Optometrist earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Optometrist salary by state

State Name Average Salary
North Dakota $155,030
Vermont $141,880
Alaska $134,040
South Carolina $117,050
Massachusetts $124,890
Connecticut $129,540
Maine $117,190
North Carolina $116,520
Wyoming $101,100
Minnesota $117,380
Mississippi $109,810
Ohio $112,380
Colorado $131,190
New Hampshire $122,720
Iowa $106,230
Virginia $120,940
Maryland $130,600
Nevada $120,040
Arizona $123,700
New York $122,230
Texas $111,720
Wisconsin $115,760
Illinois $113,770
Washington $113,220
Pennsylvania $110,930
West Virginia $96,190
Kansas $106,790
Hawaii $119,030
California $111,790
Delaware $100,670
Tennessee $105,590
New Jersey $116,340
Kentucky $97,540
Missouri $101,710
Alabama $108,700
Indiana $92,480
Michigan $112,120
Montana $91,840
Oklahoma $87,780
Georgia $91,900
Louisiana $86,320
Rhode Island $96,790
Nebraska $101,870
Florida $104,280
Oregon $98,920
South Dakota $90,420
Idaho $105,990
Arkansas $86,240
District of Columbia $78,630
New Mexico $66,520
Utah $71,140
Puerto Rico $42,760

How much does an Optometrist earn?

There are different factors which come into play when it comes to determining how much an optometrist can earn, such as the type of practice an optometrist decides to work at. If an optometrist decides to go for private practice, it requires setting up a clinic and handling business matters while juggling the needs of the patients. According to the American Optometric Association, optometrists who have established their private practice earn more than those who are employed in hospitals, clinics and other institutions. This is because their earnings are boosted by the additional services that they provide plus the revenue from the eye care products they sell to their patients. Their revenue is not fixed to just the monthly salary - when the number of patients goes up, their profits increase as well.

Another option is to be employed under a more prominent hospital or clinic. An in-house optometrist will technically be employed by the institution and income will depend on the rate per consult fees or monthly salary. Other optometrists work in partnership with major manufacturers, and handle the medical side of the business while doing retailing for a company which manufactures eye glasses, contact lenses and other products.

For new optometrists just getting into actual practice, the wage starts out low, especially if the experience is less than a year (the starting wage can be from $70,000 to $90,000). The determinant for start-up pay is based on educational background, internship performance or recommendations. The $90,000 initial salary for optometrists in the United States can go up after a year or two. This occurs once the individual has gained proper experience in the field. Optometrists with five years of experience or more get better offers and higher incomes from institutions and are highly sought after by major eye care companies and premiere hospitals.

How do optometrist salaries compare to similar careers?

Optometrists earn 8% less than similar careers in the United States. On average, they make less than prosthodontists but more than anesthesiologist assistants.

Career Median Salary
Prosthodontist salary $177K
Nurse anesthetist salary $168K
Pharmacist salary $126K
Optometrist salary $112K
Nurse practitioner salary $107K
Health services manager salary $100K
Physician assistant salary $109K
Anesthesiologist assistant salary $109K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)