Updated on  February 20, 2024
3 min read

Eye Doctor Salary (Average by State in 2024)

4 sources cited
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What is the Average Optometrist Salary in the U.S.?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median eye doctor salary was $124,300 per year as of May 2021. That’s an average of $59.76 per hour.1

10 Best Paying States for Optometrists

The U.S. BLS lists these states as the top 10 territories with the highest wages (Average Income) for optometrists, in USD.2

10 best paying states for optometrists

10 Best Paying Cities for Optometrists

On the other hand, the following metropolises offered the top eye doctor salaries (Average Income) in the United States, in USD.2

10 best paying citiesfor optometrists

Average Optometrist Salary by State

The compensation depends on where optometrists practice. Here’s a look at the average eye doctor salaries in every state:2,3

StateEmployment per thousand jobsAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Alabama0.24$57.87$120,380
Alaska0.23$68.88$143,260
Arizona0.35$57.62$119,860
Arkansas0.23$54.84$114,070
California0.41$61.80$128,540
Colorado0.30$60.12$125,040
Connecticut0.28$74.55$155,070
Delaware0.26$51.00$106,090
District of Columbia0.13Estimates not releasedEstimates not released
Florida0.35$47.55$98,900
Georgia0.62$58.40$121,470
GuamEstimates not releasedEstimates not releasedEstimates not released
Hawaii0.39$66.58$138,480
Idaho0.25$40.96$85,200
Illinois0.36$53.75$111,790
Indiana0.33$53.72$111,740
Iowa0.30$55.61$115,660
Kansas0.31$53.95$112,220
Kentucky0.21$59.93$124,650
Louisiana0.14$66.59$138,520
Maine0.33$65.10$135,410
Maryland0.25$69.51$144,570
Massachusetts0.23$62.79$130,600
Michigan0.26$58.72$122,140
Minnesota0.21$64.60$134,370
Mississippi0.20$64.21$133,570
Missouri0.31$66.24$137,780
Montana0.42$54.47$113,290
Nebraska0.43$61.16$127,210
Nevada0.31$57.30$119,180
New Hampshire0.27$60.05$124,910
New Jersey0.17$63.91$132,930
New Mexico0.22$52.49$109,180
New York0.19$66.28$137,860
North Carolina0.23$67.86$141,140
North Dakota0.35$60.61$126,080
Ohio0.24$56.74$118,020
Oklahoma0.26$55.81$116,090
Oregon0.28$62.53$130,060
Pennsylvania0.37$63.39$131,860
Puerto RicoEstimates not releasedEstimates not releasedEstimates not released
Rhode Island0.46Estimates not releasedEstimates not released
South Carolina0.18$48.58$101,050
South Dakota0.34$54.00$112,330
Tennessee0.14$54.51$113,370
Texas0.24$62.55$130,110
Utah0.22$50.72$105,510
Vermont0.34$54.10$112,530
Virgin IslandsEstimates not releasedEstimates not releasedEstimates not released
Virginia0.31$59.30$123,340
Washington0.23$60.18$125,180
Washington DC0.13Estimates not releasedEstimates not released
West Virginia0.21$50.58$105,210
Wisconsin0.35$59.29$123,320
Wyoming0.29$62.32$129,620

What is the Outlook for Optometrists?

A career as an optometrist will be in high demand over the next decade. In fact, employment is projected to increase by 10% between 2021 and 2031. 

On top of that, approximately 1,700 potential openings are expected each year due largely to retirements and those transitioning into other roles.1

These projections ensure continued opportunity for those interested in joining this dynamic career path.

Education Requirements for Optometrists

Unlocking the door to optometry starts with securing a Bachelor’s Degree. Students are encouraged to pursue majors in biology, physiology, or similar subjects to help build a strong foundation for their future careers as primary eye care doctors.4

Once they complete this four-year journey, aspiring optometrists can then apply for admittance into an accredited program.

Excellence in undergraduate studies is highly favored in this field. It’s the only way to meet top optometry schools’ standards; anything less than top-tier grades can prevent candidates from entering their preferred school and program.

Other Similar Jobs 

Careers in eye care can take several paths beyond optometry. Depending on the person’s interests and skills, eye doctors can use their knowledge to pursue other eye-related professions.

other similar jobs optometrists

Ophthalmologist

Ophthalmologists are experts in eye health. They have a medical degree and advanced training to treat various eye conditions, from diagnosis to surgery if necessary. 

Ophthalmologists also:

  • Prescribe eye medications
  • Provide eye health evaluations
  • Perform eye surgery
  • Diagnose and treat eye diseases
  • Recommend prescriptions for eyewear

Optician

Opticians are eye care providers who specialize in filling prescriptions for glasses and optic health products. They measure eye dimensions and fit lenses, frames, and contact lenses to a patient’s specifications. 

Opticians typically:

  • Advise patients on eye care products
  • Ensure eyewear meets safety standards
  • Instruct patients on eyewear use and maintenance

Optometrist

Optometrists—much like ophthalmologists—are eye care professionals trained in eye health and vision correction. They are the first eye care professionals that patients visit. 

Moreover, optometrists:

  • Perform eye exams and eye screenings
  • Prescribe eye care therapies and medications
  • Write eyewear prescriptions for glasses or contacts
  • Educate patients on eye health
  • Provide therapy for eye-related functional disorders

Orthoptist

Orthoptists’ expertise lies in diagnosing and managing a range of vision disorders. Often focusing on eye movement disorders, they partner closely with ophthalmologists to provide quality care. 

Orthoptists do:

  • Pre-test patients for ophthalmologists
  • Conduct eye imaging activities
  • Analyze eye movements
  • Diagnose eye problems
  • Manage eye conditions
  • Provide non-surgical therapy programs

Ophthalmic Nurse

Ophthalmic nurses are eye care experts who provide direct eye care services to patients. Generally found in eye clinics, hospitals, and doctor’s offices, these eye specialists help diagnose, treat, and manage eye-related health problems.

Updated on  February 20, 2024
4 sources cited
Updated on  February 20, 2024
  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Optometrists: Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022.
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics – 29-1041 Optometrists.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022.
  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “May 2021 State Occupational Employment and wage estimates.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022.
  4. Optician EDU. “Optometrist Career.” Optician Edu, 2022.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.