Studying Optometry

The academic stage of your optometry career creates a foundation
The journey from a future doctor of optometry student to a practitioner with patients is exciting yet demanding. And though most of a student's success ultimately depends upon the individual, there are myriad resources in place to assist in reaching goals during college—as well as the transition into professional practice.  

While there are a variety of ways to go about studying optometry, it breaks down to a number of steps.

  1. Start with earning a bachelor's degree in pre-med or biological science.
  2. Next, prepare for and pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), and select a four-year doctor of optometry program.
  3. Obtaining your doctoral degree, prepare for and pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exams.
  4. Finally, secure your license to practice. 

Check out this list of optometry schools and colleges, provided by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.  

Studying to be a doctor of optometry is challenging, but there is support
Students seeking resources and opportunities can lean on the benefits of an AOA membership by joining the AOSA.

Studying optometry requires student effort in managing class loads, developing and sticking to an academic timeline and passing the board exams. Of course, the journey doesn't end there. internships, externships, residency programs and more.  

The AOA is here to encourage and sustain students who strive to eventually provide the public with quality eye care, and the AOA will be by your side through the transition to a practice and your career as a doctor of optometry. The AOA represents over 44,000 doctors of optometry, optometric staff and students as an authority on eye care and general health.   


Managing Your Classes


No matter the profession, handling class work and academic responsibilities can be a challenge, but guidance is available for optometry students. 


Academic Timeline


Your calendar for becoming a doctor of optometry, from applying to school to the board exams.

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Managing Your Classes


Whether you're dreading or excited to test your skills, the AOA is here to help with the national board exams you must pass to become a certified doctor of optometry.