Updated on  February 21, 2024
10 min read

Best Optometry Colleges in the U.S. [2024 Ranking]

6 sources cited
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How to Become an Eye Doctor (Quick Overview)

An eye doctor is a medical professional who diagnoses and treats eye diseases. 

To become an eye doctor, you must:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree, preferably with an emphasis on pre-med or biological sciences.
  2. Pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) to apply to an optometry program.
  3. Get accepted into an optometry school and complete your Doctor of Optometry (OD) program.
  4. Gain experience in clinical practice under supervision by an experienced eye care provider.
  5. Pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam. You should also pass any additional tests required to practice optometry in your region.
  6. Consider getting additional certifications, such as the American Board of Optometry board certification.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Optometry School

Choosing an optometry school can be difficult, but knowing which factors to consider and when will best prepare you for a career in optometry. 

Some factors to consider for optometry programs include:


When attending an optometry school, it’s recommended to find an accessible one. Consider how long it takes to get to school if you’re commuting. If you’re staying close to school, you may want to look at housing options.


Tuition costs may be higher than in other health sciences professions because optometry requires extensive training. 

The average tuition per semester for optometry schools ranges between $15,000 and $40,500. However, some programs offer scholarships and grants.


The facilities in a school are important to consider. Schools with modern equipment have better resources for optometry students. 

Look for schools with state-of-the-art technology and laboratories for better learning. 

Student Body

When choosing an optometry school, the student body size can affect learning opportunities. 

A small class size means more personal attention. On the other hand, large classes mean less individualized attention.


Optometry faculty members play a vital role in teaching students. They provide guidance on coursework and help students succeed. 

Faculty members can vary in expertise and knowledge, so choosing a faculty that matches your interests and goals is essential.

Optometry School Applicant Statistics 

The number of applicants has remained similar for the past five years.

In 2017, there were over 2,527 OptomCAS-verified applicants for the 23 schools and colleges of optometry.1 This number rose to 2,684 individuals for the 2020-2021 application cycle.

Here are some additional statistics about the 2020-2021 application cycle from the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry:2 

  • 2,684 people applied for admission to the schools and colleges of optometry in the United States, with a total number of 12,513 applications
  • The average number of applications per applicant was 4.66
  • Applicants had an average overall cumulative GPA of 3.36

According to IBISWorld, there are 162,791 people employed in the Optometrists industry in the U.S. as of 2022.3

In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has the following statistics regarding optometry:

  • The median annual wage for optometrists was $124,300 in May 2021
  • 2.47% of industry employees are employed in the offices of other health practitioners
  • Outpatient care centers are the highest-paid industry for optometrists, with a mean hourly wage of $84.13

12 Best Optometry Schools

12 best optometry schools in the US

These are the 12 best optometry schools you can attend in the U.S.: 

1. UC Berkeley School of Optometry

The University of California, Berkeley has the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. They provide over 400 hours of preclinical training during your first two years. By the time you graduate, you will have examined over 2,500 patients.

Address: Minor Hall, 380 Minor Ln, Berkeley, CA 94720
Website: https://optometry.berkeley.edu/
Phone: (510) 642-2020

2. Illinois College of Optometry

The Illinois College of Optometry offers an innovative curriculum where you work with real patients in the clinic from your first year.

The curriculum combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience in their state-of-the-art clinical facilities. This helps ensure that you are prepared to practice optometry in any setting.

Address: 3241 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60616
Website: http://www.ico.edu
Phone: (312) 949-7000

3. Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Salus University

The Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University is one of the oldest optometry schools in the country. They offer a comprehensive curriculum with early clinical experience and extensive externships. 

You can also enhance your program through elective courses and/or a residency program. An accelerated program is also available, allowing you to complete your optometry degree through a 36-month campus-based program.

Address: 8360 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 1907
Website: https://www.salus.edu/optometry
Phone: (215) 780-1400

4. University of Houston College of Optometry

The University of Houston College of Optometry offers a comprehensive curriculum with clinical experience in its state-of-the-art facilities. With the U.H. Health – Eye Care clinic, you can practice optometry in a real-world setting.

