Optometry Schools

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Overview of Optometry Degree

A degree in optometry prepares individuals for a career in eye care.  A program in optometry will educate individuals in multiple sciences, and teach them to use those sciences to identify problems within the eye and assist in their remedy. Individuals must obtain a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) in order to function as an optometrist. Entry into an O.D. program requires a decent score on the Optometry Admissions Examination (O.A.T.) and at least three years of post-secondary education. Most students will complete a bachelor's degree prior to applying to an optometry school. Obtaining a doctor of optometry typically requires four years of study.

Degrees in Optometry

Students seeking to enter the field of optometry will need to obtain a graduate degree.  Graduate degrees in optometry include a number of programs with differing objectives and outcomes.  The degree programs below provide prospective students with an overview of the degree options.  Investing the time today to learn more about each program will help put you on the right path and set you up for success.  Degree tracks optometry include the following options:

Four-Year OD Degree

The 4-year degree program in optometry is conferred as a Doctor of Optometry known as a OD.  An OD degree is designed for qualifying students in an effort to streamline the degree process.  Students will gain strong foundational knowledge in visual science along with clinical and biomedical sciences. OD programs are broken down into segments with the first three years spend in class, labs, seminars, and clinics.  Classes include a variation of: anatomy and physiology, ocular anatomy, cellular biology, clinical reasoning, color vision, ocular disease principles, neuroanatomy, optics, visual sensation, vision health care, vision perception, and advanced optometry.  The final year of the 4-year OD program is spent in clinical rotations.  Most schools require students to alternate between primary care, advanced care, and specialty care clinics.  Variety and exposure to each clinic type will help prepare students for variations in the workplace.

Accelerated Optometric Degree

An accelerated optometric degree track is a 2-year program created for working professionals or students that already hold a MD or PhD in medicine or science.  Coursework is intense and science-rich that prepares professionals for a career in optometry.  Accelerated degrees in optometry are almost exclusively full-time programs with the demanding coursework and schedule of the program.  At the conclusion of the coursework and clinical rotations, students will be prepared to enter the field of optometry in a clinical, educational, or research capacity.

Master’s in Vision Science

A Master of Vision Science degree is conferred as a MS degree.  Master of Vision Science is an alternative to the 4-year OD program.  MS degrees are typically completed in 2-years for qualified students.  Generally the master in vision science will blend graduate-level courses with lectures, seminars, research projects, and a thesis.  Fusing problem-solving skills with analytical thinking is a requirement of students to be successful.  Core classes in the MS program will generally include: optics, advanced visual sensation, cell biology, visual perception, histology, ocular anatomy, research and biostatistics, advanced imaging, eye growth, myopia, development of vision, visual neurophysiology, and emmetropization.

MS/OD Dual Degree

Dual degrees are available at select colleges and universities.  Master of Vision Science and Doctor of Optometry is a dual degree for students who want to enter the master’s program and study to earn an OD.  Typically the MS/OD dual degree program can be completed in 4-years with modifications to the four-year program.  Core curriculum overlaps between the MS and OD programs including labs, seminars, research, and thesis projects.   Classes will include very similar classes to the OD and MS tracks such as biostatistics, cell biology, optics, advanced imaging, and similar courses.

PhD/OD Dual Degree

The PhD and OD dual degree program is a unique program in the field of optometry.  Conceptually, the degree blends the requirements of a OD degree with requisite curriculum of a post-master’s degree in optometry.  In the first three years of the PhD/OD dual degree program, students will follow the OD degree track.  The fourth and final year of the degree will focus on post-master’s PhD classes.  Areas of emphasis in the PhD program can include: pathology, pharmacology, physiology, anatomy, behavioral neuroscience, biochemistry, biophysics, biomedical neuroscience, genetics, microbiology, immunology, molecular medicine, or translational medicine.

Employment Opportunities in Optometry

A career in optometry requires individuals to gauge the strength of their patients' vision, provide care, and check for ocular diseases that may occur. For some, a career can result in specialization, providing eye care for a particular group, such as patients with low vision, post-operative care, or children. Optometrists may also pursue careers in research and development. Most optometrists own their own practice, while others may find employment with large businesses or in treatment centers.

All states require optometrists to be licensed, which involves passing marks on the National Boards in Optometry and a doctor of optometry degree. Some states may issue an additional examination, and many states will require continuing education courses in order to maintain their license.

Job Outlook and Career Opportunities

Job growth in optometry is expected to increase very rapidly compared to other jobs, but will have only a small number of new jobs due to the low number of optometrists in general. The demand for optometrists is expected to increase due to an aging population of baby boomers. The average salary for optometrists is approximately $95,000 per year.

Individuals interested in optometry may also wish to consider ophthalmology technician or dispensing optician.

