Optometry as a Career
Most optometry schools require an undergraduate degree prior to matriculation, and then students complete a 4-yr OD (Doctor of Optometry) program and then typically one additional year of residency. For more information, see Explore Health Careers.org: Optometrist and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry: Optometry - A Career Guide (pdf)
University Course Work
- Meet with your pre-health adviser each semester and add your name to the “pre-optometry email distribution list.”
- Choose a college major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about optometry.
- Carefully check admission requirements at optometry schools of most interest and take the required coursework. In general, most optometry schools require at a minimum:
- A year of general chemistry (Chem 111 and 112) with labs
- A year of general physics (Phys 111 and 112) with labs
- A year of biology (Bio 115 and 116) with labs
- Additional required or recommended course work may include English, calculus, organic chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, microbiology, and psychology.
- OD School and College Prerequisites and recommended and strongly recommended courses
- Directory of OD Schools and Programs
- OD Program Admission Requirements (pdf)
- Maintain a competitive GPA. Review entering student academic profiles at optometry schools and see the OptomCAS Applicant Data Report
School (Your Time at University)
- Get significant shadowing and clinical experience and maintain a formal log (Professional Development Activities Log (Word)). Find out firsthand what the profession is like, decide if it is right for you, explore different areas of the field, and be sure to meet clinical experience requirements of your preferred schools.
- Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors, optometry professionals, and others who will be writing letters of reference
- Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities
Applying to Optometry School
- The application process consists of taking the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) (See OAT 2011 Program Guide), applying through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS), submitting college transcripts and letters of reference, and participating in invited interviews.