Residency Programs

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.

School is winding down, but your career in optometry is just getting started. You’ll want a 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 resumes 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% 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.

Opportunities for recent graduates to gain real-world experience

Residencies involve a year of intense clinical training that prepares recent optometry school graduates with the day-to-day experiences of an optometric practice. Residency opportunities are available in a variety of specialties, including:

  • Family practice.
  • Pediatrics.
  • Binocular vision.
  • Low vision.
  • Rehabilitative optometry.
  • Contact lenses.
  • Ocular disease.

Participants in residency programs become equipped with true optometric experience as they encounter myriad challenging cases during their year in training. What’s more, completing a residency is a common requirement for those leaning toward a career in optometric academia or research.

Here are some great resources to learn more about residency programs:

Optometry residency

Take the first step in finding and joining a residency program

Participants in residency programs have the opportunity to gain real-world experience while actually earning an income. You’ll encounter a variety of cases, put your years of study and classwork to the test and discover challenging situations that your time in optometry school couldn’t prepare you to take on.

Preparing for a residency program can yield a lot of questions as you are about to enter a world of intense training. For contact information for accredited optometric residency programs in the United States and Canda, please reference the ACOE's Directory of Accredited Optometric Residency Programs.

Related News

2022 contact lens controversies

COVID-19, myopia management and presbyopia-correcting pharmaceuticals: debating the different perspectives of popular contact lens topics.

Ask the coding experts

Review some of the latest questions received by the AOA’s Coding Experts and see their answers.

AOA Foundation announces 2022 inductees into the National Optometry Hall of Fame

For 24 years, the National Optometry Hall of Fame has recognized and honored doctors of optometry who have made significant and enduring contributions to the optometric profession.