To become an optometrist, you must earn the Doctor of Optometry degree which requires you to complete of a four-year program at an accredited optometry school. In 2002, 17 U.S. schools and colleges of optometry held an accredited status with the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association.

 Our pre-optometry program will prepare you to meet the admission requirements for optometry school. Many of our students decide to apply to the Indiana University School of Optometry, so we based our program on IU's admission requirements; you may, however, explore other schools and should refer to their specific admission requirements. For a list of schools of optometry, visit the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry's Web site.

About Optometrists

  • Also known as doctors of optometry, or ODs 
  • Provide most primary vision care 
  • Examine people's eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases 
  • Test patients' visual acuity, depth and color perception, and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes 
  • Prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses and provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation 
  • Should not be confused with ophthalmologists or dispensing opticians. 
    • Ophthalmologists are physicians who perform eye surgery, and diagnose and treat eye diseases and injuries. Like optometrists, they also examine eyes and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. 
    • Dispensing opticians fit and adjust eyeglasses and, in some states, may fit contact lenses according to prescriptions written by ophthalmologists or optometrists. 
  • All states and the District of Columbia require licensing to practice

Discover more information about optometry, including salary averages from the Department of Labor.

As with many other professional health care-related programs, admission to optometry school can be a rigorous and competitive process. Factors to consider include:

  • Your Home-State School: Indiana University 
  • Optometry Admission Test (OAT Score) 
  • Academic Evaluation and Personal Attributes
  • Community and Research Involvement

Admission to IU School of Optometry
A new class begins each fall. Applications are to be submitted by January 1. Both the October and February test dates of the Optometry Admission Test may be used for admission for the following August. Applications filed between January 1 and July 1 will be processed as received, and selections will be made as long as vacancies exist.

Applications may be submitted two semesters in advance of completion of the pre-optometry requirements and will be considered if transcripts show a reasonable possibility that all requirements will be met.

Optometry Admission Test
Applicants are judged academically by high school rank, college grades, and OAT test scores. Among these criteria, the college grades carry slightly more weight than the others. The average GPA of those admitted during the past three years is 3.4 with OAT scores greater than 325.

Personal attributes are determined by character recommendations, interview reports, accounts of participation in extracurricular activities, work experience, recognitions received, and the narrative explaining how optometry became their career choice.