Ever wonder how you could help people with their eye health for a profession? Optometry is the practice of diagnosing vision problems and prescribing the lenses and medications to treat them. It’s such an important job, taking care of the many people who want to keep their eyes happy and healthy! (And you can make a great salary in the field, as well.) Optometry is a career you must commit to, because it takes many years of schooling to achieve the required degree and licensing. So if you’re committed and would love to improve not only people’s vision but their quality of life, read on to find out how to become an optometrist:
Get Your Degrees
To get on the path to becoming an optometrist, you’ll need to get your high school diploma (GED) and your Bachelor’s degree. It’s not super important what your undergraduate major is, but most optometry schools will want to see heavy coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, English and math, so you can’t go wrong choosing any of those degrees. Speak to a college counselor about what courses will get you best on track. Study hard during school, because your study skills and grades will pay off once you start applying for post-graduate programs.
You’ll need to take the Optometry Admission Test, or OAT, in order to get into an accredited optometry school. Doing well on this test will greatly improve your chances of getting into a good school, so sign up for a preparatory class to help you gain the skills you need to do well. Keep in mind that there is a non-refundable $226 fee to take the test.
Get your Doctor of Optometry
Set aside 4 years to study optometry and get your Doctor of Optometry, preparing you to launch into your career! Once you’re certified, you’ll be eligible for jobs at Stanton Optical or any number of optometry clinics. Program costs vary, depending whether you’re in or out of state, but generally range from $9,000 to $22,000 per year. Consider a residency program after you graduate, which will allow you to gain working practice in the field but still under the guidance of professionals.
The last step in becoming an optometrist is to get licensed to practice. This is required in every state, so is a super important step to take! You must have your O.D. (Doctor of Optometry) by this point, as well as have completed all sections of the National Boards of Optometry. You’ll complete both written and clinical sections of the examination before becoming licensed. Keep in mind the rules for renewing your license once you have it!
By becoming an optometrist you will become a valued member of the community. Eyesight is one of the most important things that we are given; being able to see the world in all its beauty is something special. You can, with commitment, help others to have an easier life and transform people’s lives by helping them to have great vision.