There are different factors which come into play when it comes to determining how much an optometrist can earn, such as the type of practice an optometrist decides to work at. If an optometrist decides to go for private practice, it requires setting up a clinic and handling business matters while juggling the needs of the patients. According to the American Optometric Association, optometrists who have established their private practice earn more than those who are employed in hospitals, clinics and other institutions. This is because their earnings are boosted by the additional services that they provide plus the revenue from the eye care products they sell to their patients. Their revenue is not fixed to just the monthly salary - when the number of patients goes up, their profits increase as well.
Another option is to be employed under a more prominent hospital or clinic. An in-house optometrist will technically be employed by the institution and income will depend on the rate per consult fees or monthly salary. Other optometrists work in partnership with major manufacturers, and handle the medical side of the business while doing retailing for a company which manufactures eye glasses, contact lenses and other products.
For new optometrists just getting into actual practice, the wage starts out low, especially if the experience is less than a year (the starting wage can be from $70,000 to $90,000). The determinant for start-up pay is based on educational background, internship performance or recommendations. The $90,000 initial salary for optometrists in the United States can go up after a year or two. This occurs once the individual has gained proper experience in the field. Optometrists with five years of experience or more get better offers and higher incomes from institutions and are highly sought after by major eye care companies and premiere hospitals.
Optometrists average a score of 3.5 out of 5 on our salary satisfaction scale. This places Optometrists in the 89th percentile of salary satisfaction.