After completing an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree with a major in Science Specialization: Pre-Medical, you will continue your pre-optometry study by transferring to a four year school. Most optometry colleges prefer candidates to have a bachelor's degree. You can declare a major in any subject at the four year school to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree which will require an additional two years of college. Your chosen major does not determine your success in being accepted to an optometry college. After being accepted it will typically take a total of four years to be awarded a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.).
Early in your academic career you will need to research some of the optometry schools you are interested in attending in order to insure you will meet all their criteria for admission. Some basic factors are:
- Good undergraduate grades (overall GPA of 3.0 minimum)
- Test scores (OAT®)
- True interest in profession as demonstrated by shadowing or volunteering in the field Exceptional communication skills
- Strong reference letters from professionals who know your character, as well as, your work ethic
What is the OAT®?
It is Optometry Admission Test. It is a standardized test taken by students who are applying to optometry colleges. It will be similar to the ACT® or SAT®. It is a measure of your general academic ability, quantitative reasoning skills and scientific information— all skills developed during your two years at SWCC. It consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning. http://www.ada.org/en/oat/
Important qualities for optometrists
As in other health-related occupations, empathy, understanding and the desire to help others are good qualities for dealing effectively with patients. They also need great communication skills, desire to learn, and interpersonal skills. Optometrists must have manual dexterity and attentiveness for detail and accuracy.
Is optometry for you?
The student should shadow optometrists and ask questions about the profession. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and injuries of the eye. They also identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye. Optometrists improve the quality of life of patients.
There are 21 optometry colleges in the United States. You can review them at the following site https://optometriceducation.org/students-future-students/member-schools-and-colleges/
Abigail Mitchell is attending the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry.
She is the daughter of Christopher and Angela Mitchell of Pounding Mill, VA. Ms. Mitchell is the first Southwest graduate to be accepted into the University of Pikeville, Kentucky College of Optometry through the reserved student placement program.