How Much Do Optometrists Make?

In Physician, Salary
June 6, 2017

How Much Do Optometrists Make?

If you’ve found yourself on a page about how much optometrists make, you may be entertaining the thought of becoming one in the future. This article takes an in-depth look at what job growth and salaries of optometrists will look like for the coming years.

Optometrists play a key role in the healthcare industry and focus entirely on the health of the eye and vision impairment. They provide primary eye care, prescribe medications, surgery, low-vision rehabilitation, and prescriptions for glasses and contacts.

If you’re considering a career in healthcare, now is great time to jump into optometry. The current projected growth rate between now and 2024 is 27%, well above the average for all jobs – 7%.

How Much Do Optometrists Make?

How much a optometrists can make via salary varies depending on the location of the job, experience of the individual, and the current demand for optometrists.

Use the table at the end of this article to find out whether your state, or the state you eventually want to work in, pays its optometrists above or below the national average.

As represented in the graph below, optometrists can expect to earn a median hourly wage of $54.61, or $113,581 per year:

Optometrist Salary

Return on Investment

In order to become an optometrist, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a pre-health program.

Students must go on from there to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) and complete a 4-year optometry program. Upon becoming a Doctor of Optometry, you must then earn the required state license and/or certification.

However, high-level medical programs like optometry are not without risk. Before taking the OAT and continuing on, be sure that this is something that you can commit to long-term. The indebtedness of students graduating from medical programs can exceed $200,000.00!

So, while the earning potential is among the highest in the country, so is the amount you’ll likely owe after graduation. However, the investment is still worth it for those who love the field and maintain their commitment to their work.

Best States for Optometrist Salaries

A major factor in determining what your salary may look like is the location in which you plan to work. However, this principle applies to nearly all occupations largely due to the varying cost-of-living rates across the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects salary and employment data for nearly all positions, nationwide. The following table includes all data compiled from the BLS from each state including total number of jobs and wages as of May 2016.

Search or sort the table to find out what you can expect to make if optometry is in your future:

*Location quotients serve as a statistical representation of the concentration of a resource, like jobs, with a broader base area.

StateEmploymentEmployment per 1,000 jobsLocation quotientHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama5500.291.10$51.20$106,500
Alaska700.220.87$90.29$187,800
Arizona6700.250.98$58.38$121,430
Arkansas3200.271.05$51.35$106,800
California3,7500.230.91$54.81$114,000
Colorado9300.371.44$63.93$132,980
Connecticut2200.130.51$92.73$192,870
DC1000.140.65$40.61$84,460
Delaware1200.261.02$63.77$132,650
Florida1,9400.240.91$53.20$110,650
Georgia9500.220.86$50.90$105,870
Hawaii2000.321.23$53.65$111,590
Idaho2400.361.40$57.04$118,650
Illinois2,4900.421.63$50.21$104,430
Indiana7300.240.94$42.41$88,220
Iowa3600.230.90$56.57$117,670
Kansas5000.361.40$49.43$102,820
Kentucky4900.261.02$47.64$99,100
Louisiana1900.100.37$56.97$118,490
Maine1400.240.93$64.68$134,540
Maryland6000.230.88$68.21$141,870
Massachusetts1,0200.291.13$65.28$135,780
Michigan1,2400.301.14$54.37$113,090
Minnesota7000.250.96$57.76$120,140
Mississippi2000.180.68$63.45$131,980
Missouri8000.291.18$60.96$126,800
Montana1300.281.09$60.83$126,543
Nebraska3500.371.41$51.39$106,880
Nevada2800.220.86$60.98$126,850
New Hampshire1600.250.96$58.33$121,330
New Jersey1,0600.271.03$53.78$111,860
New Mexico1900.220.9200
New York2,6900.301.14$62.98$131,010
North Carolina9300.220.85$64.68$134,540
North Dakota1900.441.71$57.84$120,310
Ohio1,1300.210.81$60.84$126,570
Oklahoma6600.411.59$65.74$136,740
Oregon5700.321.22$48.27$100,410
Pennsylvania1,6100.281.08$55.08$114,570
Rhode Island1800.371.43$44.75$93,080
South Carolina5000.250.98$63.29$131,650
South Dakota1200.281.09$49.46$102,890
Tennessee6400.220.86$56.37$117,250
Texas2,4100.210.79$53.26$110,790
Utah4200.311.19$43.84$91,180
Vermont900.201.190$121,330
Virginia1,2400.331.27$64.89$134,970
Washington6600.220.83$53.03$110,300
West Virginia1500.220.83$43.81$91,120
Wisconsin4500.160.62$55.51$115,450
Wyoming900.311.20$59.19$123,110

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