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Explore the possibilities of a career in optometry

Learn more about finding the right optometry school or college for you, the application process and the different modalities you can pursue.

GREAT DECISION TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP TOWARD BECOMING A DOCTOR OF OPTOMETRY.

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Explore the possibilities of a career in optometry

Learn more about finding the right optometry school or college for you, the application process and the different modalities you can pursue.

GREAT DECISION TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP TOWARD BECOMING A DOCTOR OF OPTOMETRY.

Right now, we're creating a personalized site for you and will email a link shortly. Can't wait? Take a peek.

You can have it all with a career in optometry

Thinking of becoming an eye doctor? There are plenty of good reasons why you’d want to. A Doctor of Optometry enjoys a career that is rewarding in every single way.

Work Your Way

Optometrists can choose between many different career paths. Work in a practice or open your own. Choose to practice in hospitals, academia, or even the military. Areas of emphasis include vision therapy, ocular disease, and pediatric optometry. Eye doctors are in high demand and no matter your path, you’ll dramatically change lives.

Live Your Best Life

Enjoy a great work/life balance and salaries averaging $140K. Find the time and have the means to do what matters the most to you. Get to know patients while providing essential health care. You can also take part in clinics that help serve the underserved. What more could you want?

Start Your Journey

Compare optometry to other careers

Choosing a career is a big decision. That's why it’s important to get all the facts. From average salary to time in school, see how optometry compares to other careers.

Compare Careers

Career Comparison

Role
"Dr." Title?
Career Paths
Average Hours/Week
Time to Degree Completion
Average Salary

Optometry

Role
O.D., Vision and ocular health
"Dr." Title?
Yes
Career Paths
  • Private practice
  • Hospital
  • Research
  • Academia
  • Industry
  • VA
  • Military
  • Retail practice
Average Hours/Week
~40 hours/week
Time to Degree Completion
4 years of optometry school
Average Salary
$140K/year

Osteopathic Medicine

Role
D.O., Medical
"Dr." Title?
Yes
Career Paths
  • Private practice
  • Hospital
  • Research
  • Academia
  • Industry
  • VA
  • Public health
  • Political advocacy
Average Hours/Week
~50 hours/week
Time to Degree Completion
4 years of osteopathic medical school plus 3-to-6-year residency
Average Salary
$188K/year

Allopathic Medicine

Role
M.D., Medical
"Dr." Title?
Yes
Career Paths
  • Private practice
  • Hospital
  • Research
  • Academia
  • Industry
  • VA
  • Public health
  • Political advocacy
Average Hours/Week
~50 hours/week
Time to Degree Completion
4 years of medical school plus 3-to-7-year residency
Average Salary
$208K/year

Dentistry

Role
D.M.D, D.D.S, Teeth
"Dr." Title?
Yes
Career Paths
  • Private practice
  • Academia
  • VA
  • Military
  • Partnership practice
  • Public health
Average Hours/Week
~60 hours/week
Time to Degree Completion
4 years of dental school
Average Salary
$164K/year

Pharmacy

Role
PharmD, Pharmaceuticals
"Dr." Title?
Yes
Career Paths
  • Academia
  • Retail pharmacy
  • Hospital pharmacy
  • Medical distribution
  • Ambulatory care
  • Specialty
Average Hours/Week
~45 hours/week
Time to Degree Completion
4 years of pharmacy school
Average Salary
$128K/year

Podiatry

Role
D.P.M, Feet
"Dr." Title?
Yes
Career Paths
  • Academia
  • VA
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics
  • Public health
  • Sports medicine
Average Hours/Week
~50 hours/week
Time to Degree Completion
4 years of podiatry school
Average Salary
$134K/year

Physician’s Assistant

Role
PA, Medical
"Dr." Title?
No
Career Paths
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Doctors' offices
  • Surgery
  • Specialty
Average Hours/Week
~40 hours/week
Time to Degree Completion
3-year master's degree program
Average Salary
$115K/year
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Dr. Miki Lyn Zilnicki

Entrepreneur. Vision Therapist.

