Optometry Schools Colleges & Universities

Some leave optometry schools to work with the rich and famous. Even those who don't, enjoy jobs that offer autonomy, high security, and good pay. Whether or not you optometry colleges bring you in contact with celebrities, they can lead to excellent careers. Find out more about degrees in optometry colleges here.

Degrees in Optometry: All-Around Rewarding Careers: Robert Morrison loved his career. He got to spend time with celebrities at his indoor swimming pool and tennis court. A Queen of the Netherlands once gave him a Rolls Royce. He sold part of his business for $2 million in the early 1970s. He spent his days laughing. What was the spectacular career of this man? He was an optometrist.

What Optometry Schools Can and Can Not Teach You: While Morrison, known as "the eye doctor of the rich and famous," might represent the pinnacle of optometry, the career is full of opportunity and enjoyment. Even though their schedules might be full, optometrists enjoy a lot of autonomy, and often run their own practices. But to be successful, you should be a people person, and especially have the capacity to work well with older people. Optometry schools can teach you the technical and scientific skills of the job, but you will need strong social skills to thrive.

Optometry Colleges: Prerequisites and Degrees: To gain entry to optometry colleges, you will need to at least be working toward a bachelor's degree, preferably in the field of science or medicine. Being admitted into optometry schools is competitive: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about one in three who try make it.

The Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) is a key part of the admission process. The exam is challenging, and most take it during their sophomore or junior years of college, so they have time to retake the exam to raise their scores. The OAT is a 4-part exam, consisting of:

  • • Natural sciences (including biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry)
  • • Reading comprehension
  • • Physics
  • • Quantitative reasoning

Most students accepted into optometry school have completed their bachelors' degrees, but a small number are accepted during their third year of school (in which case they finish their bachelors' while in optometry schools). Prerequisites vary by school.

Life and Career after Degrees in Optometry: Obviously, degrees in optometry will train you for nothing other than optometry; therefore, you should be sure it's what you want to do before committing the four years of study (beyond your bachelor's degree) required. In addition to earning degrees in optometry, optometrists must pass licensing exams from the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. Optometrists must renew their licenses every one to three years, which requires the regular completion continuing education credits. Many become members of the American Optometric Association.

Although you might not serve queens or receive Rolls Royces from your clients, optometrists often enjoy higher than average salaries and steady careers. This reinforces BLS career research, which maintains that those with higher degrees generally experience higher salaries and job security. Below are median weekly salaries and unemployment rates by education, according to the BLS:

  • • High school graduate: $626; 9.7%
  • • Associate degree: $761; 6.8%
  • • Bachelor's degree: $1,025; 5.2%
  • • Professional degree: $1,529; 2.3%

Optometry career statistics are consistent with these findings. According to the BLS, those who graduate from optometry schools (professional degrees) will work in a field that is growing faster than average, a projected 24 percent between 2008 and 2018. Further, as of May 2008, median annual wages of optometrists were $96,320.

Are you ready for a career that could be all-around rewarding? Learn more about optometry colleges here.

Candice Mancini.

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