Quick Facts: Optometrists
2012 Median Pay $97,820 per year
$47.03 per hour
Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 33,100
Job Outlook, 2012-22 24% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 8,100

What Optometrists 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.

Work Environment

Most optometrists work in stand-alone offices of optometry. A small number of optometrists work in doctors’ offices, retail stores, outpatient clinics, and hospitals. Most work full time, and some work evenings and weekends to accommodate patients’ needs.

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. Doctor of Optometry programs take 4 years to complete, and most students have a bachelor’s degree before entering an O.D. program.


The median annual wage for optometrists was $97,820 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of optometrists is projected to grow 24 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, an aging population will require more optometrists.


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