Optometry schools in the United States: Having visited an optometrist, I believe this is one of the best career options available to anyone interested in medical studies. Are you pursuing a career in medicine? Still undecided about your specialization? So, take a look at this article to see if optometry is right for you. Because the eye is the body’s window to the outside world, any profession that focuses on eye care should be approached with caution. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the world’s top optometry schools.
For good reason, graduate school in the health sciences is extremely difficult. Regardless of which discipline of medicine a future doctor specializes in, we only want the best of the best going into the world to work as doctors. There is no room for error when it comes to human health. Despite this, pass rates are rarely taken into account when evaluating medical schools. GPAs and exam scores matter, as does the quality of alumni, research endowments, and well-known alumni.
But, at the end of the day, most patients are concerned with the basics: did the person performing the treatment graduate from medical school? So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What Exactly Is an Optometrist?
Refractive errors (nearsightedness or farsightedness), astigmatism, cataracts, glaucoma, eye injuries from accidents or illness, age-related macular degeneration, and other degenerative eye diseases are all diagnosed and treated by optometrists. The Best Optometry Schools provide students with a challenging coursework program at a reasonable cost. Prospective students should consider not only all aspects of their future education but also how they will pay their tuition fees before making any decisions about which school is best for them.
If you’re considering enrolling in a costly program such as Optometry Schools, look into loan and financial aid options to put your hard-earned money toward something other than student debt!
What Exactly Does an Optometrist Do?
Optometrists assess people’s vision by looking at their eyes. They determine whether a person has 20/20 vision, the ability to see clearly without glasses, or if they have myopia or farsightedness. In some areas, in addition to glasses, contact lenses, and other visual aids, they can also prescribe drugs. Some optometrists may perform minor procedures. They also look for signs of deterioration caused by conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes and eye diseases such as glaucoma. Some optometrists treat individuals with specific vision impairments and children and the elderly.
What Do Optometrists Get Paid?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of an optometrist in May 2019 was $106,040, with the majority earning between $52,810 and $192,050 per year. The majority of optometrists worked in other healthcare providers’ offices, where they were paid an average of $114,260 per year. Middle-level junior optometrists can expect to earn at least $83,460 per year, while senior optometrists can earn up to $136,270 per year as they advance in their careers.
Optometrists in the United States with the most success and experience. They were paid $190,000 on average. In Europe, starting salaries for newly qualified optometrists range from £15,000 to £20,000, depending on the job and location. With experience, you could earn between £28,000 and £65,000 per year. The profits of the company’s directors, partners, and independent professionals are determined by the firm’s success.
What Are the Top Optometry Schools in The United States?
This list of optometry schools in the United States is a good place to start if you want to study optometry in the United States.
#1.Southern College of Optometry (Memphis, TN)
The great Southern College of Optometry Memphis and TN is first on our list of the best optometry schools in the United States. The Southern College of Optometry is still going strong, despite being founded in 1932. The school recently underwent a $ 9.4 million expansion, which included the addition of cutting-edge technology to its facilities. The Eye Center, which provides students with hands-on clinical training while caring for the school’s 60,000 patients, is also located on campus.
Unsurprisingly, nearly every one of the 136 students who enroll each year completes the program, giving SCO a 98.5 percent success rate. COS alumni include top optometrists, including fourteen American Optometric Association presidents. With a 9:1 student-to-teacher ratio and over 60 funded scholarships offered each year, it’s easy to see why SCO students stay in school. They are receiving the assistance and attention they require to become the best opticians in the country.
#2. Arizona College of Optometry at Midwestern University – Glendale (Glendale, AZ)
Not only do 98 percent of Arizona College of Optometry students pass their exams, but 92.7 percent pass part I of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam, and 100 percent pass part II of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam. The students in this exceptional group have an average GPA of 3.53 and an OAT score of 624. On the other hand, these students do not succeed on their own; they benefit from ACO’s illustrious faculty and cutting-edge research facilities.
The American Academy of Optometry’s faculty, which is supported by grants such as a recent $100,000 grant, includes authors of prestigious journals and fellow members of the American Academy of Optometry. Clinical rotations in community faculties, as well as pre-clinical simulations, are included in the curriculum to help students become the best health care practitioners they can be. Students who want to be a part of this unique program should put in a lot of effort in their undergrad science classes and in their extracurricular activities.
They should, however, get as much experience working with a practicing optometrist as possible, as this is something the admissions board looks for.
