An optometrist assistant works with a licensed optometrist to provide care and treatment of the eyes and vision system. Average annual pay in the US for optometrist assistants is just under $41,000 compared to AU$61,000 ($46,875 USD) in Australia. Annual earnings in US dollar currency are similar in New Zealand and Canada at NZ$51,000 ($35,290 USD) and C$43,000 ($33,524 USD), respectively, followed by £25,000 ($29,275 USD) in the UK. On the lower end of the pay scale are South Africa at R128,000 ($9,054 USD) per year and India, where an optometrist assistant salary is around Rs232,000 ($3,568 USD) per year. Earning potential varies by geographic region, work experience, and work setting, as further explained in this guide.
How Much Does an Optometrist Assistant Make per Year?
The chart below provides income information for optometrist assistants in select countries.
|Optometrist Assistant Salary||US||Canada||UK||Australia||New Zealand||India||South Africa|
Factors that Influence the Optometrist Assistant Salary
Earning potential for optometrist assistants varies based on geographic region, work experience, and work setting. The impact of these factors on earning potential is further explained in this guide as well as information on career insight.
1. Geographic Area
Optometrist Assistant Salary in US
In the US, optometrist assistants make about $41,000 per year, plus $600 in additional bonus income. Those paid an hourly wage receive $20 per hour. The average starting salary for entry level employees is more than $32,000 per year compared to more than $50,000 for those with the most experience at the senior level.
Optometrist Assistant Salary in Canada
In Canada, optometrist assistants earn about C$43,000 per year, or C$21 per hour. Bonus income can add about C$700 to overall earnings. Newly trained optometrist assistants see an average starting salary of about C$34,000 per year, increasing to nearly C$53,000 per year for senior level positions.
Optometrist Assistant Salary in UK
As an optometrist assistant in the UK, annual earnings range from £20,000 at the entry level to about £31,000 per year at the senior level. Among all experience levels, the average annual salary is £25,217, or £12 per hour, while bonus income potential can add another £400 to overall income.
Optometrist Assistant Salary in Australia
In Australia, optometrist assistants receive an average annual salary of about AU$61,000 plus bonus pay that can reach AU$1,000 in additional pay. Those paid an hourly rate earn an average of AU$29 per hour. Newly trained optometrist assistants receive well over AU$48,000 annually compared to senior level positions that offer pay at about AU$75,000 per year.
Optometrist Assistant Salary in New Zealand
Optometrist assistants in New Zealand earn, on average, more than NZ$51,000 per year, equivalent to NZ$25 per hour. Bonus earning potential can add nearly NZ$1,000 to total earnings. The average starting salary for entry level employees is just under NZ$41,000 per year, while senior level pay can reach NZ$63,000 per year.
Optometrist Assistant Salary in India
As an optometrist assistant in India, average earning potential ranges from Rs186,000 at the entry level to Rs288,000 upon reaching the senior level. Among all experience levels, annual pay averages Rs232,000 per year, or Rs111 per hour, and bonus opportunities can add another Rs3,600 or more to overall earnings.
Optometrist Assistant Salary in South Africa
In South Africa, optometrist assistants receive an average annual salary of R128,000, plus R2,000 in additional bonus pay. Those paid by the hour receive R62 per hour, on average. Entry level pay averages R102,000 per year, while senior level positions garner an average annual salary of more than R158,000.
Earning potential increases with additional experience by a rate of about 55% to 56%. In the US and Australia, where annual earnings among the highest worldwide, the gap between entry level and senior level pay is about 56%, or $18,000 and AU$27,000 more per year, respectively. Earnings are much lower in South Africa, but the same percentage of growth is seen with those at the senior level earning about R56,000, or 55%, more per year over their entry level counterparts.
Optometrist assistants typically work in private practice offices. With little variance in the work setting for this career, this is not a strong factor in determining earning potential. Employment in large offices with multiple providers may garner higher income and have more potential for bonus income compared to smaller office settings.
Optometrist assistants typically work full-time, although there are opportunities for part-time employment. Normal work hours are Monday through Friday during business hours as these are the times patient appointments are most often scheduled; however, some offices offer extended hours and weekend times to accommodate patient availability.
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
While some employers offer bonus income, this pay does not add significantly to overall income. Benefits packages often include healthcare coverage and paid time off for vacations and holidays. Those employed part-time may be ineligible for these benefits or may receive a smaller package compared to their full-time working colleagues.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 12% growth rate among optometrist assistants between 2016 and 2026 as a result of an aging global population and greater access to healthcare. A career as an optometrist assistant requires a post-secondary education equivalent to an associate’s degree and certification may increase employment opportunities.
Optometrist assistants earn solid incomes that are lower than many healthcare professionals, but are reflective of the educational requirements and training necessary for this career. Benefits and bonus are offered, but bonus pay does greatly affect earning potential. A faster than average growth rate among this career field is estimated, which should support earnings and employment opportunities in the coming years.