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do pharmacists earn more then optometrists?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by nampa1, Nov 26, 2007.

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  1. nampa1

    nampa1

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Do pharmacists earn more then optometrists? Commercial pharmacists earn 108k, hospital, maybe 80,000.
    Optometrists seem to be all over the place. It seems all optometrists measured have a medium of 110k. But just commerical I cant find numbers. I also see advertisments all over the place, some areas for commercial have as low as 60k, others as high as 98k. VA seems to be 45-90k, Indian Affairs, lower at 40-60k.
    What's the deal?
  2. qwopty99

    qwopty99 Veterinary Optometrist?

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    i think in the past, no.

    but it definitely seems now some graduating pharms can out-earn optos (and it doesn't seem to be a "rare" phenomenon). further, it seems they have a "guaranteed" salary, whereas optos are hoping for walk-ins to come in and pay for an eye exam.

    some data would certainly help this speculation.
  3. JAZZEYE

    JAZZEYE

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    Again.... its pointless comparing the earnings for two different professions !
    There are many other factors to be considered.
  4. Aznfarmerboi

    Aznfarmerboi Senior Member

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    I am not even a graduate yet and I already got two offers. One of them is 120k for retail, and the other is 100k for hospital night shift. Most graduates that I know are getting paid around the same. I do know that in the past (3-4 years ago), the wage would be 40 dollars compared to the average of 55-60 dollars an hour now. Even before that, an independent pharmacist might be getting 30 an hour only with no vacation. I hope this helps.
  5. clarkbar

    clarkbar

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    those numbers seem a tad high. I was under the impression that commercial was 106 and hospital 85 grand. I cant seem to get any info on opt. No one mentions anything and there arent a lot of sources.
  6. IMTB

    IMTB

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    wow, where is this? is it in aus? what state?
  7. CaribbeanEye

    CaribbeanEye

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    It's so much easier to take the guess work out, isn't it. :) Here are the links from the US Department of labor so you can see the real numbers:

    Pharmacists
    Optometrists

    Keep in mind these numbers are a very good starting point when looking at different professions.
  8. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Very interesting in that the tables seem to show that "lower" and "middle" earning pharmacists make a good deal more than lower and middle earning ODs but "higher" earning pharmacists lag far behind higher earning ODs.
    Yet another reason why ODs should try to avoid commercial or employed situations. The only way to make money in this business is to be the owner.
  9. gochi

    gochi

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    Ofcourse, but there arent many oppurtunites to open up a succesfull practice, as big box retail stores offer variations of products at a cost which the owner of a practice cannot afford to sell, hence the owner closes his/her practice and ultimatley ends up working for a retail store which evidently encourages young graduates to work for retail store. Lets not forget the insurance, if there is any reasonable plan availible.

    In my opinion, Pharamcy is a more stable carreer. Sure it may become saturated after a couple of decades, but it will most likely never experience the problems that optometry faces. But I cant imagine my self "taking a request for medicines from a prescribing health care provider in the form of a medical prescription and dispense the medication to the patient and counsel them on the proper use and adverse effects of that medication." Seems somewhat exciting but redundant-just my opinion.

    Like others have said, dont choose you're carrer path based on salary. Salary wise Pharm > Od, by a small amout, so essentially Pharm Salary ~= OD salary.
  10. JAZZEYE

    JAZZEYE

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    Excellent analyzation, but I think you are under estimating the upside of Optometry . Even if the percentage of graduates who achieve successful ownership at some point is only 1/3... the potential is still there ! And the payoff is much greater then a Pharmacist could ever get to in earnings or life style, not to mention I believe the ability to impact someones health in a positive way is more likely to come from an Eye Doctor. This makes OD a more admirable and better financial position ,if we must compare.
  11. stonegoat

    stonegoat

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    I don't know of any ODs making less than 100k/year....of course they are in Canada. An OD who owns his/her own practice can expect to make 200k/year and up, assuming they are doing things properly. I personaly know of OD who are over 300k/year....The years of sacrifice pay-off with practice ownership.
  12. drbizzaro

    drbizzaro Varilux/Essilor Advocate

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    that's very true. my friends are all making 120+ right out of school! (and many are in corporate).
  13. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    Here we go again. My brother's friend's mother in law made 500k last year. I know it for sure! Very few docs working 5 days a week make 120k their first year out.
  14. JAZZEYE