U.H.’s optometry program also offers a different set of training every year. This allows you to have a unique learning experience.

Address: 4849 Calhoun Rd #100, Houston, TX 77004
Website: http://www.opt.uh.edu
Phone: (210) 883-1190

5. Western University College of Optometry

Western University College of Optometry’s curriculum is designed to prepare you for a successful career in optometry. They emphasize optometric rehabilitation, including neuro-optometry. 

The WesternU Health Eye Care Institute also offers various clinical services. They have extensive experience in treating all types of vision and eye conditions. 

Address: 701 E 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766
Website: https://www.westernu.edu/optometry/
Phone: (909) 623-6116

6. Indiana University School of Optometry

Indiana University’s School of Optometry offers a four-year course that covers clinical and practical facets of optometry. Their Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree program makes you ready to examine patients in just 20 months. 

Address: 107 S. Indiana Avenue Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
Website: http://www.optometry.iu.edu
Phone: (812) 855 4447

7. University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry has an excellent program that prepares you for a successful career in optometry. Their program also emphasizes optometric research, allowing you to work on projects with faculty members.

They also allow you to combine your four-year Doctor of Optometry degree with an additional degree. This allows you to understand the complexities of optometry better.

Address: Henry Peters Building, 1716 University Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35233
Website: https://www.uab.edu/optometry/home/
Phone: (205) 934-3036

8. Midwestern University – Arizona College of Optometry

The Midwestern University – Arizona College of Optometry opened its Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree program in Fall 2009. Although relatively new, the program is already highly respected.

Their curriculum offers face-to-face instruction, an inter-health professional campus, and early exposure to clinical settings.

Address: 19555 N 59th Ave. Glendale, AZ 85308
Website: https://www.midwestern.edu/academics/our-colleges/arizona-college-of-optometry
Phone: (623) 572-3200

9. Southern California College of Optometry

The Southern California College of Optometry offers a well-rounded program that covers various aspects of optometry.

Their curriculum has an impressive network of residency sites and offers exceptional resident training. This allows you to gain experience in various optometry settings. 

Address: 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92831
Website: https://www.ketchum.edu/optometry
Phone: (714) 449-7400 

10. University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry 

The Kentucky College of Optometry has a community of faculty and staff dedicated to helping you become a successful optometrist.

Their curriculum is designed to provide unique clinical experiences and a challenging curriculum. This allows you to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career in optometry.

Address: 147 Sycamore St, Pikeville, KY 41501
Website: http://www.upike.edu/KYCO
Phone: (606) 218-5250 

11. Pacific University

Pacific University’s College of Optometry prepares you for optometry licensure and practice. Their program consists of academic and laboratory experiences integrated with clinical work.

Address: 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116
Website: http://www.pacificu.edu/optometry/
Phone: (503)-352-6151

12. The Ohio State University College of Optometry

The Ohio State University is one of the largest universities in the U.S. In their Doctor of Optometry program, you’ll learn from the finest optometrists in the world.

Their program blends clinical and research so that you receive an excellent education that prepares you for an optometry career. 

Address: 338 W 10th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210
Website: http://optometry.osu.edu
Phone: (614) 292-2647 

Optometry Career Outlook

There is a positive outlook regarding optometry careers. This means that job opportunities should increase in the following years:

Here are some statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Employment of optometrists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031.
  • On average, there are also about 1,700 openings for optometrists projected each year, on average, over the decade.

The increase in opportunities for optometry jobs results from better technology in the field. Some of the openings are also from professionals who have left the field. This may be due to retirement or a change of career direction.

List of Colleges and Schools of Optometry in the U.S.

