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 will need to complete a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree program at one of 21 optometry schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. 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.

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 the Optometry Centralized Application System (OptomCAS). Enrollment in standalone graduate programs requires you to already hold an O.D. and be eligible for state licensure as an optometrist.

What Courses Will I Take?

You'll take both didactic and lab courses that include eye care, ocular disease and pharmacology. Students pursuing a master's or doctorate degree in optometry can look forward to a career in research or teaching. A master's degree program will consist of a thesis, while the Ph.D. will entail a dissertation. Conversely, in a Doctor of Optometry program, you will spend more time in clinical rotation.

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.

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:

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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.

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