How to Become an


The complete career guide to be an Orthoptist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $85,120
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 12%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

An orthoptist is in charge of diagnosing and providing treatment for a wide range of vision problems and eye-related defects in patients of all ages. He or she looks for evidence and signs of symptoms regarding visual problems, infections or injuries.

Recommended Schools

What is an Orthoptist?


The following duties are to be prioritized by an orthoptist:

  • Give advice to patients that are experiencing low vision, such as using magnification devices, spectacles and increased lighting to ease their discomfort.
  • Take part in extended responsibilities that may come up, e.g. attend and treat patients at low vision aid clinics or glaucoma monitoring clinics.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with a multidisciplinary team of experts that includes professional optometrists, pediatric or neuro ophthalmologists, nurses and opthamologists.
  • Train aspiring orthoptists and related health professionals, such as pre-registration optometry students
  • Work on various departmental research initiatives, compile clinical data for financial records and audits while establishing standard protocols.

Day In The Life

Orthoptists mostly work in team settings, as part of a team of eye care experts. Using your in-depth knowledge of eye movements and eye health, you will be catching up with existing patients and taking on new ones. You may diagnose, monitor and manage patients with eye problems such as binocular vision, droopy lids, amblyopia, etc. after conducting a series of tests to accurately detect it. It is also part of your job to prescribe solutions to patients, like corrective eye exercises and an organised plan of action for visual impairment or defects. The home exercises you will advise to patients could be related to alleviating reading problems and increasing focus.

Work Schedule

Orthoptists work during standard office hours, around 38 hours per week, although you may have to do shifts such as late nights and weekends. Some professionals also take on work on a freelance basis or during career breaks. You might have to conduct visits to local health clinics, community hospitals and school centres. Examining patients through the day can be physically demanding since you will have to frequently lean forward or kneel to use different equipment to ascertain eye health. You may also be moving patients in wheelchairs to examination rooms or for corrective surgery.

Growth Of The Job

A 12% job growth in job opportunities for orthoptists working in the United States is expected, over the next ten years. Orthoptists can look forward to progressing from an entry-level professional, to a specialist and eventually to a head orthoptist. Most experienced orthoptists in this field go on to take up clinical management roles at health facilities or research institutes. At this level, you would be supervising numerous staff and monitoring the departmental budget as required. A few orthoptists also branch off to alternative careers such as full-time teaching or working with aspiring professionals in the field on clinical placements at universities providing an orthoptics qualification or at a clinic/hospital research position.

Typical Employers

Orthoptists work at various settings such as clinics, hospitals, private research facilities, community health areas, universities and clinical research centers. Most positions require orthoptists to work independently, or in coordination with ophthalmologists. Prospective employers typically do not ask for a license as a job requirement, but certifications are almost always required in this field.

Recommended Schools

How To Become an Orthoptist

You should at least have a Bachelor’s degree to become a successful orthoptist. Getting a place in a university coursework is in high demand – i.e. candidates that will succeed are those who have a superior understanding of orthoptics and the experience of working with people of all ages.

However, getting a fellowship program does not require you to have this degree – this is the first step to starting your orthoptist’s career path. Fellowship programs are valid in the job market, only if they are accredited. These programs take up to 24 months to complete and are extremely hard to get admission to.

A degree in orthoptics is ideal as this fully prepares you with theoretical and practical elements on the profession. To be eligible for a certification from the national orthoptic council in this field, you must have at least completed two years with a fellowship program and must have a supervisor to provide you a recommendation. Certification programs encompass varied subjects such as eye anatomy and physiology, diagnostic testing and ocular pharmacology. During the coursework, aspiring students will closely evaluate several patients to gain expertise in applied work and dealing with patients face-to-face.

Orthoptist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Orthoptist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Orthoptist's can make an average annual salary of $85,120, or $41 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $55,510 or $27 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #115 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Orthoptists

  • 27.9%   Doctorate
  • 42%   Masters
  • 15.7%   Bachelors
  • 3%   Associates
  • 7.6%   College
  • 2.6%   High School
  • 1.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Orthoptist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 6,000 jobs for a total of 56,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 12% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #148 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Orthoptists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Federal government, excluding postal service 14,100 -1,400 -1%
Self-employed workers 13,000 1,600 2%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 5,600 400 0%

Want To Be an Orthoptist? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →