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10 Best Optometry Schools in the US (2023) - Academicful
Top Best Optometry Schools in the US Today
Table of Contents

What Are the Best Optometry Colleges in the US?

Research the top best optometry schools in the United States if you're serious about making that career move.

Graduate school in the medical sciences is notoriously challenging, and for good reason. We want only the most qualified graduates from medical school, regardless of their chosen area of specialty. There can be no room for error whenever the health of human beings is at stake.

Despite this fact, rankings of medical schools rarely consider pass rates. Students' grades and test scores are important, but so are factors such as the school's alumni network, research funding, and notoriety. Most patients, however, are more concerned with whether or not the doctor performing the procedure has completed medical school.

Finding reputable institutions that grant optometry degrees requires some legwork on your part. You can find that and other resources useful to a student at a top university on this list.

Optometrists treat a wide range of eye diseases and conditions, from cataracts and astigmatism to glaucoma and macular degeneration that comes with age. It's no surprise that top optometry schools feature rigorous (and, in some cases, expensive) academic curricula.

However, as a student, you will have access to world-class resources and the guidance of knowledgeable instructors. Keeping that in mind, we've compiled a list of top optometry programs to get you started in your chosen field.

College students frequently choose this concentration in the hopes of one day practicing optometry. This is a highly lucrative and in-demand field, making it an excellent choice for young adults still in school.

Therefore, in order to guarantee that you will receive the appropriate education, it is crucial to select the best college for optometry that you can find. Check out some of the top optometry schools in the United States to find the right school for you.

What Optometry College Has the Easiest Admissions Process?

What is the easiest optometry college to get into? That is a question you might have if you want to study optometry but are concerned about getting into a college. As there are particular requirements that applicants to optometry colleges must meet, this is a frequently asked question.

If you don't necessarily have the best application to submit, these requirements can be very intimidating. This is commonplace because you might not yet have much to recommend you to students.

You might not have a great chance of getting accepted, especially if you are considering the top optometry schools in the US. This is due to the fact that these colleges frequently receive a large number of applications, which results in a low acceptance rate.

It also doesn't hurt to apply to some of the easiest optometry colleges to get into, even though it doesn't hurt to submit your application just to give yourself a chance. This provides you with a safety net so that you have alternatives.

The Indiana University College of Optometry is one of the most accessible optometry schools. This college accepts more applicants and doesn't ask for a lot from prospective students.

However, this college is not your only choice because there are numerous additional, simple-to-enter colleges for optometry, including:

• Arizona College of Optometry

• Southern California College of Optometry

• Western University of Health Sciences

• University of California

How Many Optometry Colleges Are in the US?

How many optometry colleges are there in the US? may be on your mind if you want to enroll in one. Because this is a very selective career path, there won't be a huge selection of colleges that you can attend.

Despite working in the field of eyecare, optometry has different specialties than other forms of eyecare. You will have to choose from a limited number of colleges that offer optometry as a result.

There are currently 23 optometry colleges in the US that students can search for and apply to. If you want to attend a college in Canada, there are also two optometry schools there.

When it comes to applying to colleges, this is not a lot of choice. For this reason, you must ensure that each application is considered and that you are doing everything in your power to make your application stand out.

You must ensure that you position yourself for success because many of these optometry colleges have a low acceptance rate and a high demand for admission.

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the United States Today

(Compiled and Recommended by KnowInsiders based on updated figures for 2023 and 2024)

1. Southern College of Optometry, Memphis, Tennessee

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
Unsurprisingly, almost all of the 136 students accepted each year graduate from the program, giving SCO an unprecedented 98.5% pass rate.

One of the first colleges of optometry, the Southern College of Optometry is situated in Tennessee and has built up quite a reputation. This campus, which also houses a clinic, is renowned for its excellent hands-on education.

You'll have a hard time finding a better place to hone your skills than the outstanding Southern College of Optometry in the United States, which is currently ranked first. On-campus amenities, state-of-the-art equipment, and an Eye Center are all available.