    JAZZEYE

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  15. stonegoat

    stonegoat

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    IndianaOD,

    You're practicing in the wrong country....my first year I made $129K...that's with 6 weeks holidays. At least in Western Canada, you would have to be pretty lazy too earn less than 100k/year....120-140 would be expected most places.
  16. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Let's make sure you're comparing apples to apples here...

    I grew up in Canada and while $129k is impressive, the tax structure of Canada will pare that down much more than it would in the United States.

    And right now, the US dollar is particularly weak, but historically the value of the US dollar has been higher than the Canadian dollar.
  17. stonegoat

    stonegoat

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    The year I made 129K I paid about 35K in taxes....so I retained 94K. Not bad. My friends who practice in the US started at 60-75k before tax.
  18. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Sure, but then you paid an additional 6 or 7% GST on just about every single thing you purchased....

    The point being that it makes very little sense to compare the two situations and say "this situation is better because its 129k and this other one is only 95k."


    Also, if your friends are making 60k before tax, they are doing something horribly wrong....even when I practiced in the worst most saturated areas where ODs were a dime a dozen, I made more than that. Where the heck are they practicing?
  19. gochi

    gochi

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    Id rather work in the States, at least you're not giving 30000k to the gov.
  20. drbizzaro

    drbizzaro Varilux/Essilor Advocate

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    i'm working in the states... i'm on my first year out - making over 120K, but my taxes are pretty high... i lose close to 30% each pay cheque
  21. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Then you're not doing something right....see a good CPA.
  22. stonegoat

    stonegoat

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    KHE,

    Why don't you just agree?? I own a practice in Western Canada, and my associate is close to retirement likeso many others, am worried that I may not be able to find another associate. I know of very decent practices that have been looking for an associate for YEARS. I am just trying to encourage Canadian student ODs to return to Canada.
  23. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    If H. Clinton gets elected and the moral decline of this country continues I might head up there for ya! :eek:
  24. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member

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    If Hilary and the moral decline is what's driving you away from America I'm not so sure you'll find Canada any more palatable...:laugh:
  25. drbizzaro

    drbizzaro Varilux/Essilor Advocate

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    KHE,

    I get paid bi-weekly from a commerical establishment. I'm leaving them within a few months to open up my own practice, however, for the time being, when I get my check in the mail, it always has an automatic tax deduction.

    How can I avoid that?
  26. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Agree with what?

    I have no doubt that there are lucrative job offers available for people in rural western Canada. But I don't think you can just throw out a statement like "I make $129k" and expect the people on here (most of whom are American ODs and OD students it seems) to be able to put that into the proper context.
  27. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    You can elect to have less taxes deducted from your paycheck. At the end of the year, your effective tax rate should be much MUCH less than 33%. If that's the case, you're grossly overpaying on your taxes now on a bi-weekly basis.

    As always, individual circumstances vary.....consult a good CPA.
  28. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    True indeed.
  29. zyg0te

    zyg0te

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    I think you mean analysis.
  30. JAZZEYE

    JAZZEYE

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    Sorry... didn't realize there was that much of a difference or should I say dissimilarity.
    :)

    analyzation: The act of analyzing, or separating into constituent parts; analysis.
  31. Eyedoc1999

    Eyedoc1999

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    One question...are we differentiating between PharmDs and BS in pharmacy. A lot of pharmacy comparisons between commercial involvement and incomes compare ODs and random pharmacists w/o making this clear. The majority of commercial outlets employ BS rather than PharmD.
  32. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member

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    There is no difference between BS Pharm and PharmD...both are licensed pharmacists, the only distinction is when the pharmacist graduated. Older pharmacists hold a bachelors. Somewhere along the way, like practically all health professions in the USA, pharmacists decided they wanted a doctorate too. We now have Dr's of Audiology, Physical Therapy, etc.

