To be "pre-optometry" means you are embarking on a course of study aimed at preparing you for application to optometry school. It means you are taking the classes and gaining the experiences that these schools look for in qualified applicants.
What type of education is required?A plan to prepare for a graduate health professional program.
Coursework required for most programs
- 1 year Biology
- 1 year General Chemistry
- 1 year General Physics
- 1 year English
- 1 year college level math
Optometrists work either in a general practice, or specialize in such areas as contact lenses, geriatrics, low vision services (for visually impaired patients), occupational vision (to protect and preserve workers' vision and minimize eye strain), pediatrics, sports vision or vision therapy. Others may choose to enter optometric education and/or perform scientific research. They practice in rural communities, suburban areas, and large cities. Some practice alone, with a partner or partners, or with other health care professionals, while others choose a career in the military, public health, or other government service. Still others may practice in hospitals, clinics, teaching institutions, and community health centers, or they may choose to be employed by another optometrist, or in the ophthalmic industry.
Career information can be found on the website for the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.
Optometry schools do not care what major you choose. They care that you do well in that major and you do well in your pre-requisite courses. Some optometry schools will accept students who have not completed a bachelors degree; however, they prefer if students have obtained an undergraduate degree.
- Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS)
- Student Health Consortium
- Unite for Sight
- VISIONEYES Pre-Optometry Club
Example four-year schedule (in advance of entering a professional program)
|Four years before||Chem 142|
Math 125 1
|Recommended activities: • Do some independent research on health careers • Join a health related student group • Take VLPA, I&S classes and/or finish your foreign language requirement|
|Three years before||Chem 237|
|Chem 239 2|
|Recommended activities: • Set-up some informational interviewing • Begin getting healthcare experience • Take classes that will prepare you for your major • Get to know at least one professor|
|Two years before||Phys 114/117 or 121|
|Phys 115/118 or 122|
|Phys 116/119 or 123|
|Recommended activities: • Attend information session the application process • Take the OAT • Plan for a "Gap Year" • Take an English writing course • Begin writing your personal statement • Submit your applications • Get to know at least two professors|
|One year before||Course work in this year will focus primarily on your major. By this year you should narrow down your school choices and review each schools' requirements to make sure you have met their prerequisites.|
|Recommended activities: • Attend an information session on interviewing • Complete your major|
1 Approximately half of the schools of optometry require two quarters of calculus.
2 Approximately half of the schools of optometry require only two quarters of organic chemistry.
Websites to visit
Applying to optometry school
Applying to medical is a year-long process. The actual application steps are:
- OAT Administered in February and October
- Submit Admissions Application for each school
- Accept your admissions
However, before you begin you must complete pre-requisite coursework; obtain letters of recommendations, and actively engage in acquiring healthcare experience.
Preparing for the gap year(s)
Consider volunteering with the following organizations: