Insights From Our Editors

Optician Pay: With Supervisory Status Vs. Without

Your employees with supervisory responsibilities probably have higher salaries than those without those responsibilities, according to findings from Jobson Optical Research’s and Local Eye Site’s 2013 ECP Compensation Study. Optician/dispensers reporting no supervisory status had an average compensation of $40,768 while those reporting supervisory status came in at $48,688. Those supervising four or more people had an average compensation of $53,978 and those having supervisory status at more than one location averaged $55,417.

Click HERE to purchase Jobson Optical Research’s and Local Eye Site’s 2013 ECP Compensation Study.

Are your opticians worth what you are paying them? I just finished hanging up the phone after talking to a consultant whose job is to go into practices and help them do a better job in the dispensary portion of the practice. I asked, “What is the biggest problem you find?” The number one answer was, “Opticians who are working against and not for the practice.” The number two answer was managed care. We’ll leave the managed care discussion for another day. Today, the focus needs to be on the position of optician.

Let’s take the information from Jobson Optical Research’s and Local Eye Site’s 2013 ECP Compensation Study and put it into a chart so it is easier to utilize.

SUPERVISORY STATUS

AVERAGE

COMPENSATION

Supervisory status at more than 1 location

$55,417

Supervising 4 or more people

$53,978

Supervisory status

$48,688

No supervisory status

$40,768

Now, let’s compare the Jobson data to the MBA staff salary data updated to 2014.

Position

Ave Wage/Hr

Median Wage/Hr

Median Salary/Yr

Office Manager

$24.23

$22.43

$46,644.81

Optometric Assistant

$14.46

$13.92

$28,948.52

Contact Lens Technician

$16.13

$15.77

$32,797.44

Optician / Frames Stylist

$18.40

$17.84

$37,101.89

Lab Manager / Technician

$19.41

$18.89

$39,288.60

Receptionist

$14.38

$13.84

$28,788.65

Bookkeeper

$18.82

$17.65

$36,715.35

Insurance Clerk

$17.03

$16.43

$34,164.00

We can see immediately that MBA compensation data is for a non-supervisory status optician. We can also see that supervisory status compensation for opticians is in the ballpark of office manager positions.

There are some statements that need to be considered when looking at this kind of data. Always remember these numbers are averages. There will be things that either raise or lower compensation packages. This chart helps by giving examples.

THINGS THAT LOWER COMPENSATION PACKAGES

THINGS THAT RAISE COMPENSATION PACKAGES

Lower cost of living

Higher cost of living

Few job applicants

High number of job applicants

Lower skill level

Higher skill level

Low practice need for additional employees

High practice need for additional employees

So how much should you pay your optical staff? Here are five simple rules to utilize. Keep in mind, these rules of thumb do not count your doctors or your in-house optical lab staff who are edging or finishing lenses.

1. Your total staff compensation packages should be around 20 percent of the total dollars collected for the practice.

2. If you divide your total number of full-time employees into your total dollars collected, that number should be higher than $140,000.

3. When you are thinking of hiring a new employee, you need to answer the question: How will the addition of this person permit the practice to collect an additional $140,000? If you cannot answer that question positively, then rethink the decision.

4. You want to pay people enough to keep them out of the market, but on the other hand, you need to manage your payroll expenses. Staff payroll is your second highest practice expense. Cost of goods is usually the highest practice expense.

5. Quality of life trumps pay. If your staff is over-stressed and feels over-worked, they will leave you for a less stressful job–even at lower pay.

Even with the five simple rules above, there are still three significant questions you must answer:

1. Is each optician in your practice working against and or for the practice?

2. Can you fix the problem?

3. Is it time to hire a new optician?

Don’t let lingering problems exist in your practice. It’s time to take action. Your job this week is to review the position of optician for your practice.

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