    It used to be that PharmD was an advanced level degree for practicing pharmacists (this is the case in Canada, it's like how an MD degree in the UK is above and beyond bachelor of medicine bachelor surgery that is required for entry to the medical profession), but now it is just the entry level degree.
  33. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    There are financing companies out there that specialize in lending to practitioners and who will lend you 100% of the money needed to finance a practice start up or acquisition. What variations of a product are you talking about? Ritz Carlton and the Motel 6 both offer variations of the same thing....hotel rooms. The key to success in optometry is to be the Ritz Carlton.

    I can say with near certainty that as a practice owning OD, I make more than 99% of the pharmacists out there. To say that Pharm salary is ~= OD salary may be true for employees of corporations but there is much more opportunity for ownership in optometry.
  34. gochi

    gochi

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    1. I was assuming that corporate stores have every equipment/product/service etc. relating to optometry whereas p.p. offices do not.

    2. The opportunity for ownership will inevitably decline limiting private practice ownership and stabilizing the salary difference between optometrists and pharmacists.
    Only an assumption.
  35. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    Huh? #1?

    Private practices on average are much better equipped than corporate.
  36. Eyedoc1999

    Eyedoc1999

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    Are you sure about that? I would be careful with the useage of "on average."
  37. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    I visited my local wally OD to be nice and let him know I'd help with any BV cases. I don't think he ever looks for BV problems because I haven't seen one of them and I'm the only one within an hour who does it.

    Anyways, I digress. He had a total of one exam room with a slit lamp, keratometer, and phoroptor. There was nothing else. I've talked to several commercial docs is this is all that any of them have. To be honest there isn't enough space for anything else.

    I've been in over 10 private practices and all have had a visual field and retinal camera.

    We also have a GDx and some other things, but I'd say we are behind some bigger private practices.

    Why would wally buy a humphriss? Doesn't sell any more spectacle frames. Remember, its all about profit.
  38. VA Hopeful Dr

    VA Hopeful Dr Senior Member

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    I would have to agree with indiana here. 10-15 years ago you would likely be right. However, most of the old timers who won't buy retina cameras/oct/topo and so on are getting phased out or bringing on new folks who insist on modern equipment.

    Plus, you do have to remember that you are in what seems to be a fairly unique situation in commercial practice. Its great that you're there, but lots of folks aren't.
  39. eyestrain

    eyestrain Member

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    In the four commercial places I've filled in at, one has had a VF machine. That was wally and they had an Easyfield. A couple had ancient equipment that barely worked (Sears, JcPenneys opticals). Of the four, walmart easily had the best equipment of the bunch. At my PP I have an Octopus 301, but no retinal camera or scanner...yet. Not sure if this adds anything relevant to this discussion, but I thought I'd share my experience.
  40. Aznfarmerboi

    Aznfarmerboi Senior Member

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    I would not consult the BLS for accurate information. Most of the data that they use are not accurate, and do not represent the true value of both opt and pharmacy. I recommend Salary.com (which is what most major sites use to do ranking of jobs).

    It is useless to compare two different professions though. For one thing, most wages for a pharmacist is guarantee, while some ODs might vary. For example, comparing a business owner to a retail pharmacist does not make sense because the business owner will generally put in more hours. With that being said, independent pharmacist business owners make a lot too. Niches within pharmacy such as nutrition, nuclear, parental, compounding, etc = big money.

    For salary.com, my zip code is 10012.

    http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/layoutscripts/swzl_salaryresults.asp?hdKeyword=pharmacist&rdbSearchByOption=0&hdSortBy=0&hdJobCode=HC07000382&hdLocationOption=0&hdViewAllRecords=0&hdJobTitle=Pharmacist%20-%20Retail&hdAjaxDisplaySection1=1&hdAjaxDisplaySection2=0&hdJobCategory=HC04&hdGeoLocation=New%20York,%20NY%2010012&hdOmniNarrowDesc=Healthcare%20--%20Practitioners&hdZipCode=10012&hdOmniTotalJobsFound=7&hdStateMetro=119&op=salswz_psr&txtKeyword=pharmacist&hdSearchByOption=0&hdCurrentPage=1&hdNarrowDesc=Pharmaceuticals&hdJSBoolDisplayAdvertisement=true&hdAjaxKeyword=pharmacist&hdAjaxKeywordWithOR=#pharmacist

    http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/...ptometrists&hdAjaxKeywordWithOR=#optometrists

