How Long to Become an Optometrist?

Doctor Checking Patient's Eyes Using Retinal Scanner

Few body parts prove more critical than the eyes. These features not only help individuals perform almost every pertinent task but allow them to see and enjoy the world’s beauty. Therefore, medical professionals capable of fixing various eye-related problems are valuable members of society.

 One such professional is known as an optometrist. Please continue reading to learn the jobs these eye specialists execute, in addition to the skills, education and time duration necessary to qualify for this prestigious title.

Optometrist Overview

 Optometrists are categorized as eye doctors. Said individuals complete various tasks, including eye examinations, identifying specific eye conditions, prescribing certain corrective measures and referring those necessitating surgical intervention to medical doctors.

Steps Towards Becoming An Optometrist

 Attaining this professional title requires several years of study and the completion of numerous key steps, including:

 Attaining An Undergraduate Degree

 Typically, optometrists hold Bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges or universities. Optometry is a science. Therefore, those interested in entering this field are strongly encouraged to enroll in courses covering physics, chemistry, biology and advanced mathematics. Most optometry schools expect applicants to have completed certain prerequisite science courses.

 Pass The Admissions Examination

 To gain admission into optometry school, prospective candidates must pass an entrance examination. Officially, this test is known as the Optometry Admissions Test, sometimes abbreviated as OAT. This exam is differentiated into four different sections testing the taker’s knowledge of the natural sciences, physics, reading comprehension and reasoning capacity.

 Many would-be optometrists take the examination after completing an undergraduate degree. However, applicants intent on pursuing this career may sit for the test following their first or second years of collegiate or university studies. Future optometrists can take the examination until they obtain a passing score. However, there is a time limit said individuals must allow to elapse before repeating the exam. The usual timeframe is 90 days.

 Apply To Optometry School

 Optometrists must complete at least four years of additional study at an academic institution called an optometry school. That said, candidates must first apply to and be accepted into scholastic entities offering such programs. Many academic establishments do not offer optometry programs throughout Canada and the United States. Therefore, admissions boards tend to be particularly picky in the applicants they admit.

 In addition to attaining a high grade point average and receiving a proficient score on the OAT, admissions boards often require candidates to complete an application, provide letters of recommendation, complete several hours of practical training, and interviewed with the prospective institution’s admissions staff. Certain schools might request other materials.

 Complete Studies

 Those fortunate enough to gain admission must complete four years of study in courses focusing on the structure of the eye, in addition to ocular disorders, and the diagnosis, treatment, and management of said maladies. Specific credits will likely be given for a host of scientific differentiations. Furthermore, certain students decide to specialize in a specific branch of eye care. Common areas of specialization include pediatric and geriatric optometry and eye diseases.

 Obtain Appropriate Licensures

 Upon completing all academic requirements, prospective candidates will receive certification as a Doctor of Optometry, also abbreviated as DO degrees. Before said individuals are eligible to gain employment or start their own practices, they must obtain the appropriate licensures.

 To practice the craft of optometry in Canada, prospective eye doctors must pass federal examinations administered by the Optometry Examining Board of Canada and qualifying exams in the province they intend to hold practice. In Alberta, those holding DO degrees must also become members of the Alberta College of Optometrists and meet the specific regulations mandated by said organization.

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