Optometrist Salary

Optometrists are one of the best paid professions in the United States. The median yearly pay for this occupation in 2012 was $105,000, with the best paid optometrists paid $149,000 annually.

Optometrist salaries depend on a wide range of factors, from work experience and geographical location to industry and employer type. Optometrists working at general hospitals typically earn between $95,461 and $135,000 a year, while those employed at physicians’ offices and private practices report an annual income in the range from $60,402 to $158,927 according to salary data provided by Payscale.

Average salary



The average salary for optometrists working in the United States is $97,820 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Optometrists working at physicians’ offices have a median annual salary of $127,380, those working at outpatient care centers earn $113.470 a year on average, and optometrists working at offices of other health practitioners are paid around $107,860 annually.

Professionals working at health and personal care stores earn $101,560 a year on average, and the median annual wage for those employed by universities, colleges, and professional schools is $79,740.

The states with the highest employment level for this profession are California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida. California based optometrists earn $102,330 a year on average, those employed in New York make about $117,690 a year, and professionals working in Texas are paid around $95,810 annually. Optometrists living in Illinois earn $108,590 a year, and those based in Florida make $128,890 a year on average according to the BLS.

The top paying states for this occupation are Alaska, where optometrists earn $160,080 a year on average, followed by Connecticut ($154,710 a year), North Carolina ($142,800), South Dakota ($138,480), and South Carolina ($129,460).

The median salary for optometrists employed in the United States is $98,806 a year including bonuses according to Payscale. These professionals earn bonuses in the average amount of $1,000 a year. Earnings from profit sharing can also depend on years of professional experience.


optometrist average salary
Image: U.S. Air Force
Optometrists with 1 to 4 years of experience get $3,500 a year on average, those with 5 to 9 years under their belt get $18,125 annually, professionals with 10 to 19 years of experience report average earnings in the amount of $10,000 annually, and optometrists with 20 or more years of experience get $5,000 a year on average.

Starting salary

The starting salary for optometrists with less than a year of experience typically ranges from $57,810 to $102,129 a year according to Payscale. These professionals earn bonuses in the average amount of $500 per year.

The hourly rate for professionals with less than a year of experience is between $39.09 and $54.38.

Salary by state

Optometrist salaries vary from state to state. Professionals working in Texas typically earn a yearly income in the range between $63,305 and $150,754, those based in New York earn between $78,611 and $140,300 a year, and doctors employed in California make between $59,867 and $144,497 a year. Optometrists living in Florida earn between $46,656 and $126,440 a year, those employed in Pennsylvania are paid between $69,043 and $129,041 a year, doctors in Virginia earn between $70,469 and $133,969 a year, and professionals based in Illinois make between $72,885 and $116,968 a year.

Salary by city



Optometry doctors living in different cities have different salaries. For example, optometrists based in Houston typically earn between $65,000 and $159,437 a year, those employed in New York are paid between $49,022 and $146,807 annually, and doctors working in Los Angeles have salaries in the range from $70,000 to $101,497 a year.

Professionals employed in Chicago earn between $71,954 and $145,437 a year, those based in Dallas make between $71,700 and $93,204 annually, and doctors working in Boston report earning salaries in the range from $85,500 to $113,480 a year according to Payscale.

Benefits

Benefits packages can reflect the average salary range for optometrists. Professionals who get 401(k) plans typically have salaries in the range from $74,728 to $139,657 a year, those who get malpractice or liability insurance generally earn between $69,382 and $133,702 annually, and optometrists who get education, training, certification, or tuition reimbursement report an annual income in the range from $66,384 to $137,244. Optometrists who get life or disability insurance earn between $57,192 and $137,982 a year, those who get paid sick leave earn from $73,404 to $137,885 a year, and professionals who get paid holidays and vacations as part of their benefits package are paid between $72,058 and $126,340 a year.

The most popular benefits among optometrists are 401(k) plans, malpractice and liability insurance, paid holidays, and paid sick leave.

Hourly wage

The average hourly wage for optometrists with 1 to 4 years of experience ranges from $34.50 to $55.63. Professionals with 5 to 9 years of experience typically earn between $41.50 and $57.80 per hour, those with 10 to 19 years of experience make between $34.77 and $65.91 per hour, and optometry doctors with 20 or more years of experience report an hourly rate of $37.12 to $77.57 according to Payscale’s salary data.

The median hourly wage for optometrists is $47.03 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Professionals employed at physicians’ offices make $61.24 per hour on average, those working at offices of other health practitioners earn around $51.85 per hour, and optometrists working at outpatient care centers make $54.55 per hour. The mean wage for professionals employed at health and personal care stores is $48.83 per hour, while those working at colleges, universities, and professional schools typically earn around $38.34 per hour.

Salary range

Optometrists employed in the United States typically have salaries in the range from $68,098 to $137,069 a year according to Payscale. Self-employed optometrists generally earn between $75,000 and $168,000 a year.

Professionals working at optometrists’ offices typically make between $61,132 and $128,913 a year, those employed at ophthalmologists’ offices earn between $61,825 and $120,572 a year, and optometrists working at medical offices report salaries in the range from $66,577 to $155,071 a year. Professionals employed at hospitals generally make between $92,496 and $103,447 a year, while those working at eyeglasses stores are paid between $45,913 and $195,743 annually according to Payscale’s salary information. The general salary range for professionals working in the healthcare industry goes from $73,161 to $146,671 a year.

The salary range for optometrists also varies depending on years of experience. Optometrists with 1 to 4 years of experience usually earn between $60,172 and $109,683 a year, those with 5 to 9 years of experience make between $64,656 and $122,566 a year, optometry doctors with 10 to 19 years of experience are generally paid between $66,722 and $135,096 annually, and professionals with 20 or more years of experience report salaries in the range from $72,697 to $163,892 a year according to Payscale’s salary statistics.

Men in this profession generally earn more than women. The reported salary range for male professionals is $70,976 to $153,544 annually, and for women it is $58,644 to $120,134 a year.

Salary by specialty

Optometrist salaries also vary depending on field of specialty. Optometrists specializing in optometry typically earn between $62,733 and $135,326 a year, while those specializing in pediatrics are paid between $49,665 and $100,687 annually. Professionals with the qualification of Certified Doctor (SORSI) have salaries in the range from $67,515 to $146,256 a year according to Payscale.

The most popular areas of specialty among optometrists are optometry, pediatrics, clinical research, and health and wellness.

Other income factors

Optometrists’ annual income can also vary depending on the number of professionals employed by their organization. For instance, optometry doctors working for organizations that employ 1 to 9 professionals typically earn between $61,947 and $121,712 a year, while those working for organizations that employ 10 to 49 professionals report salaries in the range between $63,616 and $183,831 a year according to the salary data provided by Payscale.

Employer type is another significant factor in determining an optometrist’s salary. Optometrists working at hospitals report yearly earnings in the range from $73,137 to $150,038, those employed by private practices typically make between $62,676 and $124,781 a year, and professionals working for companies are paid between $63,251 and $129,296 annually. Optometrists working for the federal government earn between $48,097 and $135,384 a year, those employed by franchises make between $72,500 and $122,084 a year, and professionals working for non-profit organizations are paid between $76,598 and $134,500 a year. Optometrists who work as contractors report an annual income in the range from $48,484 to $103,177, and those who are self-employed typically earn between $52,381 and $157,431 a year according to Payscale.