Best in Class 2013

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The future of this decade’s degree-seeking students remains foggy for some, but for the optometry and opticianry graduates who were selected by their schools for this year’s Best in Class special section, a distinctive quality is evident throughout: optimism.

The excitement among this year’s graduating ODs is not surprising, considering the high satisfaction rate of the profession. As stated in CNNMoney’s “100 Best Jobs in America” list last year, “optometrist” was rated No. 12 for its “big growth rate and great pay,” and 33.1 percent job growth is predicted between 2010 and 2020, according to the CNN survey.

A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, however, found that employers do not plan to hire as many members of the class of 2013 as initially expected. With competition, overqualification and a collective sense of entitlement holding back Gen Y from the job market, prospects for many of this year’s graduates are unclear and unguaranteed.

However, these findings seem to have had little effect on the 17 star graduates VM interviewed from optometry schools across the nation. Many are already employed, and those who are not have clear cut goals and are eager to embark on the paths to success.

This special section, underwritten by an unrestricted grant from Essilor USA, brings you the next generation of ODs and forthcoming leaders of the optometric profession. The sincerity and determination evident throughout leave no question as to why they were nominated for 2013’s Best in Class. ■


– Catherine Wolinski, Assistant Editor