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Related Areas of Study

Career Summary: Optometry Major

MEDIAN SALARY
$117,580.00

PERCENT ABOVE NATIONAL INCOME AVERAGE
68.48%

TOTAL SECTOR EMPLOYMENT
36,430



Colleges That Offer Optometry

Listed below are the most popular schools in the U.S. that may have optometry programs. Schools can be filtered by clicking the drop-down menu below and selecting online or a state. Popular schools are defined as the most number of graduates as reported by the latest published IPEDS survey.*

Filter Schools by State:

C = Certificate or Award | A = Associate Degree | B = Bachelor's Degree | M = Master's Degree | D = Doctorate Degree (PhD,MD,...)

Illinois College of Optometry

Chicago, IL |

History The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), located in Chicago, Illinois, was founded by Dr. Henry Olin in 1872. The school is the oldest continually operating optometry facility in the world. ICO has remained a leader of optometry for over 135 years and has been dedicated to providing a quality education to aspiring optometry students. Academics ICO provides a ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: Less Than 1,000
  • Telephone: (312) 949-7400

Programs

  • Optometry (D)

Salus University

Elkins Park, PA |

Salus University, located in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, was established in 2008 as the graduate studies arm of the Pennsylvania School of Optometry. The Pennsylvania School of Optometry is one of the oldest of its kinds having been founded in 1929. Salus University confers degrees in a small number of health related fields, including: Audiology Doctor of Optometry Orientation and Mobile Therapy Physician Assistant Vision ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: 1,000 to 4,999
  • Telephone: (215) 780-1400

Programs

  • Optometry (D)
  • Ophthalmic, Optometric Support Services and Allied Professions (D)

Southern College of Optometry

Memphis, TN |

Southern College of Optometry, a nonprofit private graduate level school, is located in Memphis, Tennessee. Enrollment at this school is nearly 490 students annually. Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, Southern College of Optometry awards graduate level degrees as a healthcare school. The optometry school program has an annual tuition which is estimated to ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: Less Than 1,000
  • Telephone: (901) 722-3200

Programs

  • Optometry (D)

New England College of Optometry

Boston, MA |

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, New England College of Optometry is a nonprofit private graduate institution. The enrollment at this school is approximately 470 students annually. Fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, this school offers graduate level degrees as a health sciences school. The optometry school program has an annual tuition ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: Less Than 1,000
  • Telephone: (617) 266-2030

Programs

  • Optometry (D)
  • Ophthalmic, Optometric Support Services and Allied Professions (D)

Southern California College of Optometry

Fullerton, CA |

Located in Fullerton, California, Southern California College of Optometry is a nonprofit private graduate level institution. The annual enrollment for the school is nearly 400 students. Southern California College of Optometry is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities to provide programs as a healthcare school. The optometry school program at Southern ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: Less Than 1,000
  • Telephone: (714) 870-7226

Programs

  • Optometry (D)

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a private research university that includes graduate and professional schools on its campus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. NSU offers over 40 undergraduate degree programs, and many more graduate degree programs at the master's and doctoral levels. NSU is known for its excellent faculty who are still actively engaged in their professional careers in the ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $27,660
  • Type: 4-Year Private College
  • Students Enrolled: More Than 20,000
  • Telephone: (954) 262-7300

Programs

  • Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling (D)
  • Marriage and Family Therapy (D)
  • Mental Health Counseling (D)
  • Optometry (D)

University of Houston

Houston, TX |

The University of Houston is a leading public research university located in Houston, Texas - the nation's fourth largest city. It has nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate academic programs that include both online and on campus courses. The university is situated on a 667-acre campus in the center of the downtown area of Houston.  The campus is very green, ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $8,759
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: More Than 20,000
  • Telephone: (713) 743-1000

Programs

  • Optometry (D)

Pacific University

Forest Grove, OR |

Pacific University, a nonprofit private institution, offers a variety of educational opportunities, allowing students to choose which major is right for them. Located in Forest Grove, OR, it offers a suburban setting for students to study in. Approximately 3,400 students are enrolled annually at Pacific. A list of some of the more popular programs offered are: Health And Clinical Professions Education Biological And Biomedical ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $39,858
  • Type: 4-Year Private College
  • Students Enrolled: 1,000 to 4,999
  • Telephone: (877) 722-8648

Programs

  • Optometry (D)
  • Ophthalmic, Optometric Support Services and Allied Professions (D)

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, CA |

The University of California, Berkeley has a reputation of excellence, boasting many renowned graduates and faculty members.  In fact, 20 UC Berkeley faculty members have received Nobel awards.  According to a National Research Council analysis, UC Berkeley has at least 48 highly ranked graduate programs, making it one of the top 10 universities in the nation. The UC Berkeley ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $13,431
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: More Than 20,000
  • Telephone: (510) 642-6000

Programs

  • Optometry (M,D)

Indiana University - Bloomington

Bloomington, IN |

Founded in 1820, Indiana University in Bloomington has since become the flagship campus of the Indiana University System and the main campus of Indiana University. IU Bloomington is a major research university that is distinguished among the best universities in the world, offering over 300 undergraduate programs and nearly 200 professional degrees. Among its institutions are the Kelley School ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $10,388
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: More Than 20,000
  • Telephone: (812) 855-4848

