If you are a physical therapist looking to find your perfect new home state, take a look into our list of the 25 best states for optometrists.
What is an optometrist? Images of charts with large letters at the top, and progressively smaller and smaller letters toward the bottom, may come to mind. Or perhaps you might be thinking of the crazy-looking metal contraption that you press your face into in order to tell the doctor which slide looks more clear. The bottom line is, optometrists are doctors of the human eye. They test vision, note vision problems, and provide solutions to visual impairments and eye-related health concerns. Maybe it is because I ate so many carrots as a kid, but I have never had any vision problems. I used to actually wish that I had worse vision (and I may have tried to fake a vision test or two in school) so that I could wear glasses. Unfortunately, the optometrists knew what they were doing, and always caught me trying to cheat the exams.
Becoming an optometrist requires a great deal of education and training. First, a 4-year bachelors degree is necessary, with specific requirements in laboratory science, calculus, physiology, biology, and chemistry. The next step is to obtain a Doctor of Optometry degree, which takes another 4 years to complete. Upon completion of this educational track, prospective optometry students must pass the Optometry Admission Test, which is administered by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. Internships and clinical rotations may be performed after the test is passed. Many states in the US also require state-specific licensure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the median annual salary for optometrists is $106,140 per year ($51.03hourly). Most optometrists work in optometry-specific offices, and some also work in stores that sell optical devices. Working as an optometrist requires a great deal of patience, precision, intense medical knowledge, and communication skills.
If you are looking to study within the medical field, but you are not sure which concentration would best suit you, also feel free to check out our list of 25 best states for physical therapists.
Deciding which states qualify as the “best” is not a simple task. Different factors matter more to different people. We decided to consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics for information on the average mean wage and the number of employed optometrists in each state. We then sourced information on the cost of living index from Missouri Economic Research And Information Center. Considering all of these factors, we were able to sort our list.
It is not enough for a state to simply have a high average salary for its optometrists. It must also be considered that the number of working optometrists in the state may affect the number of job positions that are open to newcomers. On the other side of that argument, more employed optometrists points to the possibility of a more steady stream of work available. The cost of living index can also not be considered alone. It is great to have a low cost of living, but this only matters if your salary is also not super low. A low cost of living paired with a high salary is the most advantageous situation. States falling into this category made the top of our list.
Without further ado, here is our list of 25 best states for optometrists.