High-in-demand and respectable career optometry demands a professional degree and also gives you knowledge of various things like primary vision care, which includes everything from an eye examination, and vision correction to the identification of eye diseases, treatment, and administration of ocular conditions like diabetes and hypertension. To have all of this knowledge you also need to get into a good optometry medical college first.
Optometrists usually have a smooth and blooming lifelong career with a stable income, clinical hours, and dealing with emergencies and all this comes from a good optometry degree. It is not easy to get into optometry degree as the field of medicine has become so saturated that its merit level has risen in competition to such an extent that aspiring doctors have to give all that they have to get into medical colleges.
To top it all off the merit level is accelerated each year so you must do better than last year’s candidates to get into a medical college. Optometry specifically is offered by selective medical colleges and despite being a hard-to-get-in field of study it is not impossible to tackle you just need the right motivation and guidance.
The Steps to Become an Optometrist
A professional doctorate has its demands and they need to be fulfilled step by step to become an optometrist you need to qualify for admission and after that, you need to complete a significant amount of coursework for your undergraduate years only then you will be able to graduate. After that to further polish the skills you learned you need to go through a one-year residency Following things are assembled for you as a list to help you know better about the things you need to become an optometrist.
- Do not miss your college classes
- Earn a high GPA score
- Do well on the optometry admission test
- Shadow at least a few current optometrists and take follow-up notes
- Get yourself into a good optometrist school that is at least recognized and accredited
- Pick all your course for the next four years and make sure to pass them with good grades
- Earn your degree from a school that is following innovation and is reputable
- Right after your degree consider doing a one-year clinical residency to put into practice all that you have learned
- Then you need to get done with the crucial step of the national board of examiners in optometry tests
- Research if your state or district requires another test and licensing to get done with that
- Keep your license updated with any further education or expertise that you go for
- Get your certificate of optometry from the American Board of Optometry
What Optometrists Do and Types of Optometrists
An optometrist treats and diagnoses ailments affecting the eye and vision. They could create a plan to take care of their patients and offer them remedies to help their vision. Optometrists conduct routine eye exams on patients to assess the condition of their eyes and spot any changes in their visual health. Other duties of this position frequently consist of the following:
- Combining technology, equipment, and observation to examine the eyes
- Prescribing drugs to treat disorders and diseases of the eyes
- Teaching people how to properly care for their glasses, contacts, and vision,
- Devising treatment plans
- Analyzing test results
- Also providing equipment, such as glasses or contacts, to increase vision
Some optometrists only cater to patients’ primary care needs and some have the responsibility to take care of hospital patients. While some optometrists treat patients from a wide range of ages, others only treat people in a specific age range. For instance, pediatric optometrists identify and handle children’s eye conditions.
How Hard It Is To Get Into Optometry Schools
Developing a profession as an optometrist or eye doctor is fantastic. However, it necessitates a very specialized education, much like many others. Because not all institutions offer Optometry Degree, some people are curious about how tough it is to get into an optometry program. and some people also finding an easy way to get in to, is there any way for the students?
Although challenging, applying to optometry school is not impossible.
Optometry School Acceptance Rate:
There is a 74% acceptance rate for optometry programs according to the survey by eyecare’s September 2019 newsletter, it was noted that 74% acceptance rate of optometry school applications in 2018.
However, a student must complete the necessary undergraduate courses, and pass the OAT (Optometry Admission Test) with scores between 200–400. The average score is 300, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to apply to the majority of optometry schools.
Despite having a 74% acceptance rate (Check out the list of acceptance rate), applying to optometry schools is considerably more difficult than simply filling out an application. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about enrolling in an optometry program.
To make things simpler for you following are some of the requirements which you must get done to get into optometry schools these things might help the hard task of getting into optometry schools easier for you:
Optometry School Requirements
● Mandatory Courses
All optometry schools demand a certain number of college-level prerequisite courses. Not all schools demand a bachelor’s degree, although some do. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a subject that fulfills the Optometry School prerequisites, such as biology or chemistry, is generally a good option. The required courses will vary based on the particular school you are applying to, but they will often cover the following topics in depth over a year:
- Zoology or Biology
- Basic Chemistry
- General Physics, English, and Math in college
There are about 23 estimated schools and colleges in the USA which offer optometry and each may differ in their requirements for students each year. That is why it is best to check all the requirements of the school to which you are aiming to apply.
Optometry School Entrance Exam
● Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
OAT usually has biology, chemistry, reading, physics, and more and it shows your efficiency to qualify for a good college. Without taking this test it is impossible to qualify for an optometry college so you must study well for this test. You must first apply to take the test and schedule a time to do so. You must take these exams in a Prometric testing facility.
This exam is available throughout the entire year. Plan properly because it will take 3–4 weeks before you can submit your test results to the schools or universities.
If you get a bad OAT score then what you should do? It is completely fine you just need to amplify your test preparation for next time and learn from your mistakes. You can take this exam as many times as per your improvement or until you do not get selected but in between each OAT you have to wait 90 days. For each wrong answer, you are not given negative marks so this also gives you an extra opportunity to mark the answer even if you are not sure because in this condition something might be good than nothing.
The lowest possible OAT score is 200, while the highest conceivable score is 400 according to Princeton Review Survey. The typical score for each school is from 300 to 320. The average OAT score for these schools is 348.
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The standard grade point average (GPA) requirement for optometry school is 3.0. However, the higher it is, the better, just like OAT test scores. According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of
Optometry, the average total cumulative GPA for all candidates was 3.38 for applications for the 2019–2020 academic year.
