How Long Does It Take To Become An Optometrist? 

Optometry is a crucial field devoted to aiding patients in finding the best corrective lenses to enhance their vision and resolve eye issues. 

Optometrists can treat patients in a variety of methods thanks to their advanced degrees. 

Planning ahead for the time it will take to become an optometrist and being fully aware of what an optometrist does can be beneficial if you have an interest in becoming one.

In this article, we address frequently asked questions about optometry, how long it takes to become an optometrist, and how much an optometrist makes. 

We also discuss what an optometrist school is like and what schooling you need to become an optometrist.

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What is an optometrist School Like? 

Doctor of Optometry (OD) programs take four years to complete and are a requirement for licensing. 

Students must first submit an application to an OD program that includes the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), prerequisite science, math, and English courses, as well as volunteer or paid work experience in the industry.

As soon as they are accepted, students start pursuing advanced courses in disciplines like anatomy, optics, optometry, and ocular pathology. 

To allow students to participate in clinical rotations in their last two years, the majority of curriculum is finished in the first two years. 

These clinical rotations give students the chance to work directly with patients while learning about various aspects of the profession, such as pediatric and geriatric optometry.

Optometrists assist patients in keeping their eyes healthy. 

This covers examining, diagnosing, treating, and operating the eye and its accompanying structures.

You might desire to finish a degree program at one of the 23 optometry schools in the United States and Puerto Rico that are a part of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry in order to become an optometrist. 

Along with the O.DOptometry colleges may also offer graduate-level master’s or doctoral programs in vision science or optometry. 

There are certain colleges that provide bachelor’s degrees in vision science or optometry that satisfy the academic requirements for a doctor of optometry program. 

Associate’s degrees in optometry are offered from community colleges and optometry schools, and they can help you become ready for a career as an optician or optometric technician.

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Is Attending an Optometrist School Worth It?  

A pleasant job in optometry is possible because it aids in people’s vision improvement and eye health maintenance. Additionally, an OD can make a good livelihood alongside their work in eye care. 

However, the issue is that income has stalled and that private practice isn’t as profitable as it once was.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be an optometrist? 

To become an optometrist, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree in a discipline that is appropriate, pass the OAT, finish optometry school, and then complete a residency if you wish to focus on a particular area. 

After completing your studies, you must pass the license exam, which is administered by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. 

Additional tests may be necessary to obtain a license depending on your state of residency. 

You can apply for your license and start working once all of your prerequisites have been met. 

You must complete undergraduate coursework, which includes courses in chemistry, biology, statistics, and mathematics, in order to apply to a doctor of optometry program. 

Also, you must take the Optometry Admission Test in order to apply to a Doctor of Optometry program, and you can use the Optometry Centralized Application System to submit your application to any approved optometry school in the United States (OptomCAS). 

You must already have an O.D. and be eligible for state licensure as an optometrist to enroll in stand-alone graduate programs.

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed optometrist? 

After high school, it typically takes eight or nine years to become an optometrist. Four years are required for an undergraduate degree, four years are required for optometry school, and a clinical residency is optional. 

If you wish to become an optometrist, you should likely pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, such as pre-medicine, biology, any health-related major, or, if one is offered, a specialist pre-optometry degree. 

Students must pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) in order to continue on to optometry school.

Obtaining a Doctor of Optometry degree after graduating from optometry school requires taking additional biology, optometry, and ocular pathology studies.

Students at optometry schools frequently get the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations where they can gain a deeper grasp of the profession. 

After graduating from optometry school, you may choose to complete a residency to gain the skills you’ll need to specialize in a specialty like pediatric optometry, ocular disease, or vision therapy and rehabilitation. 

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed optometrist? 

The annual tuition for optometry school is roughly $40,000. Public school tuition is slightly less expensive, at $30,000 per year.

To cover these expenses, lots of students studying optometry take out student loans. However, numerous scholarships are also offered to support. 

Numerous of the most esteemed optometry scholarships are listed on the website of the American Association of Optometry. Various other options exist based on your state.

Few of these scholarships are big enough to pay your entire tuition on their own, but if you receive funding from many of them, you could be able to cover a sizable portion of the expense. Consider submitting as many applications as you can.

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Salary and Job Outlook for optometrist after Study 

The national average pay for an optometrist is $254,905 per year, according to Indeed Salaries. 

Depending on experience, region, and whether you work for a big firm or run your own private practice, optometrist salaries can vary greatly. 

Some optometrists earn more than $700,000 annually. Additionally, health insurance, disability insurance, vision insurance, 401(k) matching, and a store discount are frequently included in an optometrist’s compensation package.

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Job outlook 

Over the following ten years, employment of optometrists is anticipated to increase by 10%, faster than the average for all occupations.

Over the next ten years, there are expected to be, on average, 1,700 openings for optometrists. 

Many of those positions are anticipated to be brought on by the need to replace workers who change careers or leave the workforce due to retirement.

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It takes a lot of work to become an optometrist. To become a licensed practitioner, you may need to complete at least 9 years of training. 

Additionally, a three-year hospital residency program in ophthalmology may occasionally be required of the student.

The path to becoming an optometrist is difficult and drawn-out. Both academic information and practical instruction will be delivered to you. 

Overall, it takes about 11 years of serious academic and practical study to become a qualified optometrist.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How many years does it take to study optometry? 

It takes four years to graduate from optometry school and earn an OD However, you will only be accepted to optometry school if you complete a four-year undergraduate degree first. 

Is becoming an optometrist worth it? 

The decision to become an optometrist is one that only you can make. High compensation, flexible hours, less stress at work, and a steady demand for their services are among benefits that optometrists enjoy. 
Optometrists, on the other hand, must devote years to rigorous study and pay hefty tuition costs, which frequently leaves them in serious debt.

Can you become an optometrist without a degree? 

No, optometrists must complete a four-year Doctor of Optometry program in addition to their undergraduate studies. 

What type of education is required to become a Doctor of Optometry? 

A four-year approved degree program at one of the schools or colleges of optometry is required for doctors of optometry to graduate with honors. 
The majority of applicants accepted by an optometry school or college have already finished their undergraduate studies. 
To learn more about the precise requirements for undergraduate admission, applicants may get in touch with the school or college of their choosing.



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