Students benefit from practical clinical training while attending to more than 60,000 patients as a result. The student-to-teacher ratio at the school is a balanced 9:1, and there are more than 60 fully funded scholarships.

With a success rate of 98.5%, the first-grade tutors have helped the college graduate over 136 students. Additionally, a few of the outstanding school's alumni have gone on to lead the American Optometric Association as presidents. Some of the best opticians in the business will be available to you and the other students.

Even though it was established in 1932, the Southern College of Optometry is never content to do nothing. The institution underwent a $9.4 million expansion as recently as 2013, which provided its facilities with cutting-edge technology. The school also has The Eye Center, a teaching facility where students can gain practical clinical experience while caring for the 60,000 patients who come to the facility each year.

2. Arizona College of Optometry Midwestern University, Glendale, Arizona

Not only do 98% of Arizona College of Optometry students ultimately pass their exams, but 92.7 percent pass part I and 100 percent pass part II of the NBEO exam. This outstanding group of students has an average OAT score of 624 and a GPA of 3.53. However, these students are not successful on their own; rather, they have the support of the accomplished faculty at ACO and their state-of-the-art research facilities.

The faculty of ACO includes authors for prestigious journals and fellows of the American Academy of Optometry, who benefit from grants like the most recent one for $100,000. To help students become the best possible healthcare professionals, the program also offers clinical rotations in community faculties and pre-clinical simulations.

Students who want to enroll in this exceptional program should strive for more than just excellence in their undergraduate science courses. However, they should also get as much hands-on experience as they can by working with an active optometrist, as the admissions committee values this.

All of these statistics indicate that this is one of the top optometry programs in the country. But none of these achievements or records would have been possible without the support of the faculty, staff, state-of-the-art research facilities, and tools.

Pre-clinical simulations are a requirement for the curriculum, and students will have the chance to complete clinical rotations in community hospitals. Students are motivated in this way to excel as caregivers and optometrists.

You must put in a lot of effort in your undergrad science classes and have true personal interests that meet the requirements if you want to be eligible to attend Arizona College of Optometry. A practicing optometrist will allow you to gain experience, which will greatly increase your chances of admission.

3. Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, Davie, Florida

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry

Students at the Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry are required to take science and clinical courses for two years. You are not, however, the only person aspiring to be an optometrist.

That's because the school offers top-notch assistance to students, including funding for international mission trips and cutting-edge technology for a quality education. The school's faculty also includes members of the American Academy of Optometry and specialists in eye exams.

The College of Optometry has a remarkable pass rate of 97.62%. However, it's crucial to keep in mind that there are only 94 students enrolled there each year, making it a very difficult college to get into.

The mission of the school, which includes educating and training ophthalmologists to the highest standards of competence, honesty, and professionalism, is reflected in this record. Because of this, this university continues to produce a sizable number of optometrists each year in the Southeast.

The College of Optometry at Nova Southeastern University has a lot to offer students in terms of funding and cutting-edge equipment. This guarantees that students who attend will receive a comprehensive education to aid them in the future.

At Nova Southeastern University's College of Optometry, students spend two years learning science and another two years studying clinical topics. However, students receive unmatched support from the institution, from financing for overseas mission trips to providing cutting-edge technology to all attendees, regardless of what field of study they are in. The faculty of the school also includes leaders in the field of ocular testing and fellows of the American Academy of Optometry.

4. SUNY College of Optometry, New York

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
SUNY College of Optometry

Despite being ranked fourth on this list, the SUNY College of Optometry in New York is one of the best. Additionally, only 23% of applicants are accepted, making it one of the most selective processes.

A 3.5 GPA and an average OAT score of 345 are prerequisites. But with a 96.84 percent success rate and a streamlined curriculum, you won't have any trouble finishing the course.

Students at this college receive $4 million each year for program-related research projects. The list of notable graduates shows that attending this university places you in good company.