The average GPA at any institution might, however, differ significantly. The average GPA ranges from 3.1 in certain schools to 3.8 in others. When selecting which optometry school to apply to, average GPA and OAT results are important factors to take into account.
● Application Service
ASCO (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry) is the organization for optometry schools. The majority of optometry schools use OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application System) for their unified application procedure. Each year, applications are available in late June or early July, with deadlines varying from December to June.
Pros and Cons of the Field of Optometry
Every field has its perks and downfalls likewise optometry also has some ups and downs which go in your favor or against your favor. But to survive you must also learn to adapt yourself to make things work in your favor.
- Work-life harmony: Optometrists typically work 40 hours per week, which gives them time to pursue interests outside of work.
- Safe working conditions: Compared to other healthcare professions, optometrists might face lower safety risks.
- Positively affecting patients: Optometrists might observe the effects of their efforts and help their patients’ health.
- Various career opportunities: Optometrists can work in a range of environments. Hospitals, retail establishments, and private practices are possible employers for them.
- Possibilities for specializing: Pediatric optometry, low vision rehabilitation, family practice, geriatric optometry, or ocular illness are some of the fields of visual health care that an optometrist can specialize in.
- High job growth predictions: Optometrists can anticipate strong job growth in their industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of optometrists is expected to increase by 9 % through 2030, which is roughly as fast as the national average for all occupations.
- Competitive compensation: An optometrist vocation may come with a competitive salary. An optometrist’s annual pay in the United States is on average between $290,638-$125440 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 31st March 2022. Even though your payments may vary depending on your degree and experience, people who choose to become optometrists may find that the field offers highly competitive compensation options.
- Educational Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in a pertinent discipline is required to practice optometry. A lot of optometrists have biology or physiology backgrounds, and they frequently take chemistry, calculus, and anatomy classes. A student can pass an entrance test to enroll in a formal graduate optometry program after earning their bachelor’s degree.
- Repetitive daily routine: You certainly handle comparable duties every day as an optometrist. These experts frequently spend their time prescribing glasses or contact lenses and doing standard eye exams.
- Solitary labor: Optometrists frequently work alone rather than in teams throughout the day. They converse with patients, but they hardly ever collaborate on projects with their coworkers.
- Fewer chances for job promotion: Optometrists have few chances to progress in their profession. An optometrist may establish their own private office or clinic after attaining significant expertise.
- License prerequisites: The license criteria for optometrists who work in each state vary. Every state has a local optometry board that oversees licensing requirements, while the Nationwide Board of Examiners on Optometry oversees national licenses.
- Fewer chances for job promotion: Optometrists have few chances to progress in their profession. An optometrist may establish their own private office or clinic after attaining significant expertise. They might also transition into employment in teaching or research, depending on their areas of interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many optometry schools are there in the US?
According to the ASCO (association of schools and colleges of optometry), there are 24 schools and colleges of optometry in the US which are accredited and reliable to get a good degree that will lead to a well-equipped career for you.
What is the average GPA for optometry school?
Many optometry schools advise students to have a minimum GPA of 3.00; the average GPA for admitted applicants to optometry schools in 2022 was 3.55. Average OAT scores this year varied from 281 to 344. You could find it difficult to complete your optometry curriculum if your GPA is low.
How long is optometry school?
The average time to earn a doctor of optometry degree is 4 years. The first two years of a standard optometry program are devoted to basic science courses such as gross anatomy, neurology, histology, and biochemistry.
Is optometry school easier than med school?
No, to make it easier to understand imagine that optometry school is a condensed version of medical school and residency for seven-plus years, with the majority of the non-vision coursework, removed. While on the other hand optometry is four plus years with residency. It is simpler to become an optometrist and it takes you less time to become a medical specialist. The medical curriculum is far more rigorous academically and has much more demands than optometry.
Is it worth going to optometry school?
The field of optometry is rewarding and offers many prospects for career advancement. Additionally, the majority of optometrists enjoy a high level of job satisfaction and a high standard of living. You won’t be shortchanged financially either. In the next years, there will be a significant increase in demand for qualified optometrists. Working in the healthcare sector will provide you with the opportunity to assist people.
How many people apply to optometry school each year?
According to ASCO (association of schools and colleges of optometry), 12,513 people applied for admission to the schools and colleges of optometry in the United States, totaling 2,684 applicants. Each applicant received 4.66 applications on average.
Is optometry a competitive course?
The majority of applicants have a bachelor’s degree before applying since optometry schools are extremely competitive. The majority of OD programs are four years long. To receive further training in a particular field, some students elect to continue to a one-year residency program.
Difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?
The primary distinction between the two is that optometrist graduates from optometry school and primarily provides non-surgical eye care services, whereas an ophthalmologist comes from medical school and can carry out sophisticated operations for eye disorders.
Do optometrists take the MCAT?
OAT for admission to optometry school and other standardized tests
The OAT is accepted by all optometry schools and colleges. In addition to the OAT, many universities and institutions also accept the GRE, MCAT, DAT, or PCAT. Candidates are urged to get in touch with institutions and colleges to learn more about their exam criteria.
Do you need the MCAT to become an optometrist?
You will take the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) after earning your bachelor’s degree and meeting all the requirements, as opposed to the MCAT for medical school. A four-year curriculum at an accredited optometry school will then be required of you.