Pre-Optometry Preparation

Optometrists examine, diagnose and treat the eyes for visual problems and manage eye disease, disorder, and injury. They test vision, prescribe eyeglasses and contacts, perform minor surgical procedures, promote eye health, and perform treatments including vision therapy. 

Some optometrists specialize in a certain area of eye health or vision. Most work full time in practices they own. They may also work as postsecondary teachers, do research in optometry, or work as consultants for eye-care industries.

How to Apply

Optometrists must obtain a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and be licensed in order to practice. Optometry schools are highly competitive; most applicants earn a bachelor’s degree before applying. Most OD schools take four years to complete. Some students choose to go on to a one-year residency program to get advanced training in a specialized area.

Course Requirements

Although you can select any undergraduate major, most optometry schools require that you take specific pre-requisite courses to be eligible to apply. The recommended courses are different depending on the school. Research the specific admissions requirements for the schools you want to apply to.

Students can use this resource to check on admissions requirements for specific optometry schools. But also need to check directly with each school: OptomCAS School & College Prerequisites.

Entrance Exam

Optometry schools require the OAT (Optometry Admission Test. OAT is offered year 'round. Register for the OAT. Student scores range from 200 to 400; aim for a score above 300 to be competitive.

Additional Requirements

Optometry schools highly consider your cumulative GPA as well as your prerequisite science GPA, so it's important for you to maintain a competitive GPA. Most programs require a minimum 3.0 GPA but the average accepted cumulative and science GPA for accepted students is a 3.5.

Apart from your pre-requisites and OAT Score, most optometry schools require letters of recommendation, a written personal statement or essay, and if selected, an in-person interview.

Most optometry schools want applicants to have clinical shadowing and/or volunteer experience. Clinical experience is a big factor that weighs heavily in admissions decisions. Explore more information on the applicant/student profile and pre-requisites for optometry students.

Application Service

The professional association for optometry schools is ASCO (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry). Most optometry schools go through a centralized application process: OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application System). Applications open in late June/early July of each year, with deadlines ranging from December through June.