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AOA provides new optometrists with tools for success

April 27, 2012

The AOA provides a lifetime of professional support for you as a member optometrist, and that support is needed more than ever during the first years in practice. As tough as optometry school may be, you are likely to find the learning curve is never greater than when you attempt to enter practice and begin navigating the daily challenges of practice management and patient care.

In school, you have a support network of faculty, staff, and fellow students. As a new optometrist, your membership in the AOA provides access to a vast network of resources and more than 36,000 optometrists working together to support the profession, each other, and you.

The AOA understands the pace of a typical day seeing patients may leave you with barely the time to breathe, much less time to surf the Web looking for answers to questions not addressed in optometry school. That’s why the AOA gives 24/7 access to the answers and resources you need at www.aoa.org.

Whether you need help developing a successful business plan, learning what you should know before signing an employment agreement, or referencing the guidelines for specific patient care, the AOA can assist. Listed here are some valuable resources and education the AOA offers to help prepare for a lifetime of success.

Career services

  • Optometry’s Career Center® (OCC)

Free to all members, the OCC is the premier professional development resource for optometry where you’ll find job opportunities, salary negotiating/ information, career coaching services, resume and cover letter services (writing/ critiquing) and more.

Use it to post your credentials, prep for interviews, and access opportunities nationwide – all without paying recruitment fees (www.optometryscareercenter.org).

Join Optometry’s Career Center® at Optometry’s Meeting® for Pathways – Unplugged. This four-hour event offers an “open mic” of opportunities, information, and insights for employers and candidates.

If you have questions about life after optometry school or you’re looking for the perfect career opportunity, don’t miss this career-building event.

Pathways – Unplugged will be presented by Chad Fleming, O.D., and Ryan Parker, O.D., at Optometry’s Meeting®.

Register for course 0205 online at http://www.optometrysmeeting.org. Optometry’s Career Center® is supported by a grant from Marchon® and Optos®.

  • Free Business Cards

Make your presence known. Second-year and fourth-year students receive a free set of 250 personalized AOA member business cards to use for networking and business referrals.

Order at www.aoa.org/cards. The cards are made available through an educational grant from Alcon®.

  • Career Advocate for the New Practitioner

Ease the transition from college to career with the business basics of optometric practice.

This start-to-finish primer explores career options, modality selection, joining, buying or starting a practice, and managing finances. Resources include:

  • Guidelines for choosing the best location to practice
  • Developing a successful business plan
  • Template for a simplified business strategy
  • Step-by-step negotiation strategies

Learn more at www.aoa.org/careeradvocate.

  • Resource Guide for Employed/Affiliated ODs

Culled from the experience of practicing employed/affiliated doctors of optometry, this downloadable guide was written to help you enter the optometric job market or change your mode of practice.

Topics include loans, sharing employees and services, patient records, professional judgment, advertising, and access to the office, in addition to the following:

  • Factors to consider before signing a contract, employment, franchise or lease agreement
  • Negotiating and terminating a lease
  • Understanding the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.

Learn more at www.aoa.org/manualsandguides.

  • AOA Practice Pathways Program at Optometry’s Meeting® Thinking about joining or buying an existing practice? The AOA Practice Pathways program is a two-part series for buyers and sellers that will give you the facts you need to successfully transition a practice.

A doctor who has been there will teach you the process of practice ownership, principles of winning relationships and leadership, the importance of communication, and hands-on tools to retain patients.

The series covers practical knowledge, legal, financial and tax aspects. Part I covers the Principles of Practice Transfer and is presented by Chad Fleming, O.D. Part II covers Preparing for Your Transition with roundtable discussions.

The program will be held at the 2012 Optometry’s Meeting®. View the latest schedule and register for courses 1043 and 1083 online at www.optometrysmeeting.org. The program is supported in part by Wells Fargo Practice Finance.

Access Practice Pathways support information for practice transition at www.aoa.org/practicetransitions.

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