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I'm doing a gap year right now and I'm stuck deciding which profession to pursue. Although I know I'll make more being a dentist I feel like it requires more labour and takes a toll on your body. I know this because some of the dentists I shadowed, each pull in 300k-500k+ annually but had some sort of back issue. On the other hand, the optometrists I shadowed didn't have to worry about this and seamed very happy even though they made less money.

Has anyone been in this position? What helped you decide what to pursue?

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I'm in the same position right now too! I just finished my second year and am having trouble deciding as well. I like the idea of having my own practice and setting my own hours to accommodate my lifestyle because I'm more of a family-oriented person (which is what draws me to both dentistry and optometry). I hope other people who were in a similar situation reply so we can gain more insight into how they decided one profession over the other :) 

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On 5/5/2021 at 1:00 AM, HurricaneX said:

I'm doing a gap year right now and I'm stuck deciding which profession to pursue. Although I know I'll make more being a dentist I feel like it requires more labour and takes a toll on your body. I know this because some of the dentists I shadowed, each pull in 300k-500k+ annually but had some sort of back issue. On the other hand, the optometrists I shadowed didn't have to worry about this and seamed very happy even though they made less money.

Has anyone been in this position? What helped you decide what to pursue?

Unless you are an owner, optometrists generally wont make much more than 100k.  The side deals of % on sales of lenses declines further and further with wholesale distributers like Clearly et al continue to provide alternative routes.

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Prior to dental school I worked for an optometrist. I scribed for him, so it was basically like full time shadowing. I gained a great insight into the field. Both professions are extremely rewarding and I believe you’ll live comfortably either way. Money shouldn’t guide your decision as your happiness is ultimately dictated by your daily tasks in your respective career. What I liked about optometry is that it’s more related to whole body health (dentistry is too, but the findings in optometry are quite profound), it is very scientific (big need for learning about the human body), and “fashion” is incorporated into the field. I ultimately chose dentistry because I love working with my hands and have a passion for the artistic side of it. There are days where I miss the mystery of diagnosing ocular disorders, but dentistry still provides a good dose of “medical mysteries” as well. I should also add that the postural effects dentists suffer will be a thing of the past. From the first course we are taught how to properly position our bodies to not place strain. Dental loupes significantly aid in proper ergonomics and have evolved immensely in the past decade or so.

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