Optometrist earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Optometrist salary by state

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

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 about the same as related careers in the United States. On average, they make less than nurse anesthetists but more than nurse practitioners.

Career Median Salary
Nurse anesthetist salary $175K
Pharmacist salary $128K
Optometrist salary $115K
Physician assistant salary $112K
Anesthesiologist assistant salary $112K
Health services manager salary $100K
Nurse practitioner salary $105K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)