At 27 years old, my business partner and I opened our own optometry and vision therapy practice. As a vision therapist, I work with kids with binocular vision disorders, lazy eyes, eye turns, or reading issues, and adults with traumatic brain injuries, post-stroke, or post-concussion vision syndrome. Because I see them on a biweekly basis, and through rehabilitating their vision, I get to understand how they’re using their eyes. So as they progress through their program, I witness all the positive changes they go through—allowing me to really feel the benefit of what I’m doing with them every day.

CAREER
AUTONOMY

“I chose optometry because I knew that I wanted a family. And I knew this profession was one that would give me that balance between work and family. And I could feel successful in a career … You are in complete control of your future and your success. And not many professions give that to you.”

For me, when I career shadowed other medical doctors, I found that some didn’t get to begin their life outside of work until they were much older. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted to be present and young with a family. Optometry allowed me to do that. There’s not that many eye emergencies to take me from my family. My quality of life is wonderful, and I have everything I could ever ask for.

Lover of Yoga, Farm-to-Table Feasts,and Family.

Getting someone’s eyesight back to normal is the most rewarding experience I could ever have.

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis

Doctor. Changer of Patients’ Lives.

I became an optometrist because everybody needs health care, and optometry empowers me to provide an affordable health care to my community. I’m able to have an immediate, life-changing impact on patients—whether that’s through detection of a serious health issue, or through lenses that help them see their world. It’s about being the best I can and giving that to everyone else. If you’re a student interested in challenging yourself, interested in providing for your community, you should become a Doctor of Optometry.

STRONG PATIENT
RELATIONSHIPS

“The relationships that I develop with my patients are unique and special because not only do I get to provide them with the highest quality of care for what arguably is the most important sense, but also I get to do that in an affordable manner and spend the time that these patients deserve. Unfortunately, there’s a trend in health care right now where it’s less and less time with the patient as the doctor, but in optometry, you have a say in how much time you want to spend with your patients, and my relationships extend beyond these walls.”

Developing relationships is everything to me. Optometry gives that to me, and so does my event planning business. It’s how I express myself and bring people together. Seeing everybody connect with each other, to see all the faces, all the people joyous, free, relaxed, just enjoying the company and forgetting about all their worries, it’s a happiness that can’t be bought. Optometry also gives me the financial security to be able to raise a family, but more importantly, it gives me the time to spend with that family.

Builder of Community and Relationships.

I would absolutely do this all over again.

Dr. Muriel Martinez

Professor. Advocate.

I chose optometry because I wanted to be a voice for people that can’t have a voice or don’t know how to use their voice to say if something is wrong. That happens a lot with children with special needs. They can’t tell you if they can’t see. So I come in, and I’m able to advocate for them, tell the parent, “They need eyeglasses. They need vision therapy. They aren’t thriving because they can’t see, and I can easily change that.” I’m also changing lives in the lecture hall. I’m educating future doctors that are then going to impact others’ lives. It’s like I’m impacting all these lives that I will never even know about.

EARNING
POTENTIAL

“I think the earning potential is empowering. It gives you freedom. You can travel, you can dance, you can do so many things. You can change lives while you're doing all that stuff at the same time.”

Optometry has fulfilled me. I’m able to feel good about what I do every day, go home, and have a life of my own. Salsa dancing is my escape from everything. It makes me feel alive. I dance competitively, and practice four or five nights of the week (sometimes every night of the week if I can). And every Friday, I attend salsa night at the local aquarium.

Mover and Shaker to Her Own Beat.

My quality of life is awesome. I change lives during the day and I dance salsa at night.

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Real stories on what becoming an eye doctor is like

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Learn More

Wondering how to become an optometrist? Just follow these steps:

01

Take

Take

all of your prerequisite courses, including a strong background in sciences and lab experience.

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02

Find

Find

out the optometry requirements and take the OAT, GRE or other accepted standardized exams.

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03

Apply

Apply

to one of the 23 optometry schools and colleges in the U.S.

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04

Complete

Complete

your OD degree and fulfill all the licensure practice requirements.

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library

05

Enjoy

Enjoy

a fulfilling career in optometry.

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Start living your best life through one of these schools and colleges of optometry

Now that you know how to become an eye doctor, check out our academic sponsors, the 23 accredited colleges and schools of optometry across the United States. You’re sure to find the optometry program that’ll help you get started.

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