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Working As an Optometrist

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $147,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Optometrist Do

Optometrists examine the eyes and other parts of the visual system. They also diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and other disorders of the eyes. They prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses as needed.

Duties

Optometrists typically do the following:

  • Perform vision tests and analyze results
  • Diagnose sight problems, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, and eye diseases, such as glaucoma
  • Prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other visual aids, and if state law permits, medications
  • Perform minor surgical procedures to correct or treat visual or eye health issues
  • Provide treatments such as vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation
  • Provide pre- and postoperative care to patients undergoing eye surgery—for example, examining a patient’s eyes the day after surgery
  • Evaluate patients for the presence of other diseases and conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, and refer patients to other healthcare providers as needed
  • Promote eye and general health by counseling patients

Some optometrists spend much of their time providing specialized care, particularly if they are working in a group practice with other optometrists or physicians. For example, some optometrists mostly treat patients with only partial sight, a condition known as low vision. Others may focus on treating infants and children.

Optometrists promote eye health and counsel patients on how general health can affect eyesight. For example, they may counsel patients on how smoking cessation or weight loss can reduce vision problems.

Many optometrists own their practice and those who do may spend more time on general business activities, such as hiring employees, ordering supplies, and marketing their business.

Optometrists also may work as postsecondary teachers, do research in optometry colleges, or work as consultants in the eye care industry.

Optometrists should not be confused with ophthalmologists or dispensing opticians. Ophthalmologists are physicians who perform eye surgery and treat eye diseases in addition to performing eye exams and prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. For more information on ophthalmologists, see the physicians and surgeons profile. Dispensing opticians fit and adjust eyeglasses and, in some states, fill contact lens prescriptions that an optometrist or ophthalmologist has written.

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How To Become An Optometrist

Optometrists must complete a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree program and obtain a license to practice in a particular state. O.D. programs take 4 years to complete, and most students have a bachelor’s degree before entering such a program.

Education

Optometrists need an O.D. degree. In 2015, there were 23 accredited O.D. programs in the United States, one of which was in Puerto Rico.

Applicants to O.D. programs must have completed at least 3 years of postsecondary education. Required courses include those in biology or zoology, chemistry, physics, English, and math. Most students have a bachelor’s degree with a pre-medical or biological sciences emphasis before enrolling in an O.D. program.

Applicants to O.D. programs must also take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), a computerized exam that tests applicants in four subject areas: science, reading comprehension, physics, and quantitative reasoning.

O.D. programs take 4 years to complete. They combine classroom learning and supervised clinical experience. Coursework includes anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, optics, visual science, and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the visual system.

After finishing an O.D. degree, some optometrists complete a 1-year residency program to get advanced clinical training in the area in which they wish to specialize. Areas of specialization for residency programs include family practice, low vision rehabilitation, pediatric or geriatric optometry, and ocular disease, among others.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require optometrists to be licensed. To get a license, a prospective optometrist must have an O.D. degree from an accredited optometry school and must complete all sections of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam.

Some states require individuals to pass an additional clinical exam or an exam on laws relating to optometry. All states require optometrists to take continuing education classes and to renew their license periodically. The board of optometry in each state can provide information on licensing requirements.

Optometrists who wish to demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge may choose to become certified by the American Board of Optometry.

Important Qualities

Decisionmaking skills. Optometrists must be able to evaluate the results of a variety of diagnostic tests and decide on the best course of treatment for a patient.

Detail oriented. Optometrists must ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment and medications and that prescriptions are accurate. They must also monitor and record various pieces of information related to patient care.

Interpersonal skills. Because they spend much of their time examining patients, optometrists must be able to help their patients feel at ease. Optometrists also must be able to communicate well with other healthcare professionals.

Speaking skills. Optometrists must be able to clearly explain eye care instructions to their patients, as well as answer patients’ questions.

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Average Yearly Salary
$147,000
Show Salaries
$95,000
Min 10%
$147,000
Median 50%
$147,000
Median 50%
$147,000
Median 50%
$147,000
Median 50%
$147,000
Median 50%
$147,000
Median 50%
$147,000
Median 50%
$226,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Aurora Medical Group
Highest Paying City
Syracuse, UT
Highest Paying State
Montana
Avg Experience Level
4.3 years
How much does an Optometrist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Optometrist in the United States is $147,248 per year or $71 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $95,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $227,000.

