New CovalentCareers Study Examines Trends, Attitudes Among Optometrists, Students and Practice Owners

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SAN DIEGO—A new study examining attitudes, trends, views toward recruitment and practice among optometrists has been released by CovalentCareers, Inc., a career development company for new health care professionals and the largest provider of new graduate health care professional career resources.The CovalentCareers 2019 Optometrist Report, now available at no charge for eyecare professionals, is based on data collected from 1,181 optometrists, optometry students, and practice owners. The 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,” said 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.” Among the findings in the report: 44.5 percent of optometrists say they are earning over $100,000 per year, with the plurality earning between $100,000 and $110,000. Simultaneously, there was an 8.2 percent decrease in the number of optometrists planning to buy into or open a practice compared to the same survey question in 2017.


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 percent 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 percent 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,” said Dr. Geller. “This is incorrect—not only is unemployment in the U.S. at 3.7 percent right now, but there is currently a significant shortage of optometrists. It’s up to employers to meet candidates on their turf.” The full report is free to download here.