Optometrist Salary Guide and Career Outlook

An optometry career is vital to well-rounded eye health. The optometrist salary varies based on the country they are practicing in. Unlike other careers, optometry is not a career where global relations are necessary. The salary in the United States is $99,346 while in New Zealand it is NZ$93,664 ($67,456). In South Africa, the salary is $240,469 ($18,004) and United Kingdom optometrists have a salary somewhere in the middle at E35,620 ($37,894).

This optometrist salary guide covers pay bands in different countries, the impact of experience and industry, the work schedule, benefits, and optometrist career outlook. At the conclusion of the article, you should have a better idea of how much do optometrists make and what they do.

How Much Does an Optometrist Make per Year by Country?

Optometrist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $51.00 C$29.00 ($22.17) E22.00 ($23.41) AU$60.00 ($46.05) NZ$45.03* ($32.43) Rs 125.85 * ($1.88) R245.00 ($18.34)
Annual Pay $99,346 C$82,473($63,040) E35,610 ($37,894) AU$83,224 ($63,874) NZ$93,664 ($67,456) Rs 261,777 ($3,916) R240,469 ($18,004)

The optometrist salary could have slightly different medians depending on the site used to pull the information. The ranges included below are from Payscale. In addition, the database IbisWorld was used to explore industry trends for optometrists in the United States.

make an optometrist salary

1. Location

How Much Does an Optometrist Make in the US?

The optometrist salary in the United States is from $71,876 to $133,067. In addition, these professionals see potentially high bonuses of $20,411, profit shares of $89,396, and commission of $19,627. The hourly rate ranges from $40.03 to $66.98 with overtime reaching $102.44. The complete salary is $74,333 to $138,481.

How Much Does an Optometrist Make in Canada?

Hourly, optometrists in Canada earn C$15.03 to C$59.60 with overtime of C$22.50. The salary is C$47,647 to C$109,421. In addition, they register a small bonus of C$6,000. A full salary can range between C$41,861 to C$114,692.

How Much Does an Optometrist Make in the UK?

Optometrists in the United Kingdom see a huge pay range from E5.62 to E39.15 an hour with overtime of E20.00. The annual salary is E24,509 to E48,972. Small additional sources of income from bonuses, profit shares, and commission can add to the total pay. The bonus is E608 to E7,964, the profit share is E950, and the commission is E1,000. Therefore, the total pay with all factors included is E24,283 to E49,936.

How Much Does an Optometrist Make in Australia?

The salary for optometrists in Australia is AU$67,319 to AU$114,313 with bonuses from AU$979.00 to AU$22,500 and commission of AU$2,200. Hourly, they earn AU$29,80 to AU$85.78 with overtime of AU$62.50. In summary, their pay ranges from AU$66,714 to AU$126,234.

How Much Does an Optometrist Make in New Zealand?

The annual salary for optometrists in New Zealand is NZ$72,719 to NZ$113,346. There is no additional income listed, and the total reported pay is slightly lower than the base salary. This could be due to business expenses or required malpractice insurance. Thus, full pay is NZ$65,000 to NZ$111,178.

How Much Does an Optometrist Make in India?

The annual salary for optometrists in India is Rs 169,127 to Rs 492,723. This relatively small pay range is unusual for occupations in India. In addition, they get a bonus of Rs 1,982 to Rs 28,337, profit sharing of Rs 15,000 and commission of Rs 10,174. Their full salary is Rs 170,297 to Rs 506,467.

How Much Does an Optometrist Make in South Africa?

The 10th percentile of optometrists in South Africa earn R173,774 and R98.63 while the 90th percentile earn R406,370 and R301.34. The overtime is R203.47 for those who get hourly pay. Also, they can get a bonus of R24,240 and similar commission of R24,000 a year. Their salary with everything added for individual earners stretches from R175,020 to R493,323.

2. Experience

Pay typically increases with experience. However, the rate of increase depends on many factors including the country where they work. In the United States, pay increases from the optometrist starting salary of $98,000 to $120,000 for senior workers. Eye doctors in the United Kingdom see a 34 percent swing from their early to late employment. However, those working in South Africa earn 65 percent above the median when they have more than 20 years of experience while the same population in Australia earns 38 percent above the median. In Canada, the pay increase is actually higher for those with 5-10 years of experience than for those with more than 10 years.

The optometrist salary ranges described above depend on the level of experience that someone has. The highest proportion of contributors to the Payscale data from the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, India, and Canada are those with 1 to 4 years of experience. This suggests that the median pay is slightly lower than it would be if more experienced optometrists offered information.

3. Industry

In the United States, there were approximately 41,000 optometrists in the year 2024. According to IbisWorld, numerous factors affect the industry and optometry salary. These include the number of people with health insurance, how much of the service is online, proportion of the population over the age of 65, and federal funding for Medicare.

The highest paying work environments for optometrists are physician offices, outpatient care centers, hospitals, and offices of other health practitioners. In total, these constitute 3 percent of the overall workforce. From a geographic perspective in the United States, the highest paid optometrists live in Alaska, Connecticut, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Maryland. The salary is significantly higher in Alaska and Connecticut at approximately $180,000.

Schedule & Working Hours

Optometrists have a lot of options when it comes to their work environment. They can work in independent optometry shops, in doctors’ offices, or in eyeglass stores. Approximately 20 percent of optometrists are self-employed in the United States. Full-time hours are typical. Extra hours are not normal, but they may work some of their hours in the evening or weekend to work when patients can come in.

It is not unusual for optometrists to work in another capacity beyond seeing patients. For example, they may be professors or conduct research. They typically work from 8 or 9 AM to 4 or 5 PM. In addition, they usually see patients for 6 hours of the day and rely on the administrative staff to handle scheduling and patient check-in. On a weekly basis, they treat 60 patients and pre or post-op care for about 45 patients a year.

Bonuses & Benefits

Optometrists have a very favorable schedule and working environment. These professionals particularly enjoy helping others and patient care. Optometrists who are self-employed receive a much higher pay than those who work for companies. The median optometrist salary is $176,000. Self-employed optometrists also can set their own schedule and decide where to operate the business. However, those who work for larger companies have different benefits such as matching retirement contributions, paid time off, possible tuition reimbursement, a flexible spending account, and employee wellness programs.

The following table shows the healthcare coverage by country. IT is interesting to note that normally more workers have dental insurance than vision insurance. Optometrists, perhaps due to the nature of the field, generally see a higher proportion of vision insurance over dental.

Country United States Canada United Kingdom Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Medical 64 42 33 6 17 43 18
Dental 38 39 17 3 4 1
Vision 33 48 40 33 17 34 15
None 30 42 41 65 67 41 72

Career Outlook

There is tremendous job growth for optometrists in the United States. The number of openings is expected to grow 27 percent through the year 2024. The primary reason for this is that the population is getting older as a whole. Chronic conditions also cause eye problems and optometrists who have experience in dealing with such issues related to conditions will be in an excellent place.

While the job growth is highly optimistic, there is fierce competition to be admitted to optometry school. In addition, there are a limited number of optometry schools that are accredited. This impacts the number of licensed optometrists available to work.


An optometrist career is an important job with excellent benefits and salary. The economic climate is favorable for their job growth. If you are interested in becoming an optometrist, you should find many different practicing optometrists to job shadow and make sure this is the career you want. Completing as many internships as possible is crucial to increasing the possibility of getting accepted to optometry school. Much like becoming and making a CNA salary, job shadowing is a major part of your future success.

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