Career Advice > Physician

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.