This college has earned a reputation for producing some of the best optometrists we have yet to meet over the years. Any student who graduates from this college will undoubtedly have numerous opportunities because they were accepted, after all.

The SUNY College of Optometry has produced some outstanding doctors over the course of its 50-year existence, but two of its most recent graduates are the 2019 American Optometric Association (AOA) Optometrist of the Year and the 2019 Johnson & Johnson Vision Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care winner.

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5. The University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry, Birmingham, Alabama

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry

The University of Alabama receives a lot of funding; according to recent records, the institution received over $325 million. The School of Optometry, one of the best in the world, received the majority of that money.

Students receive practical clinical training at the premier UAB Eye Care facility. The School of Optometry also equips aspiring optometrists with the knowledge and skills they'll need to benefit their community.

In the program, the school graduates 97.87% of students, placing superior patient care and research at the top of every priority list. You can get your own NIH grants as a graduate student or student optometrist to carry out additional research to advance eye care.

6. Ohio State University College of Optometry, Columbus

It's not surprising that the Ohio State University's College of Optometry is well-regarded in the industry given that it's one of the best state universities in the nation.

It is well known for its pioneers in optical technology, writers for the top medical journals in the nation, and esteemed faculty members. As a result, major scholarships are typically beneficial to students and faculty to support and sustain research efforts. The Low Vision Educational Grant is one of them.

Here, students come first, so get ready to accomplish your objectives. With a 96.83% graduation rate, your diligence will be rewarded. You'll have access to state-of-the-art tools, amiable tutors, and a setting that will increase your productivity.

The Ohio State University College of Optometry accepts a small number of students each year in an effort to produce excellent optometrists, similar to some of the top schools of optometry in this country.

The program is praised by current students for its cutting-edge tools and helpful faculty, an impressive achievement at a school that only accepts 64 students a year. These figures demonstrate that the school is successful in achieving its objectives of producing excellent optometrists and conducting ground-breaking research.

7. The University of Missouri St. Louis College of Optometry, St. Louis

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
University of Missouri at St. Louis College of Optometry

Anywhere in the United States, you have a decent chance of enrolling in this optometry program. It is a fantastic choice for aspiring optometrists, with a 31% admissions rate and a 95.65% pass rate.

In order to ensure that the vast majority of their students graduate, they recruit aspiring optometrists from all over the nation and support them throughout the entire program.

The school is also dedicated to highlighting its core values of community, growth, responsibility, and discovery throughout all of its courses. In order to accomplish all of this, the school encourages students to take part in a variety of initiatives, such as diversity and inclusion.

The St. Louis College of Optometry also prioritizes enhancing low-income residents' access to care. Students who want to attend the College of Optometry at UMiss-SL should prepare solid letters of recommendation, a significant amount of volunteer work, and strong test scores and grades.

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8. UC Berkeley School of Optometry

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
UC Berkeley School of Optometry

The University of California, Berkley School of Optometry was founded as the third optometry school in the nation in 1923. The American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry have since featured teachers and graduates from the school as their presidents.

In addition, regardless of the quantity of awards received, the institution continues to give priority to students who finish their degrees. It is not surprising that the school has a success rate of 92.54 percent.

The educational standards are nothing less than excellent and of the highest caliber. Everything is done to support students in becoming successful. In keeping with that, patients meet optometry students in their first year and continue to work with them for about 2,500 hours after they graduate. In addition, students who want to conduct research can visit the Clinical Research Center.

9. Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), Chicago, Illinois

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
Illinois College of Optometry

Choosing the Illinois College of Optometry will give you a facility committed to excellence.

Although the majority of ICO's 160 graduates each year choose to focus on practicing optometry rather than transforming the bread industry, the organization's 92.54% pass rate demonstrates its commitment to teaching. The Illinois Eye Institute is where students receive their education and gain practical experience. Additionally, ICO offers residency programs in ocular disease and everything from vision rehabilitation to it.

