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States where ODs make bank in 2016


Where you live can play a big role in how much cash you’re bringing home. Not only does your state affect your scope of practice, it affects your bottom line.

Where you live can play a big role in how much cash you’re bringing home. Not only does your state affect your scope of practice, it affects your bottom line.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released the latest data on optometrists’ average salaries across the country, and mean annual wages range from just $47,630 to $180,810.

Is your state making bank or going broke?

(Want to see how each state stacks up compared to last year? Check out our 2015 list of states where ODs make bank.)

Related: States where ODs made bank in 2015


Where ODs make bank

5. Maryland

Maryland bumped last year’s fifth-highest earning state, North Dakota, clear off the list. Maryland ODs are bringing in an hourly mean wage of $63.90 for an annual mean wage of $132,920.

Related: Big cities and small towns where ODs made bank in 2015


4. Oklahoma

Oklahoma slipped in this year’s rankings after a $10,000 drop in annual mean wage over last year. In 2015, optometrists in Oklahoma were earning an annual mean wage of $146,330, but this year, that figure dipped to $136,140.

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3. New Mexico

New Mexico also saw a dip in earnings but still managed to leap frog Oklahoma in the rankings. This year, New Mexico ODs brought in an annual mean wage of $140,940, compared to $142,900 last year-a more manageable decrease than their peers in Oklahoma.

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2. Connecticut

Connecticut is holding firm in the runner-up spot, but this state also managed to see a significant jump in earnings. Last year, the state had an annual mean wage of $169,380. Now, Connecticut ODs are raking in $180,160, bringing them within spitting distance of the number-one spot.

Related: Best and worst states to practice in 2015


1. Alaska

Yet again, Alaska is the top-paying state for optometrists. ODs in this state earn an hourly mean wage of $86.93, adding up to an annual mean wage of $180,810.

Our last list of states where ODs make bank must have convinced quite a few people to make the trip up north. Last year, BLS listed 50 ODs living in Alaska, but this year, that number grew to 70.  

Even with that influx of ODs, the state saw a slight bump in wages compared to last year’s annual mean wage of $178,640.

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Next: Find out who is going broke


Where ODs are going broke

5. Kentucky

Kentucky rounds out the top five lowest-paying states for optometrists, but it is within a few hundred dollars of both the fourth- and third-place states.

This year, Kentucky optometrists earn an annual mean wage of $95,770, up from $88,410 last year when the state ranked as the third lowest-paying states.

Interestingly, Kentucky (home to the new University of Pikeville School of Optometry) is one of the four out of five lowest-paying states that is also home to an optometry school.

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4. West Virginia

West Virginia is a newcomer to the lowest-paying states list. Optometrists in West Virginia earn an annual mean wage just $140 less than their peers in Kentucky, coming in at $95,630.

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3. Alabama

Alabama moved up on this list from the fifth spot last year to third this year. Annual mean wages in Alabama increased only marginally from $95,080 to $95,460 this year.

Alabama is the second state on our list that is home to an optometry school-University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.

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2. Indiana

Indiana, home to Indiana University School of Optometry, has earned itself the runner-up spot in the list of lowest-paying states for ODs. Optometrists in Indiana earn an annual mean wage of $92,940, which is still a very respectable salary by any standard. It is even more admirable when you consider that Indiana ODs earn nearly double what those in the first spot do.

However, technically, Indiana is the lowest-earning state for optometrists because the number one spot isn’t held by an actual state. Click to the next slide to see what we mean.

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1. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has the dubious honor of being the lowest paid state-er, unincorporated territory-for optometrists for the second year in a row, earning an annual mean wage of $47,630. The annual mean wage is up only moderately from last year’s $46,400.

Puerto Rico is also the fourth location on our list that is home to an OD school-Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry.

Making matters worse for Puerto Rican ODs, the island is suffering from a $70 billion debt crisis and its unemployment rate is a staggering 45 percent.

Click here to check out our list from 2015!

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