Residency Program

The next step in your educational career: Finding a residency program

School is winding down, but your career in optometry is just getting started. You’ll want real-world experience as you journey toward becoming a doctor of optometry—and an optometric residency is your answer.

Plus, these opportunities offer recent graduates a chance to earn income while building their résumés and learning more about the field of optometry. Completing a residency is a common requirement for those leaning toward a career in optometric academia or research.

An optometric residency is an ideal next step

The AOA provides members with a list of accredited optometric residency programs from the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE). Openings also include technician programs and optometric degree programs at schools and colleges of optometry.

Currently, more than 200 accredited residency programs accommodate over 400 residents, according to the ACOE. There are 435 residency slots available. About 26 percent of optometric graduates take advantage of residencies, but the percentage is increasing.

Once you’ve selected your ideal residency opportunity, or at least narrowed it down, contact the listed program coordinator or residency supervisor for deadlines; required application materials such as school transcripts, national board exam results and letters of recommendation; interview details; and more. A current list of directors of residency programs will also be helpful in your search.


Learn what accredited optometric residency programs are available and granted by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.


Academic Timeline


Your optometric education calendar from applying to school to the board exams.

Read More

Managing Your Classes


The American Optometric Association has numerous benefits for its student members, with academic and professional resources.

Read More