The fact that these resources are located on a lovely campus in the middle of Chicago makes the student body feel both supported and challenged.

ICO also provides residency programs in ophthalmology and visual rehabilitation, among other specialties. If this is the school you want to attend, you'll graduate and work alongside some of the best ophthalmologists in Chicago and the Midwest.

10. University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry

Top 10 Most Prestigious Optometry Schools in the US Today
University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry

UPIKE, which is located in the Appalachian Mountains, houses the sole optometry college in Kentucky. The school, however, does not rely solely on its exclusivity. The UPIKE College of Optometry, which was established in 2016 and has since trained future doctors in a state-of-the-art $60 million+ Health Professions Education Building, has already improved the health of its neighborhood.

The school also actively supports its future students by developing a grant to assist in defraying the costs associated with those taking the Optometry Admissions Test.

The acceptance rate for UPIKE's optometry program is 38%, which is comparatively high. Despite this large number, the school has a remarkable 91.89% pass rate, demonstrating its dedication to providing its students with the necessary tools. These figures show the UPIKE College of Optometry's dedication to training the following generation of vision specialists.

Who's a doctor of optometry?

Optometrists, pioneers in primary eye care, assist patients and their families in taking the first step toward having healthier bodies and eyes. Doctors of optometry can assist patients in finding the best prevention strategies or the next steps in formal diagnosis and treatment if a disease or other condition is found.

A vibrant sunset. a recognized face. the allure of commonplace things that surround us.

Your eyes work extremely hard every minute of the day to see the world, which is why having healthy vision is so crucial. However, the annual American Eye-Q survey conducted by AOA found that:

• 4 in 10 Americans lack the knowledge necessary to properly care for their eyes.

• Nearly half of millennials agree with the 25 percent of Americans who believe they don't need an eye exam if their vision is clear.

• A diagnosis of an eye disease is a component of a typical comprehensive eye exam, but half of Americans (52%) are unaware of this.

Beyond hazy vision, comprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor are essential. Over 16 million Americans struggle with undiagnosed or untreated vision impairments, which a thorough eye exam could have detected. Vision changes over time. Primary eye care practitioners in America examine asymptomatic patients who come in for thorough eye exams every day, only to later diagnose them with serious eye and health conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration as well as STDs, brain tumors, and other ailments.

Who is a doctor of optometry/optometrist?

The frontline of eye and vision care is provided by doctors of optometry (O.D.s/optometrists), who are America's primary eye health care providers. Optometrists are recognized as physicians by Medicare and are crucial members of the medical community. They look at, identify, manage, and treat eye diseases and disorders. In addition to offering eye and vision care, they also have a significant impact on a person's general health and wellbeing by identifying systemic diseases, identifying, treating, and managing their ocular manifestations, and administering vaccinations.

Optometry doctors:

Prescribe medication, perform specific surgical procedures, and provide low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacles, and contact lenses.

Patients should be given information on surgical and non-surgical options that can meet their visual needs in relation to their jobs, hobbies, and lifestyles.

The doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree requires successful completion of pre-professional undergraduate studies at a college or university and four years of professional training at an optometry college. Many optometrists complete a second residency in a particular field of practice.

There are more than 30,000 optometrists in the United States who can offer high-quality services for vision and eye health. Make an appointment with a nearby AOA doctor right away to put your health first!

Bottom Line

To acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to practice optometry, formal education at an accredited institution is required. It's crucial to enter your chosen field with the appropriate education and training under your belt.

Finally, you can imagine how challenging your education will be at some of the top optometry schools in the United States if you decide to pursue this field.

You can build a successful career as an optometrist, however, if you have access to world-class academic programs, equipment, optometrists, and research facilities. Clinicals at any of the aforementioned schools will be geared toward helping you develop a genuine concern for your patients and their communities.

You can now investigate the prerequisites of the top optometry schools in the United States. You can also easily locate them in cyberspace. Prepare yourself for a satisfying educational experience at any of these optometry schools.

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