speech-language therapist, landscape architect, pharmacist and registered nurse.

The list of recommended careers is based on expectations for job growth, earnings potential and the opportunity for meaningful work and good quality of life. Optometry is identified as a career where the job prospects are strong due to the large number of aging boomers in need of vision care.

When classified by salary, optometry ranked number 6, with a median income of $98,458 (which was between management consultant at number 7, with a median income of $96,245, and pharmacist at number 5, with a median income of $98,828).

When classified by quality of life, optometry ranked number 2 (right behind higher education administrator). Satisfaction in optometry is high since most vision problems can be corrected with lenses or relatively minor surgery. High growth was particularly projected for pediatric optometry.

Optometrist Lori Youngman, of Vancouver, Wash., is profiled in the article. The article says that as an O.D., her role is just a partbut a critical partof the vision care spectrum. I love the interaction with patients holding someones hand when theyre crying over an eye infection that is potentially threatening, she says. We, as a profession, tend to be very close to our patients. We are their cradle-to-grave eye doctors.

To read the full article, go to www.usnews.com/careers.

Vol. No: 144:04Issue: 4/15/2007