Optometrist earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Optometrist salary by state

State Name Average Salary
Florida $99,510
Utah $99,510
West Virginia $97,480
Rhode Island $96,790
South Carolina $95,540
Idaho $78,280
Puerto Rico $42,760
District of Columbia $157,320
Maryland $134,900
New Jersey $130,840
North Carolina $130,070
Alaska $129,650
New York $129,520
Arizona $128,690
Connecticut $128,320
California $128,190
Massachusetts $128,020
Nevada $127,640
North Dakota $127,610
Colorado $127,520
Minnesota $127,340
Hawaii $127,270
Oregon $127,240
Wyoming $127,240
Maine $126,520
Missouri $126,000
Wisconsin $125,580
Michigan $124,300
Georgia $124,090
Nebraska $123,360
Pennsylvania $121,580
Washington $121,570
New Hampshire $121,530
Vermont $121,070
Mississippi $120,910
Virginia $120,740
Indiana $120,400
Texas $118,800
Illinois $116,260
Louisiana $106,010
Delaware $105,060
Iowa $102,790
New Mexico $102,650
South Dakota $102,510
Kentucky $102,280
Alabama $102,190
Ohio $102,000
Kansas $101,680
Oklahoma $101,370
Arkansas $101,340
Tennessee $100,730
Montana $100,230

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 13% more than similar careers in Alaska. On average, they make less than physician assistants but more than MRI technologists.

Career Median Salary
Physician assistant salary $129K
Anesthesiologist assistant salary $129K
Optometrist salary $130K
Health services manager salary $103K
Nurse practitioner salary $123K
Neuropsychologist salary $113K
MRI technologist salary $99K

Source: CareerExplorer (Aggregated)