    If you were to look at total compensation (we get compensated with bonuses depending on performance, 2-3+ weeks of paid vacation, employee discounts of 20 percent, employee stock purchasing plan, 401k plan (my company matches the first 6 percent), flex spending account, etc), the pharmacist comes out in my area 2k more. . which is really chump change.

    I do know of some opts making more, and some making less than pharmacists in other areas. It definitely depends on the market. I conclude that pretty much, our salary is the same. . ., although you guys might have more private practices out there.
  41. Eyedoc1999

    Eyedoc1999

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    I will post a reply to this knowing full well that KHE is going to say my situation isn't typical. My first year in my commercial practice netted me roughly $130K and just having ended year 3 I make well over 2X the average for pharmacists. It's not just how you practice...it's where you practice. Discussing incomes is silly if you aren't pulling location into the mix. If you practice in a super saturated area, you will be broke regardless of your mode of practice (actually regardless of your profession as well). Many ODs do very well in commercial and many private practices die SOLEY based on their choice of practice location. So the quick answer is be sure to do your homework and practice where your services are needed.
  42. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    Off topic,

    Steven, I would be careful putting your name in the posts. If it was only pre-opts and other ODs I would. However, google can pick up your name on here if one of your patients tries to figure out more about you.
  43. ODhopeful

    ODhopeful Super OD World Domination

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    Can the experienced doctors please elaborate how a new grad can go about finding information about where good opportunites are at for opening up a new practice. Or is it kinda like a by chance where some people just get lucky and succeed and others just "die".
  44. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    I'm not what you call experienced, but I did similar research to this. Truthfully, I started out with google maps. Go to an area on the map and type in optometrist or eye care or eye doctor. This can be a bit depressing though as there will usually be pages and pages of them

    I think growing areas are good place to start. Protectionist states like NC seem to be good places too if you can get in. It seems they intentially keep ODs out to keep the supply low.

    Growing rural areas are another place to try. Contact the local chambers of commerce. They will give you good info.

    Another problem is you may not know if another OD is eyeing the same spot you are. During my fourth year in school I had a great area staked out with no ODs. By the time I graduated there were THREE new OD offices in the exact area!
  45. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    In my experience, the best way to ensure success is to practice in an area in which you can be accepted onto medical insurance plans. I have posted on this topic ad nauseum, and a simple search of my past threads and postings will give you the information needed to find that information out.

    It has also been my experience that the amount of "competition" in an area whether it be from other ODs, ophthalmolgists, or Walmarts/other commercial practices matters relatively LITTLE. Many people find that opinion surprising and maybe even slightly counter-intuitive but the fact is that if you're the only OD around for 500 miles and you're a jerk, you're not going to succeed.

    However, you can practice in a heavily populated area and if you are the shining star in sea of donkeys, you will thrive beyond your wildest dreams.

    Again....look for an area in which you can access medical insurance plans.
  46. bruinOD

    bruinOD New Member

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    actually, the story is different here in California. pharmacists are definitely getting the longer end of the stick when it comes to salary. not only is their pay rate higher, but they have a huge sign-on bonus. commerical pays OD's about 40-50K in southern California. if you're an associate at a private practice, you're paid $80K on average. it's definitely supply and demand. there is a huge surplus of OD's in the California market, so the salaries are not very competitive.
  47. Eyedoc1999

    Eyedoc1999

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    40-50K? How can that be correct?
  48. gochi

    gochi

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    Perhaps the above figure indicated represents the salary of opticians ?
  49. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    You simply cannot live on that type of income. At least not with a monthly loan payment.
  50. Eyedoc1999

    Eyedoc1999

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    Agreed. I have a hard time believing that there is such a HUGE disparity between those ODs and the rest of the country.
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