How To Maximize Your Income Potential as an Optometrist
Updated: Sep 11
Curious how much optometrists make in the United States?
In this video, I share with you what you need to know about the income potential of an optometrist, including strategies the highest earners all use.
How much do optometrists make in the United States?
Here is how much optometrists make based on the average and median salary from some of the most reputable sources.
Bureau of labor statistics - $124,300 per year (average)
Indeed - $147,511 per year (average)
ZipRecruiter - $125,859 per year (average)
Glassdoor - $147,874 per year (average)
EyesOnEyeCare - $132,524 per year (median)
Salary.com - $133,877 per year (median)
While these numbers are insightful, I know optometrists that make a lot more and a lot less than 125K - 150K.
Optometrists have a range of income potential and it really depends on a number of factors.
Here are 5 factors to consider if you want to be amongst the highest earning optometrists.
1) Determine where you want to live and practice optometry
This decision is easier said than done.
Most major metropolitan areas and cities with optometry schools have their fair share of ODs.
When the supply of optometrists is up, the income potential for ODs is often lower. On the flip side, if you move to an area that has fewer optometrists, the income potential for ODs is often higher.
Take the time to do your research and identify areas of the country that have a need for optometrists. Doing so will pay off in the long run.
Of course, you also have to want to live there. That’s often the challenge.
2) Look into high-income potential optometry practice modalities
The highest-earning optometrists own their practice. Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more challenging to open cold or buy into an optometry practice.
With this in mind, employed optometrists can do very well, depending on where they practice and how their contract is set up.
In general, sublease and corporate practices tend to compensate more than private and ophthalmology practices.
Of course, not all practices are created equal in how and when you practice so take that into consideration as well.
3) Master time management
Optometrists that work part-time are going to make less than optometrists that work full-time unless they own the practice or work less desirable hours (evenings or weekends) at a higher pay rate.
Working full-time plus occasionally fill in work is the best way to maximize your income potential as an employed OD and pay down any debt you have.
4) Diversify your sources of income
Providing patient care is just one way to generate income as an optometrist.
In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for optometrists to make money. Speaking, consulting, creating content, and performing research are just a few ways I've made money outside of direct patient care.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of optometrists have side hustles outside of optometry. Explore your passions, assess your skills, and pick a side hustle that’s right for you!
5) Leverage your optometric experience
As you become more experienced as an optometrist, you’ll find you're able to see more patients and manage more conditions than you did as a new graduate.
Doing so keeps patients in your practice, increasing your income potential.
Not to mention, the longer you practice, the more likely you are to specialize in a specific area of optometry that you can leverage to generate more income.
Are optometrists rich?
If you become an optometrist simply to become rich, you’ll likely be disappointed.
There are a lot of ways to make money in this world. For example, the sky is the limit in the fields of business, technology, and entrepreneurship.
While the income potential of an optometrist is strong, I wouldn’t classify the vast majority of us as rich.
Optometry is a wonderful procession that can provide you with a great lifestyle.
Practice owners typically make more money than employees, however, owning a practice comes with more headaches than being employed.
Regardless, serving the eye health and vision care needs of others is very rewarding and invaluable to the communities you serve.
What are your thoughts on the income potential of an optometrist? Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for my next video where we can reflect and grow stronger together.
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