21+ Best Optometry Schools in USA 2023 | Latest Ranking

Best Optometry Schools in USA-world-study-portal

Having been to an optometrist myself, I believe this is one of the best career choices anyone interested in medical studies can choose.

Are you a medical student? still, confused about where to specialize? well, read through this article to see if optometry is a good career for you.

As the eye is supposed to be the body’s window to the world, any profession that focuses on eye care should be approached with extreme caution. As a result, we have compiled a list of the best optometry schools in USA.

That being said let’s dive in…

Who is an optometrist?

Optometrists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat vision issues such as refractive errors (nearsightedness or farsightedness), astigmatism, cataracts, glaucoma, eye injuries from accidents or illness, age-related macular degeneration, and other degenerative eye illnesses.

The Best Optometry Schools offer a tough coursework program at a reasonable cost to students.

Before making any decisions about which school is suitable for them, prospective applicants should look into not just all aspects of their future education but also how they will pay their tuition fees.

If you’re thinking about enrolling in a costly program like Optometry Schools, look into loan and financial assistance possibilities so that your hard-earned money may go toward something other than student debt!

Why is Optometry important?

Optometrists are extremely valuable in modern culture because the eyes are such an integral component of our lives. They are trained on how to examine a patient’s vision using a variety of tools.

They also learn to diagnose eye disorders and provide treatment to improve a person’s overall health by inspecting their eyes.

Optometrists are trained to treat people who have vision difficulties or are developing them as a result of a decreased capacity to adjust their eyes to changes in light and distance, which is a common problem as we get older.

so, if you are asking if this is a good career for you, I bet you are reconsidering already.

Is an optometrist a real doctor?

This is a question that many individuals ask themselves. There is no perfect way to answer this but the truth is a YES and a NO.

Optometrists are healthcare practitioners who have earned a Ph.D. in optometry from an approved university or college. (This can be obtained by attending one of the best optometry schools in US)

They do not, however, have the same authority as other medical practitioners such as surgeons or physicians because their training does not allow them to manage life-threatening situations such as surgery.

Students attending some of these best optometry schools in the United States will gain practical experience in both human anatomy and physiology, allowing them to better understand how to treat patients who may require reconstructive surgery as a result of accidents or illness, age-related macular degeneration, and other degenerative eye diseases.

That being said, What does the optometrist do?

What does the optometrist do?

Optometrists examine people’s eyes to determine their vision. They determine whether a person has 20/20 vision, the ability to see clearly without glasses, or if they have some degree of myopia or farsightedness.

In some areas, they can also prescribe drugs in addition to glasses, contact lenses, and other visual aids. Minor procedures may be performed by some optometrists.

They also search for symptoms of deterioration due to disorders like high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as eye diseases like glaucoma.

Some optometrists specialize in treating individuals with specific vision impairments, as well as youngsters and the elderly.

How long does it take to study in optometry schools?

It takes seven to nine years to complete your education to become an optometrist: three to four years of college plus four years of optometry school. An optional one-year clinical residency for specialization is available.

The length of time it takes optometrists to complete their education varies depending on a variety of circumstances, but it normally takes between seven and nine years. Imagine graduating with the knowledge that your abilities could save patients’ eyesight.

What is the level of competition in optometry schools?

According to Wikipedia; Optometry colleges are extremely competitive, and most applicants have a bachelor’s degree before applying. The majority of OD programs last four years. Some students choose to participate in a one-year residency program to gain additional training in a certain field.

Most optometry schools have an average grade point average of 3.40 or above, thus some students join with 4.0s and others with 3.0s.

How much do optometrists earn?

The average salary of an optometrist in May 2019 was $106,040, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with the majority earning between $52,810 and $192,050 per year.

The majority of optometrists worked at the offices of other health providers, and these employers paid them an average of $114,260 per year.

As one moves up the professional ladder, middle-level junior optometrists can expect to make at least $83,460 per year, while senior optometrists can earn up to $136,270 per year.

Optometrists with the highest success and experience in the United States. They were paid an average of $190,000.

Starting salaries for freshly qualified optometrists in Europe range from £15,000 to £20,000, depending on the job and area.

With experience, you can earn anywhere between £28,000 and £65,000. The success of the firm determines the profits of the company’s directors, partners, and independent professionals.

What are the best optometry schools In USA?