#3. The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (Birmingham, AL)
Last year, the National Institutes of Health awarded UAB more than $325 million in research funding, with the School of Optometry receiving the majority of it. It’s no surprise that UAB’s School of Optometry is regarded as one of the best in the field with such support. By providing hands-on clinical training at the world-class UAB Eye Care center, the School of Optometry provides future vision care experts with the information and expertise they’ll need to serve their community. Those excellent resources are fantastic news for people in the Birmingham area and beyond, as the school graduates 97.87 percent of students in the program.
These doctors not only provide excellent care to their patients, but they also continue their alma mater’s excellent research by obtaining their own NIH grants while still being students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.
#4. Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry (Davie, FL)
Another top optometry school in the United States. Two years of science and two years of clinical courses are required of students at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry. The institution provides exceptional support to students, ranging from funding mission trips around the world to providing modern technology to all participants, regardless of their field of study. Members of the American Academy of Optometry and eye test experts are among the school’s faculty.
The NSU College of Optometry has a remarkable 97.62 percent pass rate, which is especially noteworthy for our list. According to its mission statement, the school is committed to “preparing, educating, and training ophthalmologists to the highest levels of competence, integrity, and professionalism.” With classes of 94 students per year, Nova produces a notable group of optometrists in the Southeast.
#5. SUNY College of Optometry (New York, NY)
Only 23% of students who apply to SUNY’s optometry school are accepted, making it one of the most selective colleges on this list. The school has high standards for its freshmen, requiring a 3.5 GPA and an OAT score of 345 on average. However, almost everyone who enrolls in the program completes it on time, giving the school a 96.84 percent success rate. Annually, $ 4 million is given to students in the program for research projects.
In its 50-year history, SUNY College of Optometry has produced some outstanding optometrists, including the 2019 American Optometric Association (AOA) Optometrist of the Year and the 2019 Johnson & Johnson Vision Award of Excellence in Contact Lenses recipient Patient care.
#6. Ohio State University College of Optometry (Columbus, OH)
The Ohio State University College of Optometry must be included in any list of the best optometry schools in the United States. Because Ohio State University is one of the country’s largest state universities, it’s no surprise that its College of Optometry is well-regarded. The college’s faculty includes optical technology inventors, authors of the best medical journals in the country, and the most illustrious members of the most illustrious faculty organizations. Students and faculty benefit from major scholarships such as the Prentice Medal Award for Distinguished Scientists and the Low Vision Educational Grant.
Despite its research mission, the OSU College of Optometry prioritizes its students, with a 96.83 percent graduation rate. The program’s cutting-edge resources and friendly teachers are praised by current students, which is an incredible achievement for a school that only accepts 64 students per year. These figures indicate that the school is succeeding in its goal of producing excellent optometrists and conducting cutting-edge research.
#7. The University of Missouri at St. Louis College of Optometry (St. Louis, MO)
UMiss-SL College of Optometry has a 31 percent admissions rate and a 95.65 percent pass rate, indicating that it is doing something right. They seek out and support potential optometrists from all over the country, ensuring that the vast majority of their students complete the program. The school’s commitment to students is reflected in its core values of growth, responsibility, discovery, and community. Students and faculty have actively participated in programs such as low-cost optical kits, diversity and inclusion programs, and improving accessibility for the city’s low-income population to improve vision care for those who need it the most.
Strong letters of recommendation, hours of service, good test scores, and a GPA are required for admission to the UMiss-SL College of Optometry.
#8. Illinois College of Optometry (Chicago, IL)
While the majority of ICO’s 160 annual graduates work as optometrists, the school’s 92.54 percent graduation rate demonstrates its dedication to students. Undergraduate students can take hands-on courses at the Illinois Eye Institute. In addition to visual rehabilitation and ophthalmology, ICO offers residency programs in a variety of fields. These resources are housed on a charming campus in the heart of Chicago, which attracts a welcoming and stimulating student body. After all, ICO graduates include some of Chicago’s and the Midwest’s best ophthalmologists.
#9. UC Berkeley School of Optometry (Berkeley, CA)
The University of California, Berkley School of Optometry (UC Berkley School of Optometry) was established in 1923 as the country’s third optometry school. Over the years, the school’s teachers and alumni have included presidents of the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry. Nonetheless, the institution prioritizes students who complete their degrees, regardless of the number of awards received, as evidenced by the 92.54 percent success rate.
This number is even more astounding when you consider the high quality of education received by the students. Patients are introduced to optometry students during their first year, and they spend about 2,500 hours with them after graduation. Students can also use the award-winning Clinical Research Center and other resources to further their research goals.
#10. University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry (Pikeville, KY)
In the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, UPIKE is the only college for optometry. On the other hand, the school does not rely on its exclusivity. Since its founding in 2016, the UPIKE College of Optometry has been promoting community health by training future doctors in its state-of-the-art health professions training building, which is valued at over $ 60 million. Furthermore, the school actively supports prospective students by offering a scholarship to those who take the optometric entrance exam. The UPIKE School of Optometry has a 38 percent acceptance rate, which is quite high.
