Optometry is the primary health profession dedicated to caring for vision. Through academic and clinical training, optometrists acquire the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose, treat, and prevent problems of the visual system. Providing health education, managing curative or preventive regimes, and supplying vision care to special groups of patients are all part of an optometrist's work.
Specific admission requirements vary per optometry school. You should consult with schools of interest to determine their specific admission requirements.
Suggested academic preparation:
- Bachelor's degree- Many optometry programs require a bachelor's degree; some require the completion of at least 90 semester hours. All programs will require specific prerequisite undergraduate courses be completed prior to admission to optometry school.
- Competitive academic record- Because the academic programs tend to be very rigorous, most schools recommend the completion of a bachelor's degree before entering optometry school and strong GPAs.
- Major in anything
We recommend you meet with an advisor once a semester to ensure you are progressing with the correct academic coursework.
Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
Most schools require applicants to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), which is a computer-based exam administered throughout the year at Prometric test sites. Some schools consider the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) an acceptable substitute for the OAT
Centralized Application Service- OPTOMCAS
Applications are generally accepted beginning in August or September of the academic year preceding the anticipated date of enrollment. Deadlines for applications also vary, with some schools having an application deadline as early as December. For all specific application and admission deadlines, you should contact your school of interest and the OptomCAS website.
Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)
In general, professional programs leading to the Doctor of Optometry degree (O.D.) require four years of study beyond the undergraduate level. Curriculum at schools of optometry generally include instruction in all of the clinical and practical phases of optometry, as well as in the theoretical and fundamental aspects of visual science. Throughout the professional curriculum, the relationships between basic and clinical science, theory, and practice, are continually emphasized. Students often have the opportunity to spend a portion of their clinical time specializing in areas such as pediatrics, medical eye care, specialty contact lenses, low vision, and advanced primary care practice.
An M.D. (Medical Doctor) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree is required to become an ophthalmologist. After completion of the medical degree, graduates complete a residency in ophthalmology in preparation to provide comprehensive eye care services and perform medical and surgical eye procedures.
Explore This Career
- American Optometric Association
- Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
- Optometry Centralized Application Service
Pennsylvania Professional Schools