Aspiring optometrists must enroll in a Doctor of Optometry (OD) program after finishing a bachelor's degree. Some schools also offer residency programs for trained ODs. The United States has 23 Doctor of Optometry programs that are fully accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association as of 2016. Many optometry schools also offer vision science programs that lead to a Master of Science (MS) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The University of California - Berkeley offers a 4-year OD program as well as graduate programs in vision science, while the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an OD program and a doctoral program that focuses on research in vision science. Ferris State University offers an OD program and residency programs. Each of these schools was nationally or regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017. Let's take a closer look
University of California - Berkeley
Students of the 4-year OD program at University of California - Berkeley spend 440 hours in laboratory training before participating in field clinics during the final two years of study. The University Eye Center offers on-campus training clinics in geriatrics, binocular vision, and primary care, among others. Training in off-campus and community outreach clinics is available, and student can participate in a summer research program sponsored by the National Eye Institute. The school's graduate program leading to a PhD in Vision Science offers instruction in molecular genetics, neurobiology, and infectious diseases. The school was ranked #20 among national universities for 2017 by U.S. News & World Report.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Optometry offers an OD program that combines a foundation in vision science with professional training in clinical optometry. Students can take advantage of the many resources available from the UAB Academic Health Sciences Center during their four years of full-time study and can gain first-hand experience through UAB Eye Care, the clinical wing of the School of Optometry. The school also offers a graduate vision science program that emphasizes research and teaching. UAB was ranked 103 among national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.
Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI
Through the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, aspiring optometrists can complete an OD program that includes both lecture-based and technical training. Topics of study include basic science topics like anatomy and pathology, as well as optometry-focused subjects such as contact lenses and binocular dysfunction. Students can get practical experience at on-campus or off-campus clinics, and they may complete a research project in the field. For trained ODs who want to specialize in particular fields, Ferris State offers residency programs in primary care/ocular disease, primary care, community health/primary care, cornea and contact lenses, and pediatric and binocular vision. Students can also join the Michigan Optometric Student Private Practice Association, the Optometry Student Government, the American Optometric Student Association, and more. For 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Ferris State #74 among regional universities in the Midwest.
Top Optometry Schools
Here is some information about other top optometry schools in the United States:
|Indiana University - Bloomington||Bloomington, IN||Vision science seminars are offered weekly by the School of Optometry.|
|Northeastern State University||Tahlequah, OK||Students in the optometry program experience more than 60,000 patient interactions each year.|
|University of Houston||Houston, TX||The College of Optometry hosts a summer research program supported by the National Eye Institute.|
|Ohio State University||Columbus, OH||Allows optometry students to participate in more than 100,000 patient interactions each year.|
|Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale, FL||Provides students access to five clinics and opportunities to take mission trips to foreign countries.|
|University of the Incarnate Word||San Antonio, TX||Offers the only faith-based optometry program in the nation.|
|University of Missouri - St Louis||Saint Louis, MO||Offers a mobile eye center to provide eye care to under-served neighborhoods.|
Aspiring optometrists can find OD training as well as postgraduate studies at well-regarded universities around the country.