Career Advice: Optometry vs Occupational Therapy (1 Viewer)

aks441

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Current Yr12 student here, if anyone knows any pros or cons about these fields please let me know. I am still trying to figure out what I want to be, I have been doing some research but I'm still not sure which is the better option.

Optometrist: decent pay but not as many job options/vacancies
OT: less pay I think, but more options + job opportunities

pay is obviously important, online it shows optometrists as $20-30K higher pay annually than OTs but I guess that just depends. But then again OT has higher future growth.

advice or any other suggestions for careers are greatly appreciated (high paying occupations w reasonable atar entry - preferably in the health/science sector๐Ÿ™)
 

nick4nick6

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Hey! I'm a 2022 graduate that has chosen to do Occupational Therapy at WSU in 2023. Occupational therapy is one of the most varied professions, as you can work in a wide range of settings. This may be anything from pediatrics, rehabilitation, ergonomics and assisted technology, mental health and other settings, both sub acute and acute. Yes, the pay may not be initially particularly high, but this seems to be consistent with other entry level roles in other allied health professions (Think of speech pathology, podiatry, and physiotherapy). However, there is potential to grow in your career and enter managerial/supervisory positions which earn upwards of 100k a year. These include running your own business and hiring other employees to work for you, or working in a managerial position in a public health service supervising junior OTs. There are even options to enter the field of research and lecture at university, but this would require a postgraduate degree (most likely, a PhD). Yes, the pay is mediocre compared to other fields, such as medicine, and other industries (engineering, commerce), but the main reason people choose a career in allied health is due to the satisfaction they gain from helping others. Universities running OT degrees have ATAR requirements between 80 and the low 90s, although this can vary from year to year.

On the other hand, optometry requires a very high ATAR (upwards of 98, usually), and from what I've heard from other optometrists, the pay does not exceed 100k in some circumstances. Another thing to consider with optometry is the nature of your work, which may be considered to be repetitive and not particularly varied. I recommend you do some research on orthoptics, an allied health profession centred around using eye exercises and other technologies to help with eye disorders. However, they do not prescribe glasses, which an optometrist would do. UTS is the only university that offers a Master of Orthoptics, which usually requires an undergraduate degree in a health-related profession. I would advise you to continue to do more research throughout year 12, talk to both professions, and gain a deeper understanding of what you exactly want to do.

Best of luck!
 

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Hey! I'm a 2022 graduate that has chosen to do Occupational Therapy at WSU in 2023. Occupational therapy is one of the most varied professions, as you can work in a wide range of settings. This may be anything from pediatrics, rehabilitation, ergonomics and assisted technology, mental health and other settings, both sub acute and acute. Yes, the pay may not be initially particularly high, but this seems to be consistent with other entry level roles in other allied health professions (Think of speech pathology, podiatry, and physiotherapy). However, there is potential to grow in your career and enter managerial/supervisory positions which earn upwards of 100k a year. These include running your own business and hiring other employees to work for you, or working in a managerial position in a public health service supervising junior OTs. There are even options to enter the field of research and lecture at university, but this would require a postgraduate degree (most likely, a PhD). Yes, the pay is mediocre compared to other fields, such as medicine, and other industries (engineering, commerce), but the main reason people choose a career in allied health is due to the satisfaction they gain from helping others. Universities running OT degrees have ATAR requirements between 80 and the low 90s, although this can vary from year to year.

On the other hand, optometry requires a very high ATAR (upwards of 98, usually), and from what I've heard from other optometrists, the pay does not exceed 100k in some circumstances. Another thing to consider with optometry is the nature of your work, which may be considered to be repetitive and not particularly varied. I recommend you do some research on orthoptics, an allied health profession centred around using eye exercises and other technologies to help with eye disorders. However, they do not prescribe glasses, which an optometrist would do. UTS is the only university that offers a Master of Orthoptics, which usually requires an undergraduate degree in a health-related profession. I would advise you to continue to do more research throughout year 12, talk to both professions, and gain a deeper understanding of what you exactly want to do.