If you want to study optometry in the United States, this list of optometry schools in usa will be a good place to start;

#1. Southern College of Optometry (Memphis, TN)

Southern College of Optometry (Memphis, TN)
Southern College of Optometry (Memphis, TN)

First on our list of the best optometry schools in the United States is the great Southern College of Optometry in Memphis and TN.

Not minding the fact that it was founded in 1932, the Southern College of Optometry is still going strong.

The school has just expanded by $ 9.4 million, adding the latest technology to its buildings. Also on campus is the Eye Center, an educational facility that provides students with hands-on clinical training while caring for the school’s 60,000 patients.

Unsurprisingly, nearly all of the 136 students enrolled each year complete the program, giving SCO a record success rate of 98.5%.
COS graduates include top optometrists, including fourteen presidents of the American Optometric Association. It’s easy to see why SCO students continue to stay in school with a 9: 1 student-to-teacher ratio and over 60 funded scholarships offered each year.

They’re getting the help and attention they need to become the best opticians in the country.

#2. Arizona College of Optometry at Midwestern University – Glendale (Glendale, AZ)

2. Arizona College of Optometry at Midwestern University – Glendale (Glendale, AZ)
Arizona College of Optometry at Midwestern University – Glendale (Glendale, AZ)

Not only do 98 percent of Arizona College of Optometry students pass their examinations, but 92.7 percent pass part I of the NBEO exam and 100 percent pass part II of the NBEO exam.

That remarkable group of students has an average GPA of 3.53 and an OAT score of 624.

These students, however, do not succeed on their own; they have the support of ACO’s renowned faculty and cutting-edge research facilities.

Contributors to prestigious journals and colleagues of the American Academy of Optometry make up ACO’s faculty, which is sponsored by grants such as a recent $100,000 grant.

Additionally, the curriculum offers clinical rotations in community faculties as well as pre-clinical simulations to help students become the greatest healthcare practitioners they can be.

Students interested in participating in this unique program should work hard not only in their undergrad science studies but also in their extracurricular activities.

However, they should obtain as much experience as possible working with a practicing optometrist, as this is something the admission board looks for.

#3. The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (Birmingham, AL)

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry

The National Institutes of Health awarded UAB more than $325 million in research funding last year, the majority of which went to the School of Optometry.

With that type of backing, it’s no surprise that UAB’s School of Optometry is regarded as one of the best in the field.

The School of Optometry provides future vision care experts with the information and expertise they’ll need to serve their community by providing hands-on clinical training at the world-class UAB Eye Care center.

Because the school graduates 97.87 percent of students in the program, those superb resources are fantastic news for folks in the Birmingham area and beyond.

These doctors not only give exceptional treatment to their patients, but they also continue the good research of their alma mater, obtaining their own NIH grants while still being students at the UAB School of Optometry.

#4. Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry (Davie, FL)

Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry (Davie, FL)
Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry (Davie, FL)

This is yet another Top optometry school in USA.

Students at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry split their time between two years of science and two years of clinical courses.

Students receive exceptional help from the institution, from funding mission trips around the world to modern technology for all participants, regardless of the field of study they’re in.

The school also has a faculty that includes members of the American Academy of Optometry and eye test experts.

The NSU College of Optometry has an outstanding pass rate of 97.62 percent, which is particularly noteworthy for our list. These figures suggest that the school is dedicated to “preparing, educating and training ophthalmologists to the highest levels of competence, integrity and professionalism” as stated in its mission statement.

Nova produces a notable group of optometrists in the Southeast with classes of 94 students per year.

#5. SUNY College of Optometry (New York, NY)

SUNY College of Optometry (New York, NY)
SUNY College of Optometry (New York, NY)

SUNY only accepts 23% of students who apply to their optometry college, making them one of the most exclusive on this list.

The school has high expectations for its freshmen, requiring an average of 3.5 GPA and an average OAT score of 345.

But almost everyone who participates in the program graduates at the right time, which gives the school a 96.84% success rate.

Students in the program receive $ 4 million annually for research programs.

SUNY College of Optometry has graduated some incredible optometrists in its 50-year history, but its most recent alumni include the American Optometric Association (AOA) 2019 Optometrist of the Year and the 2019 Johnson & Johnson Vision Award of Excellence in Contact Lenses recipient Patient care.

#6. Ohio State University College of Optometry (Columbus, OH)

Ohio State University College of Optometry
Ohio State University College of Optometry

We can’t list the top optometry schools in USA without mentioning the Ohio State University College of Optometry.

