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Optometry Major

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Optometry

$119,980 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Optometry Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many optometry graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Doctor’s Degree 1,728
Graduate Certificate 19

What Optometry Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to optometry and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Optometry Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in optometry should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Optometry Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to optometry:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Optometry Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a optometry student include the following:

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  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

What Can You Do With a Optometry Major?

People with a optometry degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Optometrists 17.9% $111,790

How Much Do Optometry Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Optometry majors often go into careers with median salaries of $119,980. This median refers to all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Optometry Major  119,980
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with optometry may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for optometry careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 9.0%
Doctoral Degree 94.2%

Online Optometry Programs

In 2018-2019, 22 schools offered a optometry program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 0 0
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 22 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Optometry Worth It?

The median salary for a optometry grad is $119,980 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 201% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,601,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to optometry.

Major Number of Grads
Nursing 305,309
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 99,641
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 93,192
Allied Health Professions 86,697
Health & Medical Administrative Services 82,868
Public Health 36,569
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 28,559
Mental & Social Health Services 27,743
Dental Support Services 26,183
Health Sciences & Services 25,948
Communication Sciences 21,606
Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences 19,767
Medicine 19,720
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science 19,354
Somatic Bodywork & Therapeutic Services 11,961
Health/Medical Prep Programs 11,279
Other Health Professions 8,168
Osteopathic Medicine 6,700
Dentistry 6,403
Dietetics & Clinical Nutrition Services 5,877
Alternative Medicine & Systems 3,576
Veterinary Medicine 3,297
Health Aids/Attendants/Orderlies 3,251
Chiropractic 2,608
Advanced Dentistry & Oral Sciences 1,685
Medical Illustration & Informatics 1,624
Ophthalmic & Optometric Support Services 1,044
Medical Science 809
Veterinary Biomedical & Clinical Services 782
Bioethics/Medical Ethics 597
Podiatry 579
Movement & Mind-Body Therapies 444
Alternative Medical Support Services 191
Energy & Biologically Based Therapies 73

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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