Despite this large number, the school has a remarkable 91.89 percent success rate, demonstrating its dedication to providing its students with the resources they require. As these figures demonstrate, the UPIKE College of Optometry is committed to educating the next generation of vision specialists.
11. Southern California College of Optometry, Marshall B Ketchum University Fullerton, CA
Marshall B. Ketchum University is a private university in Fullerton, California, that focuses on graduate programs in medical care. Southern California College of Optometry, which was founded in 1904, became MBKU. One of the oldest optometry schools in the United States is the Southern California College of Optometry. The Southern California College of Optometry is a four-year graduate program that leads to the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, which is accredited by the American Optometric Association’s Accreditation Council in Optometric Education (ACOE).
Marshall B Ketchum University offers a one-year optometry program. It’s a small private university in a big city. In 2015, 96 students completed their studies in the field of optometry, earning 96 doctorates.
12. Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA
Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) is a private nonprofit graduate school for health professions in the United States, with the main campus in downtown Pomona, California, and a separate school of Medicine campus on 50 acres in Lebanon, Oregon. The College of Optometry will build like a rock on its solid foundation, establishing a distinct identity, defining a central focus for its educational, clinical, and research programs, and establishing a prestigious reputation.
The School of Optometry’s vision encompasses four main perspectives and serves four distinct stakeholders: the general public, the profession, students, and faculty. Optometry is a one-year program at the Western University of Health Sciences. It’s a small private university in a big city. In 2015, 73 students received doctorates in the field of optometry, with 73 students graduating.
13. Salus University
Salus University is a great place for optometry students, with a ranking of #2 on this year’s list. Salus University is a small private non-profit university in the Elkins Park suburb. While pursuing their degrees, optometry majors at Salus University borrow an average of $182,001 in student loans. The average monthly loan payment is $2,121 if a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan.
14. The New England College of Optometry
New England College of Optometry was named the best school in the United States for optometry students in our 2023 rankings. New England College of Optometry is a private, non-profit college with a small student body that is located in Boston, Massachusetts. If you attend the New England College of Optometry, you’ll be among some of the best and brightest minds in the world. On average, New England College of Optometry optometry graduates takes out $57,167 in student loans while pursuing their degree. The average monthly loan payment is $666 if a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan.
15. Indiana University
Indiana University – Bloomington earned the #5 spot on this year’s list of the best optometry schools in the United States thanks to its outstanding programs. IU Bloomington is a public school in Bloomington, Indiana, with a large student population.
16. The University of Houston
The University of Houston was ranked #7 in this year’s Best Optometry Schools list. The University of Houston is a large public university in Houston, Texas.
17. Pacific University
Pacific University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for optometry students. It was ranked #9 on the top ten list. Pacific is a private, non-profit college with a small student population that is located in the large suburb of Forest Grove.
18. Ferris State University
Ferris State University was ranked #10 in the Best Optometry Schools ranking this year. Ferris is a large public school in Big Rapids, which is a long way away. After graduation, Ferris optometry graduates graduate with an average student debt of $112,930. The average monthly student loan payment for students who choose a 10-year repayment plan is $1,316.
To summarize, studying to become an optometrist is a challenge that you can take on if you attend the right school and have access to the right study team to assist you with your studies. Nonetheless, if you found this article useful, please share it with your colleagues and, if you have a question, leave a comment; our team would love to hear from you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is optometry school just as difficult as medical school?
Depending on the subject, medical schools can last up to eight years, but optometry is a four-year program. Both programs have a similar curriculum that includes biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and pharmacology. Clinical rotations, which take place during medical school but are not included in an optometrist training program, are the difference. They have laboratories where students learn skills in microscopy and other equipment used by doctors diagnosing eye conditions such as corneal disease or glaucoma that require intervention and formal degree programs.
How long do optometry schools take to complete?
To become an optometrist, you must complete seven to nine years of education, including three to four years of college and four years of optometry school. A one-year clinical residency for specialization is available as an option. The time it takes for optometrists to finish their education varies depending on a number of factors, but it usually takes between seven and nine years. Imagine graduating knowing that your skills could help patients save their sight.
What is the competitive nature of optometry schools?
According to Wikipedia, optometry colleges are extremely competitive, and most applicants have a bachelor’s degree before applying. The vast majority of OD programs are four years in length. Some students opt for a one-year residency program to gain additional experience in a particular field. Because most optometry schools have a 3.40 or higher average grade point average, some students enter with 4.0s and others with 3.0s.
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