Becoming An Optometrist

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How to Become an Optometrist

Optometrists provide vision care in the health care system. They examine patients to diagnose eye problems related to vision, depth perception, color perception, and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses and refer patients for further evaluation and treatment to other doctors. They also take care of managing personnel and other office affairs.
Here’s more information on how to become an optometrist.
Part 1: How to Become an Optometrist
The first step to become an optometrist is to obtain a degree called Doctor of Optometry (O.D.). As of 2012, 17 Doctor of Optometry programs have been accredited in the United States, including in Puerto Rico. Since
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program, you must first complete postsecondary education (at least 3 years), which includes coursework in chemistry, biology, physics, math, and English. However, many students obtain a bachelor’s degree before enrollment to a Doctor of Optometry program.
You must also pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), which is a computerized exam. OAT applicants take examinations on 4 subject areas: comprehension, reading, science, physics, plus quantitative reasoning.
How to become an optometrist? It takes four years to complete a program in Doctor of Optometry. This program involves both classroom learning as well as supervised clinical experience. The coursework includes anatomy, biochemistry, optics, physiology, visual science, and classes on the diagnosis and treatment of visual system diseases and disorders.
Upon finishing the O.D. degree, you may opt to complete a one-year residency program to be able to get advanced training in some area of interest. These are areas of emphasis that include family practice, pediatric optometry, geriatric optometry, low vision care, and ocular diseases.
Licenses, Certifications, and
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• Most optometrists provide primary care, but some specialize in particular treatments or populations like pediatric patients, infants, athletes (sports vision), people with learning disabilities, patients for low vision rehabilitation, and patients who sustained head trauma.
• Optometrists differ from ophthalmologists who have a medical degree and can diagnose and treat diseases and injuries of the eye as well as perform eye surgery.
How Long Does It Take To Become An Optometrist?
It takes 7 to 9 years to become an optometrist. The first 3-4 years involve undergraduate coursework, then another four years specializing in optometry. After getting the degree, you may opt to complete an internship program to specialize in a field of interest for one more year.
Watch this video for more information on how to become an optometrist: Part 3: How Much Does an Optometrist Make?

The 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that the average annual income of optometrists is $113,000. Those who work in physician offices receive the highest pay, with an average annual income of $139,000. Optometrists from these states receive the highest income: Alaska, Connecticut, New Mexico, North Dakota, and
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