Updated on  January 12, 2023
9 min read

Best Optometry Colleges in the U.S. [2023 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 diseases of the eyes. 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) so you can 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 when will best prepare you for a career in optometry. 

Some factors to consider include:

Location

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

Tuition costs may be higher than in other health professions because optometry requires extensive training. The average tuition per semester can range between $15,000 and $40,500. However, some programs offer scholarships and grants.

Facilities

The facilities in a school are important to consider. Schools with modern equipment have better resources for 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 your learning opportunity. For instance, a small class size means more personal attention. On the other hand, large classes mean less individualized attention.

Faculty

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 stayed in a similar range 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 employment 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 

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

1. University of California, 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 that includes 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 a wide range of 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 the Fall of 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. 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.

This 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 All Colleges and Schools of Optometry in the United States

State School Address Phone No.
Alabama University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry Henry Peters Building1716 University BlvdBirmingham, AL 35233 (205) 934-3036
Arizona Arizona College of Optometry - Midwestern University  19555 N 59th Ave. Glendale, AZ 85308 (623) 572-3200
California Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92831 (714) 449-7400
California University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry Minor Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720 (510) 642-2020
California WesternU College of Optometry 701 E 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766 (909) 623-6116
Florida College of Optometry, Nova Southeastern University 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796 (800) 541-6682
Illinois Chicago College of Optometry, Midwestern University 555 31st St, Downers Grove, IL 60515 (630) 960-3007
Illinois Illinois College of Optometry 3241 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60616 (312) 949-7000
Indiana Indiana University School of Optometry 107 S. Indiana Avenue Bloomington, IN 47405-7000 (812) 855 4447
Kentucky Kentucky College of Optometry, University of Pikeville 147 Sycamore St, Pikeville, KY 41501 (606) 218-5250
Massachusetts School of Optometry, MCPHS University 179 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115 (617) 732 2850
Massachusetts New England College of Optometry 424 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02115 (617) 266-2030
Michigan Michigan College of Optometry, Ferris State University 1124 S State St, Big Rapids, MI 49307 (231) 591 3700
Missouri St. Louis College of Optometry, University of Missouri 1 University Blvd. 331 Marillac Hall St. Louis, MO 63121-4400 (314) 516-5606
New York College of Optometry, State University of New York (SUNY) 33 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036 (212) 938-4000
Ohio The Ohio State University College of Optometry 338 W 10th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210 (614) 292-2647
Oklahoma Oklahoma College of Optometry, Northeastern State University 1001 N Grand Ave, Tahlequah, OK 74464 (918) 444-4000
Oregon Pacific University College of Optometry 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116 (503)-352-6151
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Salus University 8360 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 1907 (215) 780-1400
Puerto Rico School of Optometry, Inter American University of Puerto Rico 500 John Will Harris, Bayamón, 00957, Puerto Rico (787) 765-1915
Tennessee Southern College of Optometry 1245 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN (901)-722-3200
Texas University of Houston College of Optometry 4849 Calhoun Rd #100, Houston, TX 77004 (713) 743-7141
Texas School of Optometry, University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg 9725 Datapoint Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229 (210) 883-1190
Utah College of Optometry, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions 122 E 1700 S building 3, Provo, UT 84606 (801) 375-5125

Colleges/Schools of Optometry in Canada

Québec Université de Montréal 3744 Rue Jean-Brillant Bureau 110, Montréal, QC H3T 1P1 (514) 343-6082
Ontario University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science University of Waterloo, 200 Columbia St W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 (519) 888-4567 ext. 33178
Updated on  January 12, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on  January 12, 2023
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