Best of luck!
If the pay is low why does optometry require a high atar
 

nick4nick6

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If the pay is low why does optometry require a high atar
Yes, I've done some googling, and it seems like the average salary for optometrists is around 120k. Most optometrists are hired by companies which bulk bill eye tests with Medicare. The pay is much higher than other allied health professions (such as podiatry, speech pathology and OT), but the ATAR requirement is ridiculously high (98+).
 

aks441

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Thank you so much for your insight and advice! @nick4nick6

Regarding optometry, I was considering the bachelor's of vision science at UNSW (which is like a 90+ I think) and then a Master's in clinical optometry from UNSW or Orthoptics like you said from UTS. I think orthoptics sounds better than optometrists because like prescribing glasses and eye tests which you point out is pretty repetitive. Would you have any idea the pay difference between these occupations, I reckon it may be similar. I did search these jobs on indeed and for Orthoptics there were only 2 results in all of Sydney, one of which was like teaching it at uni (UTS). Which doesn't give me confidence in finding a job, esp as a fresh graduate. However, there are many more options for optometrists as they can work in many more settings, but yes the pay level does vary.

For occupational therapy, I don't know too much about it but it just seems like something that aligns with my interests to work in allied health, I don't know know how passionate I am (for low pay๐Ÿ˜ญ). Would you be able to tell me about what it's like learning OT, and what you plan on doing in the future like after you finish this degree, are you continuing your education or what specific major of OT are you gonna work in? Moreover, how is the workload/peers at western uni? I know USYD has an occupational therapy course too, is there any difference in terms of these two Unis for this course??
 

nick4nick6

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Thank you so much for your insight and advice! @nick4nick6

Regarding optometry, I was considering the bachelor's of vision science at UNSW (which is like a 90+ I think) and then a Master's in clinical optometry from UNSW or Orthoptics like you said from UTS. I think orthoptics sounds better than optometrists because like prescribing glasses and eye tests which you point out is pretty repetitive. Would you have any idea the pay difference between these occupations, I reckon it may be similar. I did search these jobs on indeed and for Orthoptics there were only 2 results in all of Sydney, one of which was like teaching it at uni (UTS). Which doesn't give me confidence in finding a job, esp as a fresh graduate. However, there are many more options for optometrists as they can work in many more settings, but yes the pay level does vary.

For occupational therapy, I don't know too much about it but it just seems like something that aligns with my interests to work in allied health, I don't know know how passionate I am (for low pay๐Ÿ˜ญ). Would you be able to tell me about what it's like learning OT, and what you plan on doing in the future like after you finish this degree, are you continuing your education or what specific major of OT are you gonna work in? Moreover, how is the workload/peers at western uni? I know USYD has an occupational therapy course too, is there any difference in terms of these two Unis for this course??
Thanks for the reply- regarding the pay differences between orthoptists and optometrists, I am not too sure. I've looked on labourmarketinsights.com.au yet I can't find any data. However, your comment about orthoptics being a niche profession is right, as it seems there are 10 times as my optometrists as orthoptists (830 compared to 9,400). Regarding OT, I haven't started my degree yet, so I don't know much about OT other than the research that I've done (Sorry, I can keep you updated when I start though). One of the amazing things about OT is that you are not limited to a specific scope of practice. You are able to work in almost any setting, however the main role of OT's is to help individuals overcome barriers to disability so they are able to participate in occupations that are meaningful to them. However, I myself am wanting to work with people with developmental disabilities, mental health services and the physical aspects of neurorehabilitation also seem very interesting. Regarding the nature of an occupational therapy degree between the two unis, there are some useful articles on Art of Smart, about OT degrees at WSU and USYD. For some weird reason, it won't let me link the articles, but a quick google search should help.


Hope this helps!
 

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