Which Is More Lucrative in Nigeria: Optometry or Dentistry

Being a college student could be very exciting especially for freshers just coming into the university.

But that initial excitement soon fades away when they realize being in college doesn’t automatically translate to studying medicine & surgery. Imagine the heartbreak that could cause.

But then, there are other viable related courses the university portal would recommend to you, the closest being Optometry or Dentistry.

Again, this begs the question of which is better and which has more prospects going forward.

Dentistry In Nigeria

Dentistry is that aspect of Medical Sciences that has to do with the health, treatment and maintenance of the teeth, gum and other supporting structures and tissues.

To become a dentist in Nigeria, you will have to study in the university for a period of six (6) years after which you can start practicing.

However, the capacity as which a dentist can operate in Nigeria is minimal because Africans tend to care less about their oral health but that not withstanding, they still get a good pay from the Government.

So the best bet for a dentist in Nigeria is getting employed in a Government Hospital rather than setting up their own private clinic.

You hardly see a dentist in Nigeria running a private clinic because the cost of purchasing the dental equipment alone is very much on the high side and even if the dentist chooses to go for a loan, the demand in the Nigerian market for dental services will be too low to break-even.

So once a dentist in Nigeria is done from college, the next thing is to either travel abroad for practice or seek a job in a Government establishment/hospital.

Optometry In Nigeria

Optometry is a school of its own and is not being classified under the college of medicine or Basic Medical Science.

Optometry deals with the study and detection of eye defects and the use of glasses or lenses to correct them.

It is also a six (6) year course in Nigeria and also very prestigious with a very high cut-off mark.

In the real sense, the demand for the services of an Optometrist is quite high in Nigeria judging from the fact that close to one third of the Nigerian population uses glasses, however, the competition is relatively high making it quite difficult to strike even.

You must have seen some set of medical personnel sharing flyers in churches, schools and public gather with the caption “free eye checkup”, those are Optometrist trying to survive.

In case you wonder how they make money from conducting “free eye checkup”, here is how, after checking your eyes, if they find any defect that need correction, they would either sell their lenses to you or recommend a drug to you from their pharmacy.

The option of an Optometrist working in an hospital is also very lucrative as they are payed well along side other health workers. However, the demand for optometrist in hospitals is quite low due to the availability of ophthalmologist.

An Ophthalmologist is a Medical Doctor who specializes in the diseases and treatment of the eyes, therefore, they are always more preferred to an Optometrist. However, an Ophthalmologist is restricted due to lack of adequate knowledge of lenses giving Optometrists the chance to fill the gap.

A dentist in Nigeria earns around 120,000 naira to 300,000 naira per month when working for the Government.An Optometrist earns around 70,000 naira to 200,000 naira per month when working for the Government.
The demand for dental expertise in Nigeria is reasonably low.The demand for Optometrist is high.
Dentist in Nigeria have no competitors, therefore, they can fully dominate their niche.Optometrists in Nigeria compete indirectly with Ophthalmologists.
Requires six (6) years of study.Requires six (6) years of study.
Due to low demand and high cost of dental equipment, it cannot be easily privatized.Can easily be privatized in Nigeria.


Judging from the facts on ground, it will be safe to say that dentistry is more viable and lucrative in Nigeria than optometry due to the government’s salary scale other factors.

Working as a Dentist in Nigeria will earn you far more money than working as an Optometrist due to the job prestige and lack of competition, making it more lucrative than Optometry in Nigeria.

This is not to say Optometry doesn’t pay but in comparison to Dentistry, it will always play second fiddle.

Study Life of Dental Students in Nigeria

Dentistry as you well know is a six (6) year course in Nigeria and requires a lot of commitment to complete.

For the first three years, the dental students will be groomed along side students from medicine & surgery, offering virtually the same course especially in their 100 Level.

After which they are separated to specialize in their various areas.

Post-Study Life of Dental Students in Nigeria

After successfully completing the dental course, dentists (which they are now called) are mostly faced with two choices which is to either:
1. Travel out of the country to either further their study or practice or
2. Seek employment in any hospital around them, preferably a Government hospital due to the salary.

Study Life of Optometry Students in Nigeria

Just like dentistry, Optometry is also a six (6) years course in Nigeria and they are taught separately from other departments right from the very beginning.

In fact, in most universities in Nigeria like the University of Benin, Optometry is a faculty of its own.

They also have some period of internship before finally graduating as certified optometrist.

Post-Study Life of Optometry Students in Nigeria

After successfully completing the Optometry program, an optometrist in Nigeria often team up with friends who are also optometrist to begin an eye care center, while they are waiting for a Job from the Government.

The salary of each of them without a Job depends solely on the profit of the organization. From reliable data, it ranges from 30,000 naira to 100,000 naira per month depending on the strategy of the team.

However, once employed by the Government, they can start earning up to 150,000 naira per month.

There you go, basic details to inform your choice in picking between the two which to study. We hope this helped you. Good Luck.

Here are other medical courses in Nigeria which you should check out, most of them are less competitive than Optometry and Dentistry and they are also lucrative.