Get Your Glasses On!
What IS an Optometrist?
O An optometrist has an O.D.
(Oculus Doctor).
O O.D.’s can:
O Examine/diagnose patients
O Prescribe meds, eye glasses
or contacts, vision therapy
O perform certain eye surgeries
(depending on state
How do you get there?
O The requirements are similar to those for
medical school.
O 3-4 years (usually) of undergraduate education
with a strong science background
O An undergraduate degree is required, so this
really depends on how long it takes to get your
O 4 years of graduate education at a school of
O Pass board exams (administered by the National
Board of Examiners in Optometry)
O Specialization! Further education in particular
areas (e.g. ocular pathology)
How do you get there? part 2
O There are 19 schools of Optometry
(currently) in the U.S.
O Admission to these schools is competitive
with about 1 out of 3 applicants being
O Applicants take the OAT (Optometry
Admissions Test), a standardized test
covering natural sciences, reading
comprehension, physics, and qualitative
Cost and Salary
O Optometry schools can cost $9,312 to
$22,470 for residents and up to $51,420
for non-residents
O Some schools have programs allowing non-
residents to pay the resident tuition.
O There are many loan options and grants to
help students pay for their education.
O 2009 average net income for primary care
optometrists was $130,856
The Job
O Most optometrists work in private practices (and
therefore need to be business savvy).
O Many patients come in to be fitted for
glasses/contacts, but other problems (think
glaucoma and cataracts) are treated as well.
O Optometrists may also do research (some go on
to get Ph.D.’s for this).
O Candidates for optometry schools should
have volunteering and shadowing
O “The purpose in shadowing an optometrist is
to ensure that optometry is the profession for
you.” – Berkeley School of Optometry
O Other extra-curricular activities are
considered on applications.
O Optometry school students receive ethics
education alongside their other classes.
O Bureau of Labor Statistics:
O http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos073.htm
O Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry:
O http://www.opted.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3347
O Berkeley Optometry (be sure to check out the
“etiquette” section under admissions for great advice):
O http://optometry.berkeley.edu/index.html
O USA News Best Careers of 2009:
O http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2008
O What do you think would be most interesting
about this type of work?
O What would be the most difficult part of this
job for you? Why?
O How would you go about preparing yourself
for this profession?
O What’s your favorite part of the eye?

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