Optometry college and university training programs are generally designed for people who want to diagnose and treat eye diseases in humans and/or animals. Areas covered in the programs are optical treatments, disease diagnoses, eyewear and corrective lens technologies.
Diploma in Optometry, Certificate in Ocular Disease, Certificate in Primary Care Optometry, Bachelor degree of Optometry, Master degree of Science in Clinical Optometry, Master of Education in Visual Function in Learning and the Doctorate degree of Optometry are types of degrees and certifications you can earn. Diploma and certificate programs take about two years to complete at accredited colleges and universities. It takes many students eight years to graduate from optometry degree programs that lead to licensing. In addition to completing classroom work, you must complete clinical and laboratory work to earn graduate degrees.
Teaching fellowships and graduate residency programs are available for students who earn high marks in the training programs. Students can also use grants and fellowship funds to pay to conduct research work in the field. Generally, you must maintain good academic standing to remain in optometry programs. For example, accredited colleges and universities might require you to maintain at least a 2.5 or 3.0 grade point average (GPA) to graduate. Some graduate schools also require you to take and pass the Optometry Admissions Examination before you are accepted into their programs.
Courses you must take and maintain high academic grades in are:
You can complete undergraduate and graduate optometry degrees with colleges online or offline. However, you might have to travel into the classroom to complete laboratory and/or clinical assignments.
Benefits you gain from completing optometry college and university programs can last throughout your lifetime. The benefits can also impact and improve the lives of your relatives and loved ones. For example, optometry academic training and work gives you:
Optometrists earned an average annual salary of $106,750 as of May 2009 according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The middle 50 percent of the medical professionals earned between $71,630 and $124,610 a year. An aging American population is expected to drive up to 24 percent job growth for optometrists from 2008 through 2018. Additionally, because few people major in optometry in college or university, jobs open for newly licensed graduates are expected to be very good.
The American Academy of Optometry and the National Optometric Student Association are organizations that provide ongoing training, job search and networking opportunity support for optometry majors. Through these and other associations optometry majors can also learn about conferences, workshops and seminars they can attend to continue their education.