The Ohio State University is known as one of the largest state universities in the country, so it’s no surprise that its College of Optometry is highly respected.

The college’s faculty consists of the inventors of optical technology, writers of the best medical publications in the country, and the most distinguished members of the most prominent faculty organizations.

major scholarships, such as the Prentice Medal Award for Distinguished Scientists and the Low Vision Educational Grant, provide additional support for students and faculty.

Despite its research goal, the OSU College of Optometry does not forget its students with a success rate of 96.83%. Current students praise the program’s cutting-edge resources and friendly teachers, which is an incredible achievement for a school that only accepts 64 students per year.

These numbers suggest the school is successful in its mission of producing great optometrists and doing cutting-edge research.

#7. University of Missouri at St. Louis College of Optometry (St. Louis, MO)

Ohio State University College of Optometry
Ohio State University College of Optometry

UMiss-SL College of Optometry has an admissions rate of 31% and a pass rate of 95.65%, which suggests it is doing something right. They recruit potential optometrists from across the country and support them throughout the program to ensure the vast majority of their students graduate.

The school’s principles of growth, responsibility, discovery, and community align with its commitment to students.

Students and faculty have actively participated in programs to improve vision care for those who need it most, such as low-cost optical kits, diversity and inclusion programs, and to improve accessibility for the city’s low-income population.

Students interested in the UMiss-SL College of Optometry should plan for strong letters of recommendation and hours of service, as well as good test scores and a GPA.

#8. Illinois College of Optometry (Chicago, IL)

Illinois College of Optometry (Chicago, IL)
Illinois College of Optometry (Chicago, IL)

While the majority of the 160 annual ICO graduates practice optometry, the school’s 92.54% success rate shows its commitment to students.

The Illinois Eye Institute offers hands-on courses for undergraduate students. ICO also offers residency programs in a variety of fields including visual rehabilitation and ophthalmology.

These resources are hosted on a charming campus in the heart of Chicago, resulting in a supportive and stimulating student body. After all, ICO produces some of the best ophthalmologists in Chicago and the Midwest.

#9. UC Berkeley School of Optometry (Berkeley, CA)

UC Berkeley School of Optometry (Berkeley, CA)
UC Berkeley School of Optometry (Berkeley, CA)

The UC Berkley School of Optometry was founded in 1923 as the third university with an optometry department in the country.

The presidents of the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry have been among the school’s teachers and alumni over the years.

Even so, the 92.54 percent success rate shows that the institution prioritizes students who complete their degrees regardless of the number of awards received.

When you consider the high quality of education among the students, this number is even more astonishing.

Patients are introduced to optometry students during their first year and they spend approximately 2,500 hours with them after completing the program.

Students can also pursue their research goals through the award-winning Clinical Research Center and various additional resources.

#10. University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry (Pikeville, KY)

University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry (Pikeville, KY)
University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry (Pikeville, KY)

UPIKE is the only college for optometry in Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains. However, the school does not rely on its exclusivity.

The UPIKE College of Optometry has been promoting the health of its community since it was founded in 2016 by training future doctors in its state-of-the-art training building for health professions valued at over $ 60 million.

In addition, the school actively supports prospective students with a scholarship that helps those who take the optometric entrance test with their expenses.

The UPIKE School of Optometry has a relatively high acceptance rate of 38 percent.

Despite that large number, the school has an incredible 91.89 percent success rate, which shows its commitment to providing its students with the tools they need.

The UPIKE College of Optometry is dedicated to training the next generation of vision specialists, as these figures show.

In summary

Here is some information about other top optometry schools in the United States:

School NameLocationDistinction
Indiana University – BloomingtonBloomington, INVision science seminars are offered weekly by the School of Optometry.
Northeastern State UniversityTahlequah, OKStudents in the optometry program experience more than 60,000 patient interactions each year.
University of HoustonHouston, TXThe College of Optometry hosts a summer research program supported by the National Eye Institute.
Ohio State UniversityColumbus, OHAllows optometry students to participate in more than 100,000 patient interactions each year.
Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, FLProvides students access to five clinics and opportunities to take mission trips to foreign countries.
University of the Incarnate WordSan Antonio, TXOffers the only faith-based optometry program in the nation.
University of Missouri – St LouisSaint Louis, MOOffers a mobile eye center to provide eye care to under-served neighborhoods.

Aspiring optometrists can find OD training as well as postgraduate studies at well-regarded universities around the country.

