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What Factors Affect an Optometrist's Salary?

YaShekia King
YaShekia King

Optometrists are doctors who help patients to take care of their eyes so that their vision remains strong. Factors that affect an optometrist’s salary include whether he or she is just starting out in the field or has become more established in his or her practice. In addition, an optometrist’s salary is based on the size of his or her facility, as well as the number of years of experience he or she possesses in this career area.

An optometrist’s wage when he or she first starts out in the industry depends on whether he or she is salaried. Some physicians decide to work as associates in established practices and receive salaries rather than starting their own businesses. These individuals actually tend to earn more in the beginning than do their counterparts who attempt to set up their own practices. This is because building one’s own business requires large upfront costs, so a person who does this simply earns less at the outset.

An optometrist’s salary rises with experience because she has had time to develop her practice.
An optometrist’s salary rises with experience because she has had time to develop her practice.

As a person in this field becomes more established, this also has a bearing on his or her income level. A person who works in private practice can earn almost double the salary of a person who is not self-employed. This can be attributed to the fact that an optometrist’s salary when he or she works for someone else is more limited to the employer’s budget, while a self-employed doctor is able to retain all earnings for himself or herself after covering the costs of operating the business. Still, a person who works for a chain in this industry typically receives vacation pay and other benefits that a private business owner does not receive.

Optometrists specialize in eye care.
Optometrists specialize in eye care.

The size of a facility for which an individual in this career area works also affects his or her pay. An establishment that features about three to five doctors typically will allow an individual to receive a slightly higher optometrist’s salary than he or she would in a larger practice. A larger number of doctors means more business expense due to the need for more equipment and supplies, so this is a potential factor in the lower salaries earned in larger practices.

The number of years of experience that someone has in this vocational area impacts his or her revenue as well. A person who has worked for two decades might receive a salary that is three times that of a novice who has been in the field for less than a year. An optometrist’s salary rises with experience because he or she has had time to develop his or her practice and thus has a more established customer base, resulting in a steadier revenue stream. He or she also has had an opportunity to pay off business-related debts.

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    • An optometrist’s salary rises with experience because she has had time to develop her practice.
      By: daniel rajszczak
      An optometrist’s salary rises with experience because she has had time to develop her practice.
    • Optometrists specialize in eye care.
      By: blueringmedia
      Optometrists specialize in eye care.