The need for well-trained doctors of optometry (OD) is increasing. Prospective optometrists must complete a four-year program and pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam in order to receive a license. An optional one-year residency program provides additional specialized training in an area such as glaucoma diagnosis and treatment.

Admission committees for four-year programs leading to the doctor of optometry degree consider the applicant’s academic record and performance on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). Equally important is a record of significant work (paid or volunteer) under the supervision of a professional optometrist. Other extracurricular activities and community service can highlight an applicant’s suitability for a profession that requires a high degree of competence in interpersonal interaction.

Physiology is a suitable major for pre-optometry students. Students in other majors may need to take additional science courses, particularly Calculus and Physics, which are required by virtually all optometry schools. Because coursework requirements vary from school to school, it is essential for students to become familiar with the specific prerequisites of the optometry schools to which they intend to apply.

Enrollment in optometry schools is limited, so admission is selective. Although some schools accept applicants after the third year of college, the most qualified applicants have already completed all pre-requisite courses and have a college degree.