Average Salary: $97,820
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $4,084,000
If you want to be a doctor, but don't want to haul around a two-ton student loan for the rest of your life, optometry might be the field for you. You are responsible for growing your own income, unless you work for Walmart or another superstore with an in-house optical department. If you have an entrepreneurial streak, you'll bring home enough bacon for daily heart-stopping brunches. Next time you're getting your own glasses, look around. Can you see yourself working behind the counter, making about $45 an hour, or $95k a year?
Starting your business straight out of optometry school is daunting and expensive. You can try garage sales, but pupilometers, frame warmers, and refractors aren't cheap. The more you know: If you can plump up your reputation for treating disorders like dry eye, blepharitis (not what you think it is and still not okay to blame it on the dog), inflammation, styes, floaters, or any abnormality that might lead to a more serious diagnosis, you'll be a respected and wealthy optometrist.