Big cities and small towns where ODs make bank

August 21, 2015

We recently brought you a list of the states where optometrists make the most money-and where they make the least. We wanted to break it down even further and see which big cities and small towns offered high-paying opportunities to ODs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We recently brought you a list of the states where optometrists make the most money-and where they make the least. We wanted to break it down even further and see which big cities and small towns offered high-paying opportunities to ODs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: States where ODs make bank

Did your town make the list?

Bright lights, big paychecks

10. Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is playing it a little fast and loose with the term metropolitan. Houma’s population is 34,000, Bayou Cane’s population is 17,000, and Thibodaux’s population is 14,500. The Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux area is located southwest of New Orleans.

It may be smaller than a lot of the other cities on the list, but optometrists in the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux area earn an hourly mean wage of $83.96. The annual mean wage for ODs in the area is $174,640.

 

9. Oklahoma City, OK

Optometrists in Oklahoma City take home an hourly mean wage of $84.74 for an annual mean wage of $176,260.

Oklahoma City is about a three-hour drive from Northeastern State University of Oklahoma College of Optometry. Oklahoma also ranked high on our recent list of states where ODs make bank.

Related: Best and worst places to practice 2015

 

8. Amarillo, TX

Amarillo is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle and is home to more than 196,000 people.

Optometrists in Amarillo are taking home an $85.18 hourly mean wage and an annual mean wage of $177,180.

 

7. Bellingham, WA

Another not-so-big city makes the list at number seven. Bellingham is home to about 82,000 people and sits right on the Pacific Coast in Washington.

Bellingham ODs earn an hourly mean wage of $88.84 for an annual mean wage of $184,790.

 

6. Fayetteville, NC

Fayetteville optometrists are earning an hourly mean wage of $88.98, adding up to an annual mean wage of $185,070.

Fayetteville is about a three-hour drive east of Charlotte, and just more than an hour and a half away from the beach town of Wilmington. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg and has a population of more than 204,000.

 

5. Lincoln, NE

Lincoln is Nebraska’s capital and its largest city, and it’s home to some well-compensated ODs.

Optometrists in Lincoln are taking home an hourly mean wage of $89.64 for an annual mean wage of $186,450.

 

4. Anchorage, AK

Sure, Alaska isn’t for everybody, but you might be packing your bags and heading north when you see how much optometrists in Anchorage earn.

The hourly mean wage for optometrists in Anchorage is $90.05, earning these ODs an annual mean wage of $187,310.

Unsurprisingly, Alaska landed pretty high on our list of states where ODs make bank.

Related: What is the public image of optometry?

 

3. Hartford, CT

The capital city of Connecticut is coming in at number three on the list of metropolitan cities where optometrists earn big bucks.

ODs in the greater Hartford area earn an hourly mean wage of $96.74, adding up to an annual mean wage of $201, 230.

Interestingly, Connecticut landed on a recent list of worst places to practice for physicians. And the list even recommended avoiding Hartford due to its high crime, low job creation, and high rates of poverty. But that just goes to show what makes a place good or bad for a physician doesn’t always translate for an optometrist!

In fact, Connecticut also made our list of states where ODs make bank. The hourly mean wage for the state is $81.43 for an annual mean wage of $169,380. So even if Hartford isn’t your scene, you can still earn a good living in the Nutmeg State (or the Constitution State or the Land of Steady Habits or the Provisions State-wow, Connecticut has a lot of nicknames!).

 

2. Salisbury, MD

Optometrists in Salisbury earn an hourly mean wage of $98.07 for an annual mean wage of $203,980.

The city is located in southeastern Maryland and home to more than 30,000 people.

 

1. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL

OK, so the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville isn’t exactly a “big city,” but the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks it as the metropolitan area with the highest annual mean wage for optometrists.

The cities all are on the eastern coast of Florida. Titusville is a straight shot east from Orlando, while Palm Bay and Melbourne are southeast of the city.

The ODs in these cities are definitely making bank, earning an hourly mean wage of $116.14 for an annual mean wage of $241,570.

For comparison, the annual mean wage for optometrists in the highest earning state was $178,640. Which state earns that much? You’ll have to check out the list to find out!

Related: Report says optometrists have ‘surprisingly low’ salaries

Next: Small towns, big bucks

 

Small towns, big bucks

5. Western North Carolina nonmetropolitan area

In addition to having a pretty broad definition of metropolitan, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t exactly have a list of small towns-but just large swaths of “nonmetropolitan areas.”

Are you ready to hear all the areas that encapsulate “Western North Carolina nonmetropolitan area?” Here we go: Alleghany County, Ashe County, Avery County,  Cherokee County, Clay County, Graham County, Jackson County, Macon County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Polk County, Rutherford County, Surry County, Swain County, Transylvania County, Watauga County, Wilkes County, and Yancey County.

The optometrists in this area of North Carolina earn an hourly mean wage of $81.75 and an annual mean wage of $170,030.

If you’re looking to get in on some of that good Western North Carolina nonmetropolitan area money, you’ve got a lot of areas to choose from!

 

4. Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area

ODs in the Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area receive an hourly mean wage of $83.17 and an annual mean wage of $172,990.

The Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area includes: Clarke County, Greene County, Jasper County, Jones County, Kemper County, Lauderdale County, Leake County, Neshoba County, Newton County, Pearl River County, Scott County, Smith County, and Wayne County.

Based on those numbers, it’s no surprise Mississippi also ranked high on a recent list of best places to practice.

 

3. Northeastern North Carolina nonmetropolitan area

Turns out, North Carolina is just the place to be if you’re an optometrist!

Fayetteville still beats out this area for highest wages, but Northeastern North Carolina nonmetropolitan area earnings are nothing to sneeze at. ODs here earn $83.87 in hourly mean wage and an annual mean wage of $174,440.

Northeastern North Carolina nonmetropolitan area consists of: Beaufort County, Bertie County, Camden County, Carteret County, Chowan County, Craven County, Dare County, Gates County, Halifax County, Hertford County, Hyde County, Martin County, Northampton County, Pamlico County, Pasquotank County, Perquimans County, Tyrrell County, and Washington County.

 

2. Other Ohio nonmetropolitan area

What it lacks in descriptive definition, it makes up for in high earnings for optometrists.

Good old Other Ohio nonmetropolitan area consists of: Ashland County, Ashtabula County, Columbiana County, Crawford County, Holmes County, Huron County, Knox County, Marion County, Sandusky County, Seneca County, Wayne County, and Wyandot County.

ODs who call “Other” home earn an hourly mean wage of $96, adding up to an annual mean wage of $199,680.

 

1. Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan areas

Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area is the optometric king of all the nonmetropolitan areas.

Optometrists in this area are making bank to the tune of $204,640 annual mean wage and an hourly mean wage $98.39.

Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area consists of: Chaves County, Curry County, DeBaca County, Eddy County, Guadalupe County, Harding County, Lea County, Lincoln County, Otero County, Quay County, Roosevelt County, and Union County.

Related: States fighting to advance optometry

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