StateSchoolWebsiteAddressPhone No.
AlabamaUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometryhttps://www.uab.edu/optometry/home/ Henry Peters Building1716 University BlvdBirmingham, AL 35233(205) 934-3036
ArizonaArizona College of Optometry – Midwestern University https://www.midwestern.edu/academics/our-colleges/arizona-college-of-optometry 19555 N 59th Ave. Glendale, AZ 85308(623) 572-3200
CaliforniaSouthern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum Universityhttps://www.ketchum.edu/optometry 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92831(714) 449-7400
CaliforniaUC Berkeley School of Optometryhttps://optometry.berkeley.edu Minor Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720(510) 642-2020
CaliforniaWesternU College of Optometryhttps://www.westernu.edu/optometry/ 701 E 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766(909) 623-6116
FloridaNova Southeastern University College of Optometryhttp://optometry.nova.edu/ 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796(800) 541-6682
IllinoisChicago College of Optometry, Midwestern Universityhttps://www.midwestern.edu/admissions/apply/doctor-of-optometry-in-downers-grove.xml555 31st St, Downers Grove, IL 60515(630) 960-3007
IllinoisIllinois College of Optometryhttp://www.ico.edu 3241 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60616(312) 949-7000
IndianaIndiana University School of Optometryhttp://www.optometry.iu.edu 107 S. Indiana Avenue Bloomington, IN 47405-7000(812) 855 4447
KentuckyKentucky College of Optometry, University of Pikevillehttp://www.upike.edu/KYCO 147 Sycamore St, Pikeville, KY 41501(606) 218-5250
MassachusettsSchool of Optometry, MCPHS Universityhttps://www.mcphs.edu/academics/school-of-optometry/optometry/optometry-od 179 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115(617) 732 2850
MassachusettsNew England College of Optometryhttp://www.neco.edu 424 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02115(617) 266-2030
MichiganMichigan College of Optometry, Ferris State Universityhttp://www.ferris.edu/mco 1124 S State St, Big Rapids, MI 49307(231) 591 3700
MissouriSt. Louis College of Optometry, University of Missourihttp://www.umsl.edu/divisions/optometry 1 University Blvd. 331 Marillac Hall St. Louis, MO 63121-4400(314) 516-5606
New YorkSUNY College of Optometryhttp://www.sunyopt.edu 33 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036(212) 938-4000
OhioThe Ohio State University College of Optometryhttp://optometry.osu.edu 338 W 10th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210(614) 292-2647
OklahomaOklahoma College of Optometry, Northeastern State Universityhttps://optometry.nsuok.edu/ 1001 N Grand Ave, Tahlequah, OK 74464(918) 444-4000
OregonPacific University College of Optometryhttp://www.pacificu.edu/optometry/ 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116(503)-352-6151
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania College of Optometry, Salus Universityhttps://www.salus.edu/optometry 8360 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 1907(215) 780-1400
Puerto RicoSchool of Optometry, Inter American University of Puerto Ricohttp://www.optonet.inter.edu 500 John Will Harris, Bayamón, 00957, Puerto Rico(787) 765-1915
TennesseeSouthern College of Optometryhttp://www.sco.edu 1245 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN(901)-722-3200
TexasUniversity of Houston College of Optometryhttp://www.opt.uh.edu 4849 Calhoun Rd #100, Houston, TX 77004(713) 743-7141
TexasSchool of Optometry, University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberghttp://www.uiw.edu/optometry 9725 Datapoint Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229(210) 883-1190
UtahCollege of Optometry, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionshttps://rm.edu/optometry/ 122 E 1700 S building 3, Provo, UT 84606(801) 375-5125

List of Colleges and Schools of Optometry in Canada

QuébecUniversité de Montréalhttps://www.umontreal.ca 3744 Rue Jean-Brillant Bureau 110, Montréal, QC H3T 1P1(514) 343-6082
OntarioUniversity of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Sciencehttps://uwaterloo.ca/optometry-vision-science/ University of Waterloo, 200 Columbia St W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1(519) 888-4567 ext. 33178
Updated on  February 21, 2024
6 sources cited
Updated on  February 21, 2024
  1. “Optometry Centralized Application ServiceOptom CAS Applicant Data Report – A National Snapshot 2018-2019.” Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. 
  2. “Applicant/Student Profile and Prerequisites.” Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.
  3. “Optometrists in the US – Employment Statistics 2003–2028.” IBISWorld, 2022.
  4. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Optometrists.” US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  5. “Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics.” US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  6. Zadnik K, Reich LN. “An Analysis of the Optometric Applicant Pool Relative to Matriculants.” Optom Vis Sci, 2019.
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