Walmart to raise pay for opticians, pharmacists

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,254 views 

Walmart will raise pay for more than 4,000 opticians at its U.S. eye care centers to an average wage of $22.50 an hour. The increase does not include Sam’s Club. Walmart declined to provide the amount of raises or what the average wage is for the jobs in Arkansas.

“Our opticians play a critical role in helping customers access vision care at Walmart. The job includes recommending the ideal frame and lens combinations and taking custom lens measurements to make frame repairs or ordering contact lenses for customers,” said David Reitnauer, vice president of health & wellness, optical at Walmart.

Walmart is also offering a new program to help vision employees obtain national licensure and certification from the American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners. Reitnauer said the program will allow access to higher-paying jobs and is covered 100% by Walmart, including reimbursement for fees associated with licensure.

Walmart operates 40 vision centers in Arkansas. The retailer said in Arkansas, independent optometrists operate next to Walmart Vision Centers. In other states, Walmart said some optometrists are employees, and some are independent contractors. Walmart also said the new licensure program is also available for opticians at Sam’s Club.

The retailer also announced pay raises for approximately 3,700 pharmacists who work in Walmart stores. Walmart said the average annual salary for pharmacists is more than $140,000 without bonuses or incentives. Walmart declined to say what the average wage is in Arkansas or how much the raise will be. The retailer did say the geographically relative wage increases relate to pharmacists and not pharmacy techs, who saw their pay increase last year.

The retail giant told Talk Business & Politics it employs more than 450 pharmacists, including staff pharmacists, RX managers and assistant pharmacists in the 115 pharmacies it operates in the Natural State.

The average pharmacist working full-time in Arkansas earns an average of $121,970, according to the Arkansas Pharmacist Association. The trade organization said first-year pharmacists earn an average of $80,060 annually, rising to $153,480 after 20 years of experience.