Becoming an Optometrist
Doctors of Optometry are primary health care professionals for the eyes. "Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structure." (American Optometric Association [AOA]). They are trained to evaluate a patient's visual condition and can prescribe and fit glasses and contacts.
Doctors of Optometry must successfully complete a four-year degree program at one of the 20 accredited schools or colleges of optometry. Students accepted by a school or college of optometry have first completed an undergraduate pre-optometry program. Missouri Southern has a pre-optometry program offered through the Department of Biology and Environmental Health that provides the necessary coursework, work experience, and activities to make you a competitive applicant for admission to a school of optometry.
Students in Pre-Optometry studies can expect the following:
- An excellent foundation of undergraduate courses; including anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, biochemistry, and humanities. These courses will meet the requirements for admission to a school of optometry and can also be applied toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.
- An academic advisor specialized in pre-optometry.
- An internship program that provides clinical experience working with optometrists in a variety of workplace settings including private practice and retail/optical outlets.
Acceptance into optometry school is competitive. Students need:
- High academic performance in their undergraduate coursework
- Experience working with optometrists
- Competitive score on the Optometry Admission Test
- Quality letters of recommendation
- Extracurricular activities and community service
Additional information about careers in optometry and admission requirements to the accredited schools of optometry can be found at the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). Schedule a time to come and visit with our faculty to see firsthand how we can help you develop a highly competitive application to optometry school. Join the pride!