Optometrists and pharmacists both study and practice medicine, but the careers are different. Individuals should determine which career is the best option for them before choosing between the two careers. Pharmacists advise patients and health care professionals on prescription drugs; optometrists provide vision care and often prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to patients.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, admission to optometry school is very competitive. Out of every three applicants, only one is accepted into optometry school. Students must take the optometry admission test before being admitted into optometry school.
In 2008, pharmacists held 269,900 jobs, while optometrists only held 34,800 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, optometrists can expect employment to grow by 24 per cent between 2008 and 2018, while employment for pharmacists is expected to grow by 17 per cent.
The average annual salary and wages for a pharmacist is £69,166 as of 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, higher than £62,608, the median annual salary of salaried optometrists.