California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Optometrists in California

May also be called: Doctors of Optometry (OD); Eye Doctors; and Optometry Doctors

What Would I Do?

Optometrists examine the human eye to diagnose vision problems, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. They test patients’ depth and color perception and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses. They also may prescribe or provide other treatments, such as vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation.

Most Optometrists work in stand-alone offices. They may also work in doctors’ offices, outpatient clinics, health care networks, and retail stores. Most Optometrists work about 40 hours a week, although some may work part time or evenings and weekends. Self-employed Optometrists may work longer hours because they must tend to both medical and administrative duties.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Optometrist may appeal to those who enjoy searching for facts and figuring out problems. Prospective Optometrists should also enjoy helping people and have the ability to relate to their patients. Optometrists who go into private practice should also possess business skills.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2020 for Optometrists in California is $126,793 annually, or $60.96 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$106,885$126,793>$145,600
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Full-time Optometrists generally receive health and life insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement benefits. Those who work for large health care networks may receive additional benefits, such as tuition reimbursement and flexible spending accounts. Self-employed Optometrists are responsible for their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Demand for Optometrists is expected to increase due to the vision care needs of our aging and growing population. However, most job openings will likely be created by the need to replace Optometrists who retire or leave the field for other reasons.

How Do I Qualify?

Prospective Optometrists must have at least three years of postsecondary education, with extensive coursework in health, science, and mathematics, prior to completing a four-year Doctor of Optometry program. Upon completion of the Doctor of Optometry program and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) examinations, graduates are then able to apply for state licensure.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Internet job listings, college career centers, or professional associations may also provide job leads. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Optometrists