Optometry is a health and medicine profession that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of vision problems and eye diseases. Becoming an optometrist (OD) requires a combination of education, clinical experience, and certification. This guide will provide an overview of the steps you need to take to become an optometrist in the United States.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s DegreeThe first step to becoming an optometrist is to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
While there is no specific major required for admission to optometry school, most optometry programs prefer applicants who have completed coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and psychology.
Step 2: Take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT)The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized exam that measures your knowledge of the sciences and your ability to apply that knowledge in a clinical setting. The OAT is administered by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and is required for admission to most optometry programs in the United States.
Step 3: Complete an Optometry ProgramOnce you have passed the OAT, you can apply to optometry programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE).
Most optometry programs take four years to complete and include coursework in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, optics, and vision science. In addition to classroom instruction, optometry students must also complete clinical rotations in order to gain hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating eye diseases.
Step 4: Obtain LicensureOnce you have completed your optometry program, you must obtain licensure in order to practice as an optometrist. Licensure requirements vary by state but typically include passing the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam and completing continuing education courses.
Step 5: Find a JobOnce you have obtained your license, you can begin searching for job opportunities as an optometrist. Most optometrists work in private practice or in hospitals or clinics. You can also find job openings through professional organizations such as the American Optometric Association (AOA).
ConclusionBecoming an optometrist requires a combination of education, clinical experience, and certification.
To become an optometrist in the United States, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), complete an optometry program accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), obtain licensure in your state, and find a job as an optometrist. With dedication and hard work, you can become a successful optometrist and make a difference in people’s lives.