Optometry School

Before becoming an optometrist, candidates must obtain a doctor of optometry (OD) degree by completing a 4-year program from a college or university accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), and pass the National Board Examinations in Optometry exams. Currently there are 19 accredited optometry schools in the United States, 1 in Puerto Rico, and 2 in Canada. Optometry schools are very competitive to get into and only enroll a select number of applications into their program each year. Optometry school takes 4 years to complete with at least 3 years of undergraduate education, so 7 years is the minimum amount of time it takes to finish.

Cost of Optometry School

The cost of doctor of optometry programs will vary from school to school because of various differences in cost per credit, clinicals, and other fees. The estimated cost of tuition for the Indiana University School of Optometry for the 2007-2008 admission was around $63,618.55 for residents, while the estimated cost of tuition for residents at the Southern California College of Optometry was $111,600. Optometry schools also charge fees for other services such as labs and clinicals, equipment and supplies, health insurance and others. This means that optometry schools are going to be quite costly once everything is added up, including tuition, fees, supplies, books, and living expenses.

Optometry School Requirements

Optometry schools all have varying requirements for acceptance into their optometry programs, so potential students should check each one’s particular guidelines, including deadlines for applications and other material. There are some basic requirements that all colleges and universities of optometry share, including undergraduate education, taking the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), letters of recommendation, personal essay, knowledge of the profession, and going through an interview process.

Many of the schools require an undergraduate degree with emphasis on the sciences or at least meet the pre-optometry curriculum for their programs. Others allow for three years or certain hours, generally 90 credits, of undergraduate classes that adhere to the pre-optometry curriculum. This does not require a degree in the sciences, but enough classes to meet the requirements which includes courses in biology, physics, chemistry, anatomy, psychology, and some others. A high GPA is a big factor in making it to the next level of admissions, along with extra-curricular activities that demonstrate leadership skills, community involvement, and other useful actions.

The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) like the MCAT or DAT, is a standardized examination for testing applicants in their knowledge, academic ability, and aptitude in problem solving. The test allows students 275 minutes to answer questions on Survey of the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning. The OAT is a major factor for all optometry schools in determining if candidates make it to the next level of admissions. Candidates should also show some knowledge of the field and have letters of recommendation. One school of optometry recommends visiting a local optometrist, asking to follow them for a day through their routine to learn what they do. This is just one way to learn more about the field and possibly get a recommendation letter from a professional.

Applying to optometry schools has been made easier due to the creation of OptomCAS – Optometry’s Centralized Application Service, which all US optometry schools and the one in Puerto Rico are participating in. OptomCAS has made the application process uniform to a point by allowing potential students to submit their information including college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and honors through a web-based application that will send an application to multiple optometry schools. By doing this, it cuts out the need for multiple applications, transcripts, and letters. Each optometry school still has its own requirements which all applicants must follow.

After Optometry School

After completing an optometry training program, an optometrist may become licensed and start off their career or may apply for a residency that offers additional training in 1 of 10 different specialties. For more information on these subjects view the optometry license and optometry residency pages.

Accredited Schools and
Colleges of Optometry

Illinois College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
3241 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60616
Phone: (312) 949-7400
Toll Free: (800) 397-2424

Indiana University
School of Optometry
Office of Student Administration
800 East Atwater Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-3680
Phone: (812) 855-1917

Inter American University of Puerto Rico
School of Optometry
118 Eleanor Roosevelt
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00919
Phone: (787) 765-1915 Ext. 2511

Michigan College of Optometry At Ferris State University
1310 Cramer Circle
Big Rapids, Michigan 49307-2738
Phone: (231) 591-3703
Toll Free: (800) 433-7747 Ext. 3703

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry
19555 N. 59th Avenue
Glendale, Arizona 85308
Phone: (623) 572-3215
Toll Free: (888) 247-9277

New England College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
424 Beacon Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Phone: (617) 236-6204
Toll Free: (800) 824-5526

Northeastern State University
College of Optometry
1001 North Grand Avenue
Tahlequah, Oklahoma 74464
Phone: (918) 456-5511 Ext. 4036

Nova Southeastern University
College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
3200 S. University Drive
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33328
Phone: (954) 262-1125
Toll Free: (800) 356-0026 Ext. 1125

The Ohio State University
College of Optometry
Office of Student Affairs
338 West Tenth Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone: (614) 292-2647
Toll-Free: (866) 678-6446  

Pacific University
College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
2043 College Way
Forest Grove, Oregon 97116
Phone: (503) 352-2900
Toll Free: (800) 933-9308  

Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
8360 Old York Road
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027
Phone: (215) 780-1301
Toll Free: (800) 824-6262

Southern California College of Optometry
Admissions office
2575 Yorba Linda Boulevard
Fullerton, California 92831
Phone: (714) 449-7445
Toll Free: (800) 829-9949

Southern College of Optometry
1245 Madison Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38104
Phone: (901) 722-3224
Toll Free: (800) 238-0180

State University of New York
State College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
33 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036-8003
Toll Free: (800) 291-3937 

University of Alabama At Birmingham
School of Optometry/The Medical Center
1716 University Boulevard
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0010
Phone: (205) 934-6150 

University of California - Berkeley
School of Optometry
Office of Admissions
397 Minor Hall
Berkeley, California 94720-2020
Phone: (510) 642-9537

University of Missouri St. Louis
College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
One University Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63121
Phone: (314) 516-6263
Toll Free: (888) Eye-Umsl

University of Houston
College of Optometry
Director of Student Affairs & Admissions
505 J. Davis Armistead Building
Houston, Texas 77204-2020
Phone: (713) 743-1847
Toll Free: (800) 282-8426

University of The Incarnate Word
School of Optometry
Director of Admission & Student Services
4301 Broadway
San Antonio, Texas 78203-6397
Phone: (210) 829-6005

Western University of Health Sciences
College of Optometry
309 E. Second St.
Pomona, California 91766-1854

University of Waterloo
School of Optometry
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1 Canada
Phone: 519-888-4567
Fax: 519-725-0784
Email: admissions@optometry.uwaterloo.ca


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