The optometrist salary varies in terms of location, their level of experience in the field, and the industry they are working in. With $103,900 per year, the optometrist salary is the highest in the US of all English-speaking countries. The US is followed at a distance by New Zealand with NZ$93,665 (US$64,988), Australia with AU$83,224 (US$62,892), and Canada C$82,473 (US$61,318) with per year. More info on how and why the salary of an optometrist varies are outlined in this guide.
How Much Does an Optometrist Make per Year?
Here is a table containing the average yearly and hourly incomes of optometrists in English-speaking countries:
|Optometrist Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
|Hourly Wage||$49.95||C$39.65 (US$29.50)||£17.12 (US$21)||AU$40.01 (US$30.24)||NZ$45.03 (US$31.24)||Rs125.85 (US$1.89)||R115.61 (US$8.86)|
|Annual Wage||$103,900||C$82,473 (US$ 61,318)||£35,610 (US$ 43,316)||AU$83,224 (US$ 62,892)||NZ$93,665 (US$ 64,988)||Rs261,777 (US$ 3,923)||R240,469 (US$ 18,460)|
Factors that Influence the Optometrist Salary
A wide variety of factors can influence the mean optometrist salary, including occupational rate, local policies, experience in the field, and geographic area. Local and in-company policies can also influence the wage of an optometrist as further outlined in this guide.
1. Geographic Area
As mentioned above, the geographic area represents a crucial factor that determines the salary of an optometrist. Other varying parameters also influence the demographical factor such s the degree of occupation, job outlook, and the actual number of jobs a city or state offers.
Optometrist Salary in the US
A beginner optometrist in the US will earn about $74,333 per year. Only after more than 5 years can the young professional reach the national average of $103,000; the maximum salary for this profession in the US is about $134,571. Bonuses can account for another $1,013 – $20,043, and commission for $1,535 – $19,627.
Below, you will find a table which contains the highest level of employment in the United States for this occupation:
|State||Employment||Employment per thousand jobs||Location quotient||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
Based on the geographical area, the mean income also varies according to the territorial delimitations between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, which can also affect the level of employment.
Metropolitan Areas with the Highest Employment Level
|Metropolitan area||Employment||Employment per thousand jobs||Location quotient||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division||440||0.29||1.11||$50.16||$104,330|
|Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division||500||0.39||1.52||$62.36||$129,700|
|Houston-The Woodlands- Sugar Land, TX||690||0.24||0.93||$47.15||$98,070|
|Washington-Arlington-Alexandria- DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division||830||0.34||1.34||$60.77||$126,410|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division||1,210||0.23||1.5||$53.32||$110,900|
|Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division||1,670||0.47||1.82||$44.48||$92,510|
|New York- Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division||1,750||0.27||1.06||$60.66||$126,170|
Nonmetropolitan Areas with the Lowest Levels of Employment
|Nonmetropolitan area||Employment||Employment per thousand jobs||Location Quotient||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area||110||0.41||1.61||$57.22||$119,010|
|East Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area||50||0.42||1.64||$47.79||$99,400|
|Northwest Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area||70||0.56||2.18||$42.94||$89,320|
|Eastern Utah nonmetropolitan area||30||0.66||2.59||$24.98||$51,960|
|East Arkansas nonmetropolitan area||50||0.66||2.57||$62.62||$130,240|
But a high occupational rate does not necessarily equal a bigger pay. The following table containing the highest paying states in the country will prove that places with high occupational rates don’t have the highest salaries.
|State||Employment||Employment per thousand jobs||Local quotient||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
Of course, there are a couple of states which are missing from the list mentioned above. This means that there are little job opportunities there.
Compared to other countries, the United States offers the highest mean wage for this occupation. Local and corporate policies are also factors that determine the average optometrist salary. For example, it is only natural that a self-employed optometrist should earn more than a Walmart optometrist or one employed by a hospital.
Optometrist Salary in Canada
Optometrists working in Canada earn about C$82,473, or US$61,318 per year. The starting salary for this profession is about C$47,647 (or US$35,439). With experience and bonuses which can add another C$6,000 (US$4,467), a professional working in this field in Canada can expect a yearly income of C$114,692, or US$85,358.
Although entry-level employees are paid less than the national average, experienced, mid-career, and late-career optometrists have above-average salaries. More than half of the professionals in this field have less than 5 years of experience and over 40% have no health benefits with their job.
Optometrist Salary in the UK
A beginner optometrist in the UK will start off with about £24,509, or US$29,805 per year. After about 5 years, a professional will reach the national average salary for optometrists in the UK, £35,610 or US$43,311. Mid-career, experienced, and late-career professionals have salaries way above the national average and can earn up to £49,936 (US$60,712) with commission, profit sharing, and bonuses.
According to prospects.ac.uk, band 8c/8d specialists in this medical field can earn up to £82,434, or US$100,198.
