Step 1 – Complete your Undergraduate Education
You need to complete your undergraduate degree program preferably focusing on science. You can even choose a pre-med for this purpose. Although few schools might consider post-secondary education that would include subjects such as physics, maths, zoology, chemistry, biology, and English.
Step 2 – Pass the Tests
Aspiring students who wish to take optometry course needs to pass the Optometry Admission Test. This examination includes subjects such as comprehension, physics, science, and quantitative reasoning. When your results are out, submit your application along with the OAT scores.
Step 3: Complete your Doctoral Degree
When your application gets accepted into a podiatry school, the course will include subjects such as visual science, optics, physiology, and anatomy. Additionally, you will also study about treatment and diagnosis of the eye, disorders, and diseases.
Step 4 – Pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry Exam
When you have completed your O.D. doctorate program, you also need to pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry to complete your course. Few states may require you to pass an exam on law or a clinical exam.
Step 5: Attain a License
You need to take up a licensure exam for practicing as an optometrist in your state or area. After completing the licensure exam, you will be an accredited optometrist in your state. However, you also need to check whether that particular state requires you to take up an additional clinical exam or not.
How hard is Optometry School?
An optometry school involves you taking up the same classes as in a traditional medical school. The subjects would include pharmacology, physiology, and anatomy.
Moreover, pre-requisites for both the schools are pretty much the same. An optometry school and a medical school require you to be strong in science background and maths.
However, an optometry school is different from a traditional medical school since an optometry school completely focuses on treatment disorders, diseases, and diagnosis of the eye. Whereas a traditional medical school emphasizes the entire human body.
But the optometrists need to study the entire human anatomy since the eye can get affected because of various body parts because of hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, brain tumors, and adverse effects of medicines.
Another key difference is that an optometry school deals with ocular disease, low vision, vision therapy, and contact lenses. Whilst, the study curriculum of a traditional medical school is broad, and it is difficult if you don’t study.
How long is Optometry School?
Finish the Pre-requisite Courses
Most of the optometry schools require applicants to complete a few tests such as Doctor of Optometry for entering the school. Along with the tests, you also need to complete the bachelor’s degree based on a science background. However, it is not mandatory to complete the Doctor of Optometry test to enter into an optometry school. The optometry school requires you to complete 90 creditable units of science courses.
Moreover, many optometry schools also require you to complete a bachelor’s degree in biology, physics, chemistry, English, calculus, and biochemistry. The main thing that the optometry school will see is whether you have completed the required 3 years of regular college studies or not.
Pass the Optometry Test
The main exam that you need to pass for getting entry into an optometry school is the Optometry Admission Test. As the requirements and the eligibility criteria of every school is different, hence you need to check every detail in their admission office or on their website.
Enter the Program
The course duration in an optometry school lasts for 4 years. The first and second of your school involves subjects such as ocular anatomy, optometry theory, pharmacology, and physiology. However, all these subjects are taught in conjunction with various lab procedures and classroom instructions.
If you wish to take up the residency program, it would take another year to strengthen your experience, skills, and knowledge in the field of optometry. It could well take around 7-9 years to complete your education and training in the optometry field.
Additionally, you also need another year of the residency program to provide you an edge in the industry.
How to apply to Optometry School?
Step 1: Application – The first step for getting an entry into an optometry school involves you applying to different schools. You will find that the application window opens every year in July. However, the deadline may run till December – January, but an early application is best because of the rolling and various verification processes.
Step 2: Pass the Entrance Exams – All optometry schools will require you to pass the mandatory Optometry Admission Test, and it is available throughout the year. The test comprises subjects such as physics, quantitative reasoning, natural sciences, and reading comprehension.
Step 3: Pick an Optometry School – You need to pick your optometry school based upon your interest, skills, and values, along with academically fit. You also need to consider other factors such as the location of the school, sizes of the class, admission requirements, clinical experiences, and curriculum structure. Moreover, align your personalized interests, research with the optometry school, and see whether it matches your requirements.
Step 4: Letter of Recommendation – You need to obtain letters of recommendation from various people from the science field. This might include a health service provider, science faculty, healthcare professional, or optometrist.
Step 5: Personal Statements – Along with the application you need to write a personal statement mentioning why do you want to join this profession. You may also mention questions such as how can you showcase your skills and knowledge to treat patients and many more.
Step 5: Transcripts – Prepare all your transcripts starting from your school to college along with letters of recommendation, and OAT scores. Ensure to follow all the specific guidelines for the submission process for your application.
When to Apply?
September – Discuss and plan for the pre-requisites of the OptomCAS exam of each school.
October – Write your Personal Statement, along with reviewing your resume by a career counselor.
November – Try to meet all the application process meetings to prepare for your application. This is also the right time to request letters of recommendation from science faculties and optometrists.
December – Practice for Mock Interviews.
January – Review your Personal Statement, and submit your interview stream for interviews. You should start studying for your OAT exam.
February – Background research about schools and different programs.
March – Complete your Personal Statement along with preparing for mock interviews.
April – Confirmation of LOR’s.
May and June – Sit for the OAT exam, and check your OptomCAS application.
July – OptomCAS primary application opens. Try to submit your complete application consisting of LOR’S, transcripts, primary application to OptomCAS.
August-Sept – Finalize secondary applications.
Fall – Complete your secondary applications. Also, inform all the semester professors to travel to optometry schools for interviews.
Spring – Interviews will continue to take place. Pick your optometry school depending upon OptomCAS rules.
July – Start school session.
How much does Optometry School Cost?
An optometry school that is run by the state will cost you around $10,700-$20,200 per year for resident students. For the entire program, you need to pay $42,000-$74,800.
Non-resident students need to pay $22,400-$43,400 per year with the overall cost coming around $89,600-$173,600.