Optometry falls into the Investigative Theme Code Category according to the Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment. The Strong Interest Inventory® categorizes careers into six different families based on the preferences and interests of people who have reported satisfied within each type of job category. The Inventory measures these preferences in job seekers and then analyzes them, with the goal of guiding job seekers to a career that is an optimal fit for them. The Investigative Theme Code category generally attracts people who enjoy abstract tasks that require critical thinking, problem solving, and sometimes mathematics. They also tend to prefer flexible work hours, where they can set their own schedule and tackle challenges when they choose.


Read about a career in Optometry including information such as an Optometrist’s salary, daily tasks and other career information.

Optometrists are responsible for diagnosing, managing, and treating conditions and diseases of the human visual system. They examine eyes using instruments and pharmaceutical agents as well as old-fashioned observation to determine visual acuity and perception, focus and coordination, and to diagnose specific diseases, including glaucoma and color blindness. They may also need to run and analyze test results in order to make a diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, Optometrists may need to prescribe, fit, supply, and adjust eyeglasses or other visual aids, such as contact lenses. They may also develop other treatment plans as needed, including removing foreign bodies from the eye, prescribing medications or therapeutic procedures such as vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation. For patients who are undergoing eye surgery (e.g., cataract surgery or laser vision correction), they may need to provide pre and post-operative care. Finally, Optometrists may need to educate or counsel patients on lens care, hygiene, lighting arrangements, and/or safety or consult with an ophthalmologist or other health care practitioner as needed.

Optometrists use many different kinds of tools and technologies as they provide their patients with medical care. Among these tools are binocular vision sets, color vision testing devices, eye charts, eye occluders, lens measuring equipment, phoropter units, as well as ophthalmic lens holders, lensometers, medical instrument sets, prisms, retinoscopes, surgical knives, scope sets, and other accessories. In addition, they also need to be comfortable using standard medical equipment, such as blood pressure cuffs. The kinds of software used differ widely, but medical and visual software such as First Insight, MaximEyes, HealthLine Systems, Eyecom, Universal Software Solutions, VersaVision, and others like these are almost always necessary. In addition, scheduling software and database user interface and query software (e.g., Microsoft Access; SQL Server, etc.) are highly useful as well, as is Microsoft Office Suite and its Google-produced counterparts.

In order to become an Optometrist, one needs to have earned a doctoral degree (91%) or a professional degree (9%) from an accredited university. In their considerable years of study, Optometrists develop a strong foundation in the sciences, including medicine and dentistry as well as biology, psychology, and chemistry. They also need to have a knack for customer service, since their profession is inherently patient-driven, as well as basic marketing and human resources skills, particularly if they will one day be running their own practice. In addition, Optometrists need to be able to read, write, listen, and speak fluently. They also need to have the ability to solve complex problems quickly and confidently. Furthermore, they will also benefit from strong near vision, since much of their work is done at relatively close range, as well as finger dexterity and control precision, since minor errors in movement may result in serious harm to their patients.

The national median for Optometrist Salary is just over $110,000 annually, with North Dakota leading the nation with a median just over $155,000 per year. New Mexico is on the other extreme, with a median of just $66,520. That said, even in New Mexico, the top 25% of Optometrists earn nearly $120,000, and the top 10% over $150,000 annually. Similarly, employment is expected to rise in most states, with California, New York, Texas, and Florida alone adding over 600 new jobs in the next decade—a growth rate of over 20% in those states. Across the country, roughly 1,700 additional jobs are expected in the next decade.

Below are some employment trends for Optometrists:

  • Optometrist Salary: $55.41 hourly, $115,250 annually
  • Employment: 42,100 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Faster than average (7% to 10%)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 1,700
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections]

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections Onetonline.org