How Much Do Optometrists Make? With Average Salary by State

Updated June 30, 2023

Optometrists are health care professionals who treat and manage visual problems. Because of their specialized training and skills, this career can provide you with a lucrative salary. Learning about this role, including how much you can make, may help you decide whether it's the right career for you. 

In this article, we discuss how much optometrists make, list the average salaries by state and answer common FAQs about this profession.

How much do optometrists make?

The average salary for an optometrist is $140,324 per year. This figure may vary based on employer, expertise, specialties and location. Common benefits include 401(k) matching, professional development assistance and paid time off.

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link(s) provided.

Related: How To Negotiate Salary After a Job Offer (With 13 Tips)

Optometrist salary by state

Here's a list of the average optometrist salary in each state. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit

  • Alabama: $424,555 per year

  • Alaska: $260,970 per year

  • Arizona: $126,589 per year

  • Arkansas: $189,142 per year

  • California: $322,841 per year

  • Colorado: $270,881 per year

  • Connecticut: $130,207 per year

  • Delaware: $612,586 per year

  • Florida: $288,949 per year

  • Georgia: $150,414 per year

  • Hawaii: $113,286 per year

  • Idaho: $142,849 per year

  • Illinois: $128,576 per year

  • Indiana: $191,635 per year

  • Iowa: $144,226 per year

  • Kansas: $370,457 per year

  • Kentucky: $133,800 per year

  • Louisiana: $372,069 per year

  • Maine: $127,587 per year

  • Maryland: $293,618 per year

  • Massachusetts: $421,857 per year

  • Michigan: $597,308 per year

  • Minnesota: $123,742 per year

  • Mississippi: $736,052 per year

  • Missouri: $127,813 per year

  • Montana: $147,329 per year

  • Nebraska: $147,153 per year

  • Nevada: $131,752 per year

  • New Hampshire: $158,782 per year

  • New Jersey: $511,930 per year

  • New Mexico: $465,294 per year

  • New York: $296,704 per year

  • North Carolina: $369,569 per year

  • North Dakota: $156,867 per year

  • Ohio: $379,572 per year

  • Oklahoma: $388,674 per year

  • Oregon: $127,551 per year

  • Pennsylvania: $159,611 per year

  • Rhode Island: $417,070 per year

  • South Carolina: $136,599 per year

  • South Dakota: $133,519 per year

  • Tennessee: $126,508 per year

  • Texas: $128,909 per year

  • Utah: $429,686 per year

  • Vermont: $119,925 per year

  • Virginia: $375,034 per year

  • Washington: $128,073 per year

  • West Virginia: $803,162 per year

  • Wisconsin: $149,839 per year

  • Wyoming: $97,653 per year

Requirements to become optometrist

Here are some key professional requirements for becoming an optometrist:

1. Education

The minimum requirement for optometry school is an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Many programs desire candidates who obtain their bachelor's degree in pre-med or another biological science. Standard courses include chemistry, physics, biology, English and mathematics.

The next required educational step is to pass the optometry admission test and complete a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree program. This program includes hands-on clinical experience and core classroom instruction. The courses include instruction in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, visual science and optics.

Related: What Is an Optometrist Degree? (With 10 Steps To Get a Degree)

2. Training

After you receive an OD degree, you may choose to enter a residency program for further specialized training in optometry. You can gain classroom and clinical experience under the supervision of a professional optometrist. Specializations you can complete in residency programs include family practice, pediatric or geriatric optometry, low vision rehabilitation and ocular disease. An internship can also help you obtain the experience and skills necessary for applying to optometrist jobs after you graduate.

Related: How To Become an Optometrist (Plus FAQs)

3. License

Every state requires optometrists to have a license before they can begin practicing. Each state has its requirements, so it's important to check these requirements before you apply for a license. The standard requirements across all states are an OD degree from an accredited school and passing all sections of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam. Some states may require you to take a clinical exam or an exam on optometry laws.

Related: 13 Pros and Cons of Being an Optometrist (Plus Job Duties)

Frequently asked questions

What is an optometrist?

An optometrist is a health care professional who examines, diagnoses, treats and manages diseases relating to the eyes. They work with other disorders of the visual system relating to the eye, such as the structures surrounding the eyes and chronic illnesses that affect sight or vision. Some of their key responsibilities include:

  • Diagnosing issues with eyesight

  • Prescribing contact lenses, glasses and other medications

  • Conducting vision tests and analyzing results

  • Referring patients to other physicians or surgeons, as needed

  • Providing vision therapy

Related: Learn About Being an Optometrist

What's the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are different because optometrists aren't medical doctors. Optometrists have limitations on what they can diagnose and treat. Ophthalmologists attend additional years of medical school and are health care physicians who specialize in optical care and optical surgery.

Related: O.D. vs. M.D.: How Optometrists and Ophthalmologists Differ

What skills help optometrists succeed?

Optometrists often have skills like:

  • Attention to detail: Optometrists pay attention to and record patient symptoms quickly and accurately, and they manage paperwork and information regarding patient care. When they pay attention to detail, it can result in proper treatment and accurate medications and prescriptions.

  • Decision-making: Optometrists analyze patient results and create customized treatment plans.

  • Interpersonal: An optometrist's schedule largely comprises of them examining and interacting with patients. They often are at ease when interacting with patients and make them feel comfortable during the examination or treatment.

  • Communication: Optometrists communicate clearly and openly with their patients and other staff members. These professionals often explain treatment and at-home care to patients.

Related: 14 Careers in Optometry (Plus Salaries, Duties and FAQ)

Related Articles

What Is an Optometrist Degree? (With 10 Steps To Get a Degree)

Explore more articles

  • 21 Jobs You Can Pursue With a Cognitive Science Degree
  • What Is a Nurse Extern and What Do They Do? (With Salary)
  • 14 Types of Engineering Careers To Explore (With Salaries)
  • 19 Jobs That Pay $1,000 per Day
  • 26 Types of Jobs You Can Get With a Degree in GIS
  • Roles That Involve Working in a School Office (With Skills)
  • Do Board Members Get Paid? (Plus How Much They Make)
  • Why Become a Civil Engineer? 10 Reasons To Pursue This Role
  • 15 Professional Nursing Organizations (With Certifications)
  • 30 Jobs That Pay $20 or More per Hour Without a Degree
  • 11 Jobs That May Be Automated in the Future Through AI
  • Taking a Job You Don't Want: When to Do so and When Not To