Programs

  • Optometry (D)
  • Optometric Technician (D)

Western University of Health Sciences

Pomona, CA |

Located in Pomona, California, Western University of Health Sciences is a nonprofit private graduate level school. The enrollment at this school is about 2,900 students per year. Western University of Health Sciences is a greatly respected health sciences school and is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. Western University of ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: 1,000 to 4,999
  • Telephone: (909) 623-6116

Programs

  • Health Preparatory Programs (D)
  • Optometry (D)
  • Osteopathic Medicine (D)

SUNY College of Optometry

New York, NY |

Located in New York, New York, SUNY College of Optometry is a public graduate institution. The annual enrollment for the school is nearly 300 students. SUNY College of Optometry is a highly respected health sciences school and is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The optometry school program at SUNY College of Optometry has an annual tuition ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: Less Than 1,000
  • Telephone: (212) 938-4000

Programs

  • Optometry (D)
  • Ophthalmic, Optometric Support Services and Allied Professions (D)

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH |

Ohio State University is the largest single campus university in the US. It is located in Columbus, Ohio and is a public research university. History Ohio State University was established as a land-grant university in 1870. At that time it was eligible for a grant in accordance with the 1862 Morrill Act and was named Ohio Agriculture and Mechanical ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $10,037
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: More Than 20,000
  • Telephone: (292) 646-8600

Programs

  • Clinical Laboratory Science (D)
  • Medicine (D)
  • Optometry (D)

University of the Incarnate Word

San Antonio, TX |

University of the Incarnate Word is a nonprofit private institution located in San Antonio, Texas and provides a large number of degree programs for students. The school maintains a Roman Catholic affiliation, which is evident in the role it plays in program curriculums and daily life at the school. Approximately 7,200 students are enrolled per year at UIW. A list of ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $27,798
  • Type: 4-Year Private College
  • Students Enrolled: 5,000 to 9,999
  • Telephone: (210) 829-6000

Programs

  • Optometry (D)

Midwestern University - Glendale

Glendale, AZ |

Located in Glendale, Arizona, Midwestern University - Glendale is a nonprofit private graduate institution. The enrollment at this school is nearly 2,500 students annually. Midwestern University - Glendale is a highly respected healthcare and medical school and is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. A number specialty schools of study are operated ...

School Details

  • Type: Graduate School
  • Students Enrolled: 1,000 to 4,999
  • Telephone: (623) 572-3200

Programs

  • Optometry (D)
  • Osteopathic Medicine (D)

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, AL |

University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public college that has a large selection of majors and degree programs available for students to choose from. The school is located in Birmingham, Alabama, in a predominantly urban area. Enrollment at UAB is nearly 18,000 per year. Areas of study available at UAB include: Health And Clinical Professions Biological And Biomedical Sciences Business And Marketing Studies Psychology Communications ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $7,766
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: 10,000 to 19,999
  • Telephone: (205) 934-4011

Programs

  • Clinical Laboratory Science (D)
  • Medicine (D)
  • Genetic Counseling (D)
  • Optometry (D)

University of Missouri - St Louis

Saint Louis, MO |

University of Missouri - St Louis provides a variety of educational opportunities for students to guide them in their growth and development. The school is located in Saint Louis, Missouri and publically funded. UMSL has an annual student enrollment of over seventeen thousand. A list of some of the more popular programs offered are: Business And Marketing Studies Health And Clinical Professions Education Psychology Social ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $9,394
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: 10,000 to 19,999
  • Telephone: (314) 516-5000

Programs

  • Optometry (D)

Ferris State University

Big Rapids, MI |

FSU, a public institution, offers a variety of educational opportunities, allowing students to choose which major is right for them. Located in Big Rapids, Michigan, the school offers a rural setting for students to study in. Approximately fourteen thousand students are enrolled annually at FSU. Students may choose from many areas of study, including but not limited to: Security And Protective Services Business ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $10,970
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: 10,000 to 19,999
  • Telephone: (231) 591-2000

Programs

  • Clinical Laboratory Technician (D)
  • Clinical Laboratory Science (D)
  • Pre-Pharmacy Studies (D)
  • Health Preparatory Programs (D)

Northeastern State University

Tahlequah, OK |

Northeastern State University is a public institution located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and provides a large number of degree programs for students. Over nine thousand students enroll at NSU per year. Here is a list of some of the popular programs Northeastern State University offers: Education Psychology Security And Protective Services Biological And Biomedical Sciences Students applying for admission are asked to submit an application, school ...

School Details

  • Tuition (In-State): $5,547
  • Type: 4-Year Public College
  • Students Enrolled: 5,000 to 9,999
  • Telephone: (918) 456-5511

Programs

  • Clinical Laboratory Science (D)
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling (D)
  • Optometry (D)

Notes: The tuition information displayed is an estimate, which we calculated based on historical data and should be solely used for informational purposes only. Please contact the respective school for information about the current school year.

Source: IPEDS Survey 2012-2015: Data obtained from the US Dept. of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Data may vary depending on school and academic year.