San Diego, California – October 28, 2019 – CovalentCareers, Inc. (“CovalentCareers”), a career development company for new healthcare professionals and the largest provider of new graduate healthcare professional career resources, has released its 2019 Optometrist Report, which is now available for free for eyecare professionals. Based on data collected from 1,181 optometrists, optometry students, and practice owners, this report details optometrist salary data, product ratings, student loan debt, and other vital information.
“It’s very difficult to find accurate and free reporting of this kind,” says Matt Geller, OD, CEO of CovalentCareers. “This is the second major industry survey that we’ve done this year, and many of these trends are worthy of wider discussion.”
Findings shared in the 2019 Optometrist Report include the result that 44.5% of optometrists are earning over $100,000 per year, with the plurality earning between $100,000 and $110,000. Simultaneously, there was an 8.2% decrease in the number of optometrists planning to buy into or open a practice compared to the same survey question in 2017.
33.1% of optometrists surveyed were not members of the AOA, and optometry students’ intentions to join the AOA dropped by over 13% as they approached graduation. The top reason for not joining the AOA for both groups was the prohibitive cost of membership.
Another key theme that emerged is the discrepancy between candidate and employer priorities when it comes to hiring and looking for jobs. A full 95.1% of optometrists identified employer branding as an important consideration in their job search. However, practice owners rated the average importance of employer branding when hiring an OD at 5.88. With 56.7% of practice owners ranking staffing as the greatest challenge of running a practice, this suggests that recruitment marketing may be an area for employers to focus on when attracting talent.
“Considering the national conversation around student debt, there is this sense that young ODs need a job and they’ll take anything they can get,” says Dr. Geller. “This is incorrect—not only is unemployment in the US at 3.7% right now, but there is currently a 9,000 FTE shortage of optometrists. It’s up to employers to meet candidates on their turf.”