Real Optometrist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Optometrist Capital Vision Services, LLC Martinsburg, WV Jan 08, 2016 $175,000
Managing Optometrist Luxottica Retail North America Inc. New York, NY Oct 15, 2015 $150,500
Optometrist Gulf Coast Optometry, P.A. Tampa, FL Oct 09, 2016 $150,000
Optometrist/Doctor of Optometry DRS. W.L. Roberts and G.T. Roberts Vestal, NY Sep 01, 2015 $140,000
Staff Optometrist Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center New York, NY Jan 07, 2016 $135,000
Staff Optometrist Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center New York, NY Jan 07, 2016 $135,000
Optometrist National Vision Inc. Ann Arbor, MI Oct 29, 2015 $133,574
Optometrist Jason Wonch O.D. and Associates A.P.C. Baton Rouge, LA Jan 10, 2016 $130,000
Optometrists Jason Wonch, O.D. and Associates A.P.C. Lafayette, LA Jan 10, 2016 $130,000
Optometrist Jason Wonch, O.D. and Associates A.P.C. Alexandria, LA Aug 31, 2016 $130,000
Optometrist Wilmington Eye Group Wilmington, MA Sep 21, 2016 $129,791
Optometrist Watertown Eye Group, Inc. Watertown Town, MA Sep 21, 2016 $129,791
Optometrist Nationwide Vision Center, P.C. Maricopa, AZ Apr 29, 2016 $115,003
Optometrist National Vision Inc. Ithaca, NY Sep 24, 2015 $115,000
Optometrist Regional Vision Consultants, LLC Hamilton, NJ Aug 28, 2015 $115,000
Optometrist Texas Vision Associates, P.A. Flower Mound, TX Sep 05, 2015 $115,000
Optometrists Peter M. Ho, M.D., P.A. Irving, TX Aug 23, 2016 $115,000
Optometrist National Vision Inc. New Hartford, NY Sep 24, 2015 $115,000
Optometrist National Vision Inc. Colonie, NY Sep 24, 2015 $115,000
Optometrist Henry Ford Health System Dearborn, MI Jan 07, 2016 $106,080
Optometrists Doctor's Exchange of Washington, P.C. Silverdale, WA Nov 09, 2016 $105,000
Optometrist Empire Vision Center, Inc. Oswego, NY Sep 13, 2016 $105,000
Optometrists Doctor's Exchange of Washington, P.C. Silverdale, WA Aug 31, 2016 $105,000
Optometrists National Vision Inc. Rockford, IL Aug 23, 2016 $105,000
Optometrist Cincinnati Eye Institute Cincinnati, OH Aug 28, 2015 $104,874
Optometrist Anthony V Perry OD & Associates PLC Madisonville, TN Oct 01, 2015 $104,350
Optometrist All Eye Care at Davis Inc. Medford, MA Jan 09, 2016 $104,350

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Top Skills for An Optometrist

  1. Contact Lens Orders
  2. Care Optometry
  3. Patient Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Processed lens and contact lens orders.
  • Practiced primary care optometry in professional setting and participated in unstructured fellowship within practice PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
  • Owned and operated the business and oversaw all aspects, including personnel, patient care, and insurance claims.
  • Managed and treated patients with Advanced Glaucoma and Advanced Retinal pathology
  • Administered eye care and oversaw general office management.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Optometrists

  1. North Dakota
  2. Minnesota
  3. Kansas
  4. Missouri
  5. Nebraska
  6. South Dakota
  7. Alaska
  8. Oregon
  9. Montana
  10. Utah
  • (3 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)

Optometrist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,847 Optometrist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Optometrist Resume

View Resume Examples

Optometrist Demographics

Gender

Female

65.4%

Male

23.1%

Unknown

11.5%
Ethnicity

White

55.3%

Hispanic or Latino

18.4%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

10.8%

Unknown

4.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.3%

Vietnamese

5.3%

French

5.3%

Hindi

4.0%

Urdu

3.3%

Russian

3.3%

Mandarin

2.6%

Cantonese

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Gujarati

2.0%

Portuguese

1.3%

Chinese

1.3%

German

1.3%

Hebrew

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Korean

1.3%

Italian

1.3%

Armenian

1.3%

Japanese

0.7%

Thai

0.7%
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Optometrist Education

Schools

Illinois College of Optometry

15.2%

Southern California College of Optometry

9.0%

Southern College of Optometry

8.3%

State University of New York College of Optometry

8.1%

University of Houston

8.1%

Nova Southeastern University

6.9%

New England College of Optometry

6.9%

Salus University

5.8%

University of California - Berkeley

5.5%

Pacific University

3.7%

Indiana University Bloomington

3.0%

Western University of Health Sciences

2.5%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

2.5%

Ohio State University College of Optometry

2.5%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

2.3%

University of Phoenix

2.3%

Ferris State University

2.1%

Inter American University of Puerto Rico-School of Optometry

2.1%

The Academy

1.6%

Ohio State University

1.6%
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Majors

Optometry

46.0%

Business

7.6%

Biology

7.0%

Health Care Administration

6.2%

Medical Assisting Services

5.8%

Nursing

5.4%

Psychology

4.5%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Accounting

1.8%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.7%

General Studies

1.5%

Management

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Elementary Education

1.2%

Public Health

1.1%

Cosmetology

1.0%

Liberal Arts

1.0%

Medical Technician

1.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.0%

Ophthalmic And Optometric Support Services

0.8%
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Degrees

Doctorate

28.4%

Other

27.9%

Bachelors

21.0%

Associate

8.5%

Masters

6.3%

Certificate

4.8%

Diploma

2.6%

License

0.7%
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