10 Best Ways to Become An Optometrist

Best Ways to Become An Optometrist: An optometrist, or eye care professional, has many responsibilities, including giving eye tests and writing prescriptions for eyeglasses or contacts.

They also need to diagnose various kinds of conditions that happen with the eye.

They have to first get a Bachelor’s degree in a related program, such as biology or chemistry.

Once they get done with their undergraduate degree, they’ll have to go to optometry school for another 4 years.

The average salary for an optometrist is around $103,000.

As you can see, these jobs have quite a bit of potential.

Like all good things, they’ll take a lot of hard work and dedication.

But they will pay off in the long run.

Once you start taking classes, you’ll be on your way to having your dream job!

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Best Ways to Become An Optometrist

1. Business overview

Optometrists get to help people with one of their most important senses: sight.

Unlike ophthalmologists, who perform eye surgeries, or opticians, who work with eye lenses.

Optometrists help patients with vision problems and prescribe corrective lenses and eye medications.

You’ll go through lots of schooling, training and licensing to become an optometrist, but with a fascinating and rewarding career waiting for you, the years will fly by.

2. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in pre-med or science.

Before you can apply to an optometry program, you need to complete an undergraduate degree. Most optometry schools require coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, English, and mathematics. A pre-med degree or degree in biological science will help prepare you for med school. Get a well-rounded undergrad education and work hard to get good grades! Medical schools will want to see that you take your education seriously.

  • Tell your advisor or counselor that you’re thinking about becoming an optometrist and ask what courses you should be taking. Check the requirements at the optometry programs you plan on applying to so you don’t accidentally miss any courses.

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Best Ways to Become An Optometrist

3. Get experience through shadowing.

Shadowing is a great way for you to get hands-on experience in the field of optometry. This will give you a feel for how the career works and what an optometrist does. There’s no better way to find out if optometry is right for you than to watch a real optometrist at work, so take advantage of your opportunity and soak up all the wisdom you can!

  • Some people will observe optometrists with patients, and others may assist around the office. Try to get a sense of optometry from all perspectives, from the waiting area to the examination room.
  • You can try to get a job or volunteer your time. Don’t worry if you can’t find a practice to work for on your first try. Keep looking and meeting as many optometrists as you can and an opportunity will come up.

4. Complete a Doctor of Optometry Program.

Your program will include both core classes in a classroom setting and hands-on experience through clinics. These programs will need to be completed at an accredited optometry school and take four years to complete. It sounds like a long time, but if it’s your dream to be an optometrist, you’ll be done before you know it and out helping people in no time.

  • Get ready to take courses in biological sciences focused on the eye.

5. Pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT).

This test is required when applying to accredited optometry programs and will assess your knowledge of science, along with your comprehension and reasoning skills. Tests are administered year-round at Prometric Test Centers. Performing well will increase your likelihood for acceptance, so study hard and do your best. Don’t stress yourself out too much, though; remember that this test, like all of your rigorous education, is all geared to make you the best optometrist you can be.

  • Consider enrolling in an OAT preparatory course to perfect your test-taking skills and improve your overall performance. Don’t feel bad about asking for more help if you need it!

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Best Ways to Become An Optometrist

6. Take the licensing exam.

Yes, one more test! You might be tired of taking optometry exams by this point, but you’re almost there, and every state and country requires this license to practice optometry, so you can’t get out of this one! You must have completed your O.D. (Doctor of Optometry) program before obtaining a license. Additionally, you will have to complete an exam given by a national board of professionals.

  • The exam will contain a written and clinical portion as part of the licensure process.
  • Some states also require that you take an additional examination before getting your license in that particular state.

7. Continue to meet the requirements to renew your license.

You will probably have to keep gaining knowledge throughout your career to meet the requirements to renew your license. In the US, all states require that optometrists have to take continuing education classes to keep their license up to date. This is a great opportunity to keep learning throughout your life and make sure that you’re always at the top of your game as a doctor.

  • Find out what your state or country requires to keep your license up to date.

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8. Decide whether to join a practice or start your own.

Optometry is a great field to go into; it’s continuing to grow and offer good job prospects. Most optometrists do not have problems finding a job. You should decide if you want to join a practice or start your own. Many people work alongside another optometrist for a while before opening their practice, which is a great way to learn from a veteran before starting on your own.

  • You may find jobs through contacts you’ve made in school, through your shadowing, or on job websites or mailing lists.

9. Complete a postgraduate residency program if you want.

You can advance your career and make yourself even more marketable by becoming a specialist. Once you finish your four-year degree, you can do an additional one-year residency for a specialization. Residency programs allow optometrists to gain practice working in the field under the guidance of professionals and to advance their skills. It’s more work, but specializing in an area you’re passionate in, such as pediatric or geriatric optometry, will lead you to a career that’s even more fulfilling.

  • Residency programs should be recognized by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE).
  • Examples of residency programs include ones in low vision rehabilitation, pediatric optometry, geriatric optometry, ocular disease, and family practice.

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Best Ways to Become An Optometrist

10. Get certified by a national organization if you wish.

As you go through your career, you may want to try to get certified by a national organization. Multiple organizations offer certifications or fellowships. To receive one of these prestigious honors, you must meet strict guidelines and demonstrate your passion to the field and patients. This is a great chance to keep pushing yourself in your career and earn an expert’s confirmation on something you already knew: that you’re a great optometrist!

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