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Optometry as a Career

A doctor examining a patient's eyes.Most optometry schools require an undergraduate degree prior to matriculation, and then students complete a 4-yr OD (Doctor of Optometry) program and then typically one additional year of residency. For more information, see Explore Health Optometrist.

  • Meet with the Pre-Health Advisor each semester and request to be added to the Pre-Optometry email distribution list. The Pre-Health Advisor serves as a supplementary advisor to the students’ primary (major) advisor, and assists students by offering guidance in selecting appropriate courses, connecting with resources both on and off campus, ensuring that they are on track with their career goals, and addressing questions and concerns.
  • Choose a college major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about optometry.  
  • Carefully check admission requirements at optometry schools of most interest and take the required coursework; see ASCO General & School Specific Prerequisites and ASCO Admission Requirements - 2013. It is also highly recommended that you contact or review each school’s website to confirm prerequisite courses and learn whether or not they accept AP credit and/or online coursework for prerequisites. In general, most optometry schools require at a minimum:
    • A year of Biology (Bio 115 and 116) with labs
    • A year of General Chemistry (Chem 111 and 112) with labs
    • A year of General Physics (Phys 111 and 112) with labs
    • A year of English
    • A year of College Math
    • Additional required or recommended course work may include Calculus, Anatomy, Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Statistics, and Psychology.

  • Get significant shadowing and clinical experience and maintain a formal log (Professional Development Activities Log). Find out firsthand what the profession is like, decide if it is right for you, explore different areas of the field, and be sure to meet clinical experience requirements of your preferred schools. 
  • Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors, optometry professionals, and others who will be writing letters of reference
  • Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities

The application process consists of taking the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), applying through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS), submitting college transcripts and letters of reference, and participating in invited interviews.

Pre-Health Professions Program

Physical Address:

Vandal Success Center
Idaho Student Union Building, 3rd floor

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 2436
Moscow, ID 83844-2436

Phone: 208-885-5809