Optometry Schools and Training Programs

Read on to find out more about careers in optometry and the education required to become an optometrist or optician. Learn admission requirements and some of the types of courses you could take. Schools offering Optician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

All kinds of schools, from community colleges to optometry schools, can prepare you for a career in optometry. Associate's degrees are available for those wanting to become an optician. If you want to become an optometrist, you will need to complete a bachelor's degree and a Doctor of Optometry degree.

Schools Look for a school accredited by the American Optometric Association
Degrees Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees
Courses Pediatric care, emergency care and vision care; residency required for doctorate

What Degrees Are Available in Optometry?

Optometrists help patients maintain the health of their eyes. That includes examination, diagnostics, treatment and surgery of the eye, and its related parts. To become an optometrist, you may want to complete a degree program at one of 23 optometry schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that are a part of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. Optometry schools may also offer a master's degree or a Ph.D. in optometry or vision science concurrently with the O.D. or as separate graduate programs.

Do I Have Any Other Options?

You'll find a few schools that offer a bachelor's degree in optometry or vision science which fulfill the academic prerequisites for a Doctor of Optometry program. Associate's degrees in optometry, available through optometry schools as well as community colleges, can prepare you for a career as an optometric technician or optician.

What Are The Requirements to Enter Optometry School?

If you're interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in vision sciences or an associate's degree as an optometry technician, you'll only need a high school diploma or equivalent. You may be expected to take a college entrance exam such as the SAT or ACT.

To apply to a Doctor of Optometry program, you'll have to complete undergraduate study that includes courses such as chemistry, biology, statistics and calculus. If you're applying to a Doctor of Optometry program, you will have to take the Optometry Admission Test, and you can apply to all accredited optometry schools in the United States through the Optometry Centralized Application System (OptomCAS). Enrollment in stand-alone graduate programs requires you to already hold an O.D. and be eligible for state licensure as an optometrist.

What Training Do I Get in Optometry School?

Your program will include coursework and clinical instruction on pediatric optometry, contact lenses and emergency care, among other facets of vision care. During the four years of an O.D. program, you'll participate in clinical rotations in an on-site optometry clinic and off-site externships at hospitals or clinics. Once you complete your Doctor of Optometry degree, expect to complete a residency of a year or more working with patients and receiving hands-on training. Technician programs also include clinical training and lab practicums.

These topics might be covered in your optometry training:

  • Eye care
  • Ocular disease
  • Pharmacology
  • Human bioscience
  • Gross anatomy
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Microbiology/immunology

What Schools Offer Optometry Training?

Depending on what type of degree you are looking to acquire, you'll have numerous options when looking for a training program that's right for you. Many advanced degrees in optometry are available through some of the nation's top schools. You may consider enrolling in your degree program at a four-year university. To get you started in your search, here is a brief list of schools which offer optometry training:

  • SUNY College of Optometry (New York, NY)
  • Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
  • Illinois College of Optometry (Chicago)
  • Ohio State University (Columbus)
  • Seton Hill University (Greensburg, PA)
  • Pacific University (Forest Grove, OR)

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools