Optometrists are doctors who diagnose vision problems. They can also prescribe corrective lenses and eye medications. They aren’t ophthalmologists, who also perform eye surgeries. And they aren’t opticians, who design, fit, and dispense lenses. If you want to go into optometry, you would want to get a Bachelor of Science degree and then get into an optometry degree program. You would then have to pass licensing exams
Going into optometry takes a lot of education. You would get a bachelor’s degree in science or pre-med in order to apply to an optometry program. You would also want to have coursework in chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics to give you a good background. As you prepare for optometry school, ask your advisor what courses you should take and look at the requirements for optometry programs in your area where you might apply.
In order to see if you want to become an optometrist, it might be a good idea to shadow one and get some hands on experience. You will get a real life idea of what the job and career is like on a daily basis. This will help you see if it will fit into your lifestyle. You may be able to assist with patients, or at least watch while they are being treated. You can also assist around the office. You might be able to get a job in this area or volunteer on your own time for hands on experience.
Doctor of Optometry Program
Once you move on from undergraduate school, you will want to complete a doctor of optometry program with core classes and hands on experience through clinicals. The programs take four years to finish and you have to do so at an accredited optometry school. You will get a lot of courses in biological sciences that focus just on the eye.
You will have to pass certification tests such as the OAT, the Optometry Admissions Test to get into accredited optometry programs. Performing well on these tests assess your knowledge of the science surrounding the eye as well as your reasoning and comprehension skills. You can take these tests year round. There are pre courses that can help you improve your test taking skills and performance before you take the test.
Every state and county requires that you become licensed in order to practice. You have to have your Doctor of Optometry first and then you have to complete an exam from the national board of professionals. There will be a written and clinical portion. You will have to meet other requirements and renew your license on occasion as well.
Still Want To Go Into Optometry?
There are a lot of requirements and hurdles to overcome and get through, but if you have a passion for optometry, the job field is wide open and accepting new candidates practically all the time. Your eyes are important to your way of life and a career in optometry can be very rewarding.