How do you become a vision specialist? What are the steps you need to take to become an optometrist? The road to becoming a vision specialist is pretty straightforward. There are no twists and turns. All you need is to graduate from a four-year program. This program is a combination of clinical duties and classes. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to become a full-fledged optometrist.
1st Step: Compete Your College Degree
Before you can proceed to a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) program, you must first complete and pass a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, it should be a pre-medical course or a biological science course. This will serve as your background foundation so you wouldn’t have a hard time adjusting to your O.D. program. There a few schools that only require post-secondary education of 3 years with courses like English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, or Biology.
2nd Step: Pass The Optometry Admission Tests (OAT)
Even if you successfully completed your bachelor’s degree, you still need to take an exam before you get admitted to the program. This exam is called the Optometry Admission Test or OAT. It’s a computerized exam that tests your quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, and many more. You will be asked to submit your scores together with your application letter.
3rd Step: Admission To O.D. Program
Once the panel accepts your application letter and if you pass the OAT exam, you will then be admitted to the O.D. Program. In this program, you will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the eyes, optics, the diagnosis, and treatment of various eye problems and diseases, and visual science.
4th Step: Pass The National Board
When you’ve completed your O.D. program you will then be required to take another exam. It is essential you pass all subjects of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. There are certain states in America that require you to take and pass another exam. So, wherever you plan to practice your optometry profession, make sure you inquire about the requirements.
5th Step: Get Your License
One cannot practice optometry without obtaining a license. This license will serve as your gate pass. Without this license, companies will not be able to employ you. Again, check your state if they will require another clinical exam.
The best optometrists in the world came from the best schools. That’s because good schools offer superior quality education. Not only does the school teach you the fundamentals of optometry but it also hones your skills. When looking for a school, we suggest you consider the following factors:
The structure of their curriculum and programs
Faculty tenure and composition
Licensure pass rate
Every school is different and their admission requirements vary. However, many if not all of them would require you to complete a 4-year college degree. When you apply, make sure you do it before school starts. You should also take the Optometry Admission Test or OAT since this is one of the requirements of all optometry schools in America. This test will measure your scientific and general knowledge. You may take this test as many times as you’d like. The expiration for each test result is 3 years. It’s also important that you check the school you are applying for. It has to be accredited by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. After you’ve passed the test, submit your application together with the application fee as well as letters of recommendation and your OAT score.
Some schools would require you to create a short essay to explain why you prefer optometry as your career of choice. After submitting the requirements, some schools would call you in for a one-on-one interview.
These are the steps you need to take to become a licensed optometrist.