WHAT IS AN OPTOMETRIST?
An optometrist examines, diagnoses, treats, and manages injuries and disorders of the eye and associated structures. They can prescribe medications and visual therapy. Some can perform certain surgical procedures. Optometrists have the option of completing a residency. Most work as independent healthcare providers.
EDUCATION LEVEL: DOCTORATE (O.D.)
TRADITIONAL COMPETITIVE PRE-OPTOMETRY STUDENT:
*NOTE: Each student's path is different! Holistic review takes several factors into account
- GPA: >3.5 (strong science GPA)
- Strong OAT (>340-AA)/340-TS)
- Pattern of taking challenging coursework and credit-load (>12/semester)
- Extra-curricular involvement (leadership in student organizations, research, employment, etc.)
- Consistent volunteer experience
- Experience in or exposure to the optometry field (shadowing, volunteering, or employment)
- Updated Policies of some Optometry Schools - GoogleDocs
- OAT EXAM & Important Updates Section
- OPTOMCAS COVID-19 Updates
- DEADLINES: Many optometry schools/colleges have made changes to their application requirements and deadlines in light of current circumstances. Visit the specific schools website for updates.
- CDC COVID-19 Updates
- Visit the Special Programs and FAQ page
- Current & Future Students - ASCO
- Statistics of Entering Classes
Information and resources for pre-optometry students can be found on the links below!
- Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
- American Optometric Association
- American Academy of Optometry
- American Optometric Student Association
- Pre-Optometry Professional Society (POPS)
- Visit organization site for more info
Like most admissions committees, Optometry Schools are looking for "well-rounded" applicants. This will include your extracurricular, volunteering, leadership and clinical experiences. Below are a list of suggestions for experience. Visit the links in the additional resources section at the bottom of this page for more information. Students interested in becoming an Ophthalmologist will need to attend Medical School and should visit the Pre-Medical Studies page.
- Shadowing Optometrists and Ophthalmologists
- Volunteering in Healthcare and Non-Healthcare settings
- Optometrist Assistant
- Working in a healthcare setting
- Shadowing other Health Professionals
The prerequisites for Optometry School are very similar to medical school. Below is a list of the required courses for the University of Houston. See Prerequisite Coursework for all Optometry Schools
|Course (See letter descriptions below)||# of Hours||UTA Courses|
|A, E. Biological Sciences with Labs||8 Hours||BIOL 1441 & 1442|
|A, E. Fundamentals of Chemistry with Labs||8 Hours||
CHEM 1441 & 1442 OR
CHEM 1341/1181 & 1342/1182
|A, B, E. General Physics with Labs||8 Hours||PHYS 1441 & 1442 OR PHYS 1443 & 1444|
|C. F. Calculus||3 Hours||MATH 1426|
|D, E. Advanced Biology||8 Hours||BIOL 3315, 3442, 3446|
|F. Organic Chemistry with Lab||4 Hours* (see Biochem)||CHEM 2321/2181 & 2322/2182|
(*Prerequisite is OCHEM II – 4 hours)
|3 Hours||CHEM 4311|
|A, E. Microbiology with Lab||4 Hours||BIOL 2444 (3444 prior to F20)|
|F. Statistics||3 Hours||MATH 1308 or BIOL 2300|
|F. Psychology||3 Hours||PSYC 1315|
- Courses should be equivalent to those required for biological science degree majors.
- Course should have an optics section dedicated to the study of wave theory and the propagation of light. Calculus based physics not required; trigonometry or algebra based physics is acceptable.
- A three-hour course in calculus is required; it is recommended (but not required) that applicants take one or more courses in algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus and/or analytical geometry in addition to calculus.
- 8 hours of junior/senior-level biology courses are required. 3 hours must be advanced anatomy and/or advanced physiology (higher than A&P I or II). Acceptance of other advanced biology courses to satisfy prerequisite requirements is at the discretion of the admissions committee. It is recommended that applicants receive prior approval from the Program Manager for Admissions for applicable courses. Courses such as genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, neuroscience, advanced human physiology, mammalian physiology, immunology, histology and endocrinology will be acceptable. Courses such as plant physiology, ecology, biodiversity, biotechnology will not be accepted.
- Coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C no more than five (5) years prior to the date of application.
- Coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C no more than ten (10) years prior to the date of application.
TEXAS OPTOMETRY SCHOOLS
- University of Houston – College of Optometry
- University of the Incarnate Word – Rosenberg School of Optometry – San Antonio
APPLYING & APPLICATION SERVICE
- OptomCAS - Optometry Centralized Application Service
- COST: $180 (1 School; $70/each additional)
- OptomCAS - Preparing to Apply
- OptomCAS Application Help Center
ADMISSIONS TEST - OPTOMETRY ADMISSION TEST (OAT)
- Scores: 200-400 in each section
- Sections: Biology(40), General and Organic Chemistry(60), Reading Comprehension(50), Quantitative Reasoning(40), and Physics(40)
- Length: 280 minutes with breaks
- Competitive score: 340+
- COST: $490
- WHEN to TAKE: August - December of application year (check with school deadlines)
- APPLY to take the OAT
- 2021 OAT Guide
- RETEST: minimum 90 days between test dates
OAT TEST PREP
- DAT Boot Camp (Free Resources Available) - provides excellent resources for all OAT sections (except physics) in additional to the DAT.
- ASCO - OAT Practice Tests
- KAPLAN - OAT Test Prep
- Mometrix - OAT Test Prep
- Coursesaver - OAT
- Crack the OAT
REQUIRED BY SOME PROGRAMS:
CASPer: Some programs also require the CASPer Test, an assessment of an applicants personal qualities. This test is taken during the application cycle and valid for 1 year. More information can be found on the CASPer Website.