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
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
|State||Employment per thousand jobs||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|District of Columbia||0.13||Estimates not released||Estimates not released|
|Guam||Estimates not released||Estimates not released||Estimates not released|
|Puerto Rico||Estimates not released||Estimates not released||Estimates not released|
|Rhode Island||0.46||Estimates not released||Estimates not released|
|Virgin Islands||Estimates not released||Estimates not released||Estimates not released|
|Washington DC||0.13||Estimates not released||Estimates not released|
10 Best Paying States for Optometrists
The U.S. BLS lists these states as the top 10 territories with the highest wages for optometrists.2
10 Best Paying Cities for Optometrists
On the other hand, the following metropolises offered the top eye doctor salaries in the United States.2
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||$172,190|
|Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI||$169,140|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||$157,230|
|Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX||$154,070|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||$150,890|
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 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.
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.
- Prescribe eye medications
- Provide eye health evaluations
- Perform eye surgery
- Diagnose and treat eye diseases
- Recommend prescriptions for eyewear
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.
- Advise patients on eye care products
- Ensure eyewear meets safety standards
- Instruct patients on eyewear use and maintenance
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.
- 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
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.
- Pre-test patients for ophthalmologists
- Conduct eye imaging activities
- Analyze eye movements
- Diagnose eye problems
- Manage eye conditions
- Provide non-surgical therapy programs
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.
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