Published in Non-Clinical

The Real Cost of Hiring an Optometrist

This is editorially independent content
7 min read

How much will it cost to hire an OD for your practice—and how much revenue are you missing out on by not hiring? Find out with our updated Cost of Hiring calculator!

There are many things to consider when hiring an optometrist associate — but financial implications should be at the top of your list. Hiring an optometrist the wrong way can really affect your net margins.
This slick tool will help you determine the ROI on hiring an associate OD for your practice.

How to use the calculator

First, identify how many months the position will be vacant. The average time to hire an associate optometrist is roughly 3-5 months. This is a good place to start, but know that certain features of your optometry practice can substantially increase or decrease time to hire.

Revenue per optometrist: what is the average gross revenue you can expect from a new OD?

  • Average revenue per patient
  • Average patients per day
  • Average associate days worked per week
  • Net profit margin for new associate
With a few quick inputs, the calculator will tell you the average gross revenue you can expect from your optometrist.

Recruiting expenses: how much will the hiring process cost?

  • Hourly salary of staff member interviewing candidates
  • Average monthly hours spent interviewing/screening
  • Monthly advertising cost
One of the biggest mistakes employers make is in not realizing how much time it will take to hire a new employee—not just the length of time, but the time commitment to post job ads and interview candidates. This part of the tool incorporates that cost as well.

Onboarding expenses: how long will it take your associate OD to reach 100% productivity?

  • OD productivity, first month
  • OD productivity, second month
  • OD productivity, third month
Meetings, interviews, and salaries of staff can certainly add up, but so will your increasing productivity as your new OD gets acquainted. These percentages should grow until your OD is at 100% productivity, which will likely take 3-4 months.

Cost of employment: how much does an employed OD cost?

  • Annual OD salary
  • Monthly health insurance premium
  • Number of PTO days
This part of the calculator will spit out the costs of health insurance premiums, federal taxes, and PTO days—which will affect the average daily revenue, as well.

Many experts say that each doctor is capable of accounting for $500,000 to $1,000,000 or more of practice gross income, but there’s so much more to this.

The decision to hire an optometrist associate should not be taken lightly. There are many things to consider, from what this hire will cost you to how much additional revenue a new associate can bring to your practice.
Let's break down the cost of hiring an optometrist—each of these corresponds with a field in the tool, so keep these in mind when using the calculator!

Money Coming In 💵

In order to determine how much revenue your associate will generate, you will need to consider the following:
  • Average revenue per patient: What is your average revenue per patient?
  • Average number of patients seen daily: How many patients will this associate see?
  • Days worked per week: How many days per week and how many hours per day will your associate be working?
  • Net profit margin for new associate: With an associate, you now have the ability to see more patients, at more times, and expand your outreach!

Money Going Out 💸

When adding an optometrist associate to your practice, you'll also need to consider the prospective costs.
  • Cost of vacancy: How long does it take to find that associate? Do you currently have a need that you can't meet? This is opportunity cost!
  • Cost of onboarding: Meetings, interviews, salaries of staff can certainly add up as you take time out of the schedule to evaluate those applying for your open position.
  • Time to reach full productivity: Will your associate have a full schedule from day one? Or will it take a few months before they're firing on all cylinders?
  • Cost of employment: What will you compensate this associate? Are you offering paid time off? What are tax implications for your business? What about health premiums?
These are just some of the things you need to consider. Obviously, adding an OD associate to your practice should result in a far greater increase in revenue than costs!
But making the wrong hire, or adding an associate to a practice that cannot support one, can create major problems. There are many other factors to consider when adding an associate optometrists to your practice.
You need to think about why you want to add an associate.
  • Are you looking to grow?
  • Are you looking to cut back your own hours?
  • Are you booked several weeks in advance and simply cannot manage the workload?
  • Are you looking to have the associate buy our your practice one day?
  • Is someone on a leave of absence or sabbatical?
Depending on the underlying reason to bring on an associate, the costs to hire can differ dramatically!

Take these two hiring scenarios, for example:

Scenario 1:

You decide to bring on an associate optometrist to your practice because you have an immediate need. Their schedule is going to be 100% FULLY booked from day one. That's the dream situation but it's unlikely to actually be a reality!


  • Costs to hire are within average (don't worry, this is all in the calculator)
  • Average revenue per patient is $300, and a full schedule is 15 patients a day, 5 days a week

Scenario 2:

You decide to bring on an associate optometrist to your practice because you want to try and grow. Their schedule is going to be only 50% booked from Day 1 for 3 months until the schedule fills up completely. This is a three month ramp up to production — not too bad.


  • Costs to hire are within average
  • Average revenue per patient is $300, and a full schedule is 15 patients a day, 5 days a week
So what's the difference between scenario 1 and scenario 2 in total costs? Well this might come as a shocker but it's roughly $350,000! 🤯
If you want to paint your own hiring picture and figure out what it would cost to add an associate to your practice, stop looking at our examples and averages, and try out the calculator!

Ready to hire an optometrist?

Once you've performed your cost analysis and decided that it's time for you to add an associate optometrist to your practice, you should get started right away!
Between low unemployment making it easy for ODs to find jobs and employers choosing not to invest in hiring, optometry practices are having difficulty filling positions quickly. According to our 2018 survey of optometrists, it takes a new optometrist less than four weeks on average to find a job after graduation, and 51% find jobs even before they graduate. In contrast, it can take a practice up to five months to fill a position!
Eyes On Eyecare has worked with hundreds of practices to hire ODs and we offer different options to meet your unique needs—job board listings, full-service recruiting, and recruitment marketing. In a tight labor market, it's crucial to take advantage of opportunities to reach both active and passive job seekers through optometry blogs and websites like Eyes On Eyecare. And if you want to keep costs down, it's incredibly important that you start promoting your open position as soon as possible. Get started by scheduling a consultation with an Eyes On Eyecare hiring specialist. We'll be happy to talk about which hiring services make the most sense for your practice and how we can help you find your newest team member!

Run a More Profitable Practice with Our Handy Calculators

Matt Geller, OD
About Matt Geller, OD

Matt Geller, OD is the co-founder and CEO of Eyes On Eyecare—the #1 provider of clinical and career education for the next generation of optometrists and ophthalmologists through our all-in-one digital content platform.

Matt Geller, OD
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