What are the best optometry schools in the World?

Following the recent research, here is the list of the Best optometry schools in the World; this article has concise information about each of the schools.

  • University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry
  • Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Illinois College of Optometry
  • Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA
  • Faculty of Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Canberra University, Australia
  • School of Optometry Université de Montréa, Canada
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • College of Optometry of Southern California
  • Kentucky College of Optometry
  • University of Manchester, UK
  • Cardiff University, UK
  • Faculty of Optometry and Vision Sciences University of Waterloo, Canada

Frequently Asked Questions About optometry schools in usa

Is optometry school as hard as med school?

Medical schools can last up to eight years depending on the subject, but optometry is a four-year program.

The curriculum of both programs is similar and includes subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and pharmacology. The difference is in the clinical rotations that take place during medical school and are not included in an optometrist training program.

In addition to these formal degree programs, they have laboratories where students learn skills in microscopy and other equipment used by doctors diagnosing eye conditions such as corneal disease or glaucoma that require intervention.

It should be noted, however, that some universities offer combined courses in medicine and optometry instead, so you need to consider what is available before deciding on a course in optometry.

How much do optometrists earn in the USA?

Optometrists in the United States earn an average annual salary of $ 116,770. The best optometry schools are located across the country, with the highest concentration in California and New York, where schools are generally more expensive.

New York is more concentrated than California because it is closer to cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, where there is also increased demand for optometrists due to population density and the population of the elderly.

  • Attending one of the best optometry schools in the country can cost $ 50,000 or more.

Who makes more Money; pharmacists or optometrists?

The answer, by far, is pharmacist. Optometrists typically make less than $ 100,000 a year, while the average salary for pharmacists is near six-digit salaries.

An optician’s annual salary averages $ 92,380, compared to the over $ 120,000 most people make as pharmacists (according to SalaryExpert).

Add to this difference that expensive eye exams and contact lenses are required, which are a lot of ophthalmic tuition fees, while a pharmacy degree does not require such a cost other than the fee.

What year of optometry school is the hardest?

It is difficult to find the answer to this question. The first year of optometry school can be very difficult, but the later years are also challenging as students have more classes and exams than the previous semesters.

The most important thing for any student attending an optometry school is that they find their own pace and work at a level where they feel challenged but not overwhelmed.

If you are having trouble with your notes or are no longer happy to be there, make an appointment with your advisor to discuss possible solutions, such as: B. take time out until you feel ready to continue; Rethink which career path suits you best; consider relocating schools if finances allow.

Is getting into optometry school competitive?

It is not uncommon for around 50 people to apply for an open ophthalmologist position. Competition is toughest on the coasts, especially in California and New York, where schools are generally more expensive.

Optometry school admissions committees consider a variety of factors when deciding which applicants are best suited to their courses. So financial needs can be one of those qualifying variables that can tip the balance in your favor if you don’t have outstanding grades or scores.

At the School of Optometry, students spend four years studying subjects such as optics, anatomy, biochemistry, and pharmacology before receiving national guidelines (known as Part I and II) with assessments of clinical science and patient care skills that are required be documented through practical training in all -State clinics.

How many Optometry Schools in the US?

There are many optometry schools in the United States that have not been accredited but are also recognized as one of the best optometry schools in the world.

These schools are well equipped with the latest revolutionary technologies for the learning, diagnosis, and treatment of eye defects, as well as a health center or university clinics for student practice.

Here are some of the most optometry schools in the United States; The School of Optometry at the University of California at Berkeley tops the ranking of the best optometry schools in the US with a strict acceptance rate of only 15%, which shows their high competitiveness.

Next up are the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and the Western University of Health Sciences, also one of the top optometry colleges in the United States.

What is the job prospect for optometrists?

Optometrist employment is expected to grow 10% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. As vision problems become more common in later life, the aging population will increase the demand for optometrists.

How long does it take to become an optometrist?

The training to become an optician takes seven to nine years: three to four years of college plus four years of optometry school. The one-year clinical specialist training is an optional additional year.

Is there a lot of math in Optometry?

Yes, math is part of optometry, and the math we do is the physics of optics on steroids—the dreaded physiological optics.


To sum up, studying to become an optometrist is a challenge that you can take on when you are in the right school and have access to the right study team to help you be more hands-on with your study. Nonetheless, if this article was helpful please do well to share it with your colleagues and leave us a comment if you have a question our team will love to hear from you.