Optometrist Salary in Australia
Optometrists in Australia earn AU$83,224 or US$62,892 on average. The starting salary for this profession is set at AU$67,319 or US$50,890. After about 5 years, an optometrist working in Australia usually reaches the national average, while mid-career and experienced professionals earn 15% to 25% more.
Late-career professionals can expect salaries of up to AU$126,234 or US$95,407 including commission which can surpass AU$2,000 (US$1,511) and bonuses which usually account for an extra income between AU$1,000 and AU$22,000 (US$755 – US$16,626).
Optometrist Salary in New Zealand
The national average salary for optometrists in New Zealand is set at NZ$93,665 or US$64,988 per year. The starting optometrist salary for this country is NZ$72,719, or US$50,519. Both entry-level and mid-career professionals earn less than the national average, even with more than 10 years of experience in this field.
An experienced professional working in this field in New Zealand will earn about NZ$113,346 (US$7,870), or just 6% more than the national average. In addition, 67% of the optometrists in New Zealand have no health benefits with their job.
Optometrist Salary in India
A graduate working as an optometrist in India will earn about Rs169,127 or US$2,535 for the first 5 years on the job. After a few years, however, they will surpass the national average threshold of Rs261,777 (US$3,923). Mid-career optometrists in India earn about 12% more than the national average, while experienced professionals earn 55-60% more and reach salaries of Rs506,467 (US$7,591).
Bonuses can account for up to Rs28,337 (US$424), commission for about Rs10,174 (US$153), and profit sharing for another Rs15,000 (US$225).
Optometrist Salary in South Africa
The starting optometrist salary in South Africa is set at R175,020 (US$13,433), almost 10% less than the national average. After less than 5 years they will reach the national average for this profession, R240,469 or US$18,460, which means mid-career professionals earn a bit more (up to 5% more, in fact).
Late-career and experienced professionals will bring home 48-65% more than the national average for optometrists in South Africa, or up to R493,323 (US$37,907) per year. Bonuses can account for up to R24,240 (US$1,860) and commission – for another Rs24,000 (US$1,842).
To become an optometrist, you must first complete an undergraduate in anatomy, biology, biochemistry, or optics and to pass out the courses of an Optometry School. There is a difference between optometrists working in hospitals and those starting a private practice regarding flexibility and yearly earnings.
Apart from geographic location and local policies, industry is widely considered a crucial factor that determines the average optometrist salary. Naturally, there is a major significance between an optometrist working in a private practice and one who occupies a position in the Offices of Physicians.
Below, you will find a table which contains the industries with the highest level of employment for this occupation:
|Industry||Employment||Percent of Industry Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
|Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)||450||0.02||$30.90||$64,280|
|Outpatient Care Centers||850||0.11||$62.13||$129,240|
|Health and Personal Care Stores||5,490||0.53||$50.70||$105,460|
|Offices of Physicians||6,340||0.25||$68.31||$142,070|
|Offices of Other Health Practitioners||20,430||2.54||$54.10||$112,530|
More than often, the industries with the highest rate of employment are not necessarily the top paying industries for an occupation. Below, you will find a table containing the top paying industries for optometrists:
|Industry||Employment||Percent of Industry Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
|Offices of Other Health Practitioners||20,460||2.54||$54.10||$112,530|
|Employment Services||100||Less than 0.005||$54.43||$113,20|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||280||0.01||$55.64||$115,720|
|Outpatient Care Center||850||0.11||$62.13||$129,240|
|Offices of Physicians||6,340||0.21||$68.31||$142,070|
According to a report published on collegegrad.com, approximately 49 percent of all optometrists work in optometry offices and only one in six optometrist work in private practice. Moreover, some of them can work in hospitals and daycare centers.
As an optometrist, you will be required to work 40 hours per week. However, this schedule may vary according to the number of patients you’ll have to accommodate. Some optometrists will work over the weekend or during off-hours to accommodate the needs of their patients. Optometrists can also work in optical goods stores.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
On average, an optometrist can earn in bonuses up to $20,274, apart from his regular salary, depending on location, experience, and other achievements. Other benefits might include a full medical insurance policy. The medical policy includes dental insurance, malpractice insurance, and vision insurance. Nevertheless, others might only enjoy one (or none) of these benefits depending on their location, the industry they work in, and their employer.
If you’re currently looking to seek employment as an optometrist, then you should know that the job market for this occupation will increase by the 14.1 percent in the 2012-2022 timeframe. Furthermore, there are currently 33,340 working in the United States, most of them being concentrated in the states of Hawaii, Illinois, New York, and California.
Based on the job outlook projection, we can clearly state the job market will increase over the following decade, so securing a job as an optometrist should not be a problem.
Many outside factors can influence the average optometrist salary including the degree of occupation, experience, and local policies. Becoming an optometrist is no easy job, but based on the current job market projection, the results are worth the effort. As a future optometrist, you’ll come to realize that the patients’ needs come first and that you will be required to work some extra time to accommodate all of them.