20 Best Optometry Schools In USA In 2023 | All You Need To Know

Becoming an optometrist is one of the best career choices that anyone interested in medical studies in the United States can choose.

So if you are a medical student confused about what to specialize in, consider becoming an optometrist.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything that you deserve to know as you venture into this career path and the 20 best optometry schools in the USA in 2023 that you can attend.

That being said, let’s dive in…

Read Also: Become A Professional Pianist: Education And Career Roadmap

20 Best Optometry Schools In the USA in 2023

If you desire to study optometry in the USA, you need to attend one of the best optometry schools that we have listed below.

They are as follows:

1. Southern College Of Optometry

The great Southern College of Optometry Memphis and TN is one of the best optometry schools in the United States.

It has the latest state-of-the-art facilities as well as an Eye Center on campus. 

Students get to have hands-on clinical training while caring for over 60,000 patients.

Each year, the college graduates over 136 students giving the school a record success rate of 98.5%. 

Also, the school has a 9:1 student-to-teacher ratio and over 60 funded scholarships.

2. Arizona College Of Optometry At Midwestern University, Glendale.

Excellence is the only language at Arizona College of Optometry. 

Not only do 98% of her students pass their examinations, but 92.7% pass part I of the NBEO exam and 100% pass part II.

That’s why students from Arizona College usually have the best opticians in the USA with an average GPA of 3.53 and OAT of 624. 

Also, most of her graduates are contributors to prestigious journals and colleagues of the American Academy of Optometry.

3. University Of Alabama At Birmingham School Of Optometry, Birmingham

UAB’s School of Optometry is regarded as one of the best in the USA and the world at large. 

This school trains future vision care experts to gain hands-on clinical training at the UAB Eye Care Center. 

A total number of 97.87% of her students graduate from the program.

The University of Alabama has received an award of over $325 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health.

4. Nova Southeastern University College Of Optometry.

Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry, the students study for four years in two splits. 

First two years of science while the remaining question is two years of clinical courses.

NSU College of Optometry has a graduation rate of 97.62%. Most of her students become notable optometrists in the Southeast.

It has faculty members that are part of the American Academy of Optometry and eye test experts.

5. SUNY College Of Optometry

SUNY college is not just one of the best optometry schools in the USA, they are the most exclusive. 

Also, all of her freshmen require an average of 3.5 GPA and an OAT score of 345. The graduation rate at the college is about 96.84%.

At SUNY, only 23% of students who apply to their optometry college get admission.

6. Ohio State University College of Optometry.

The Ohio State University is the largest state university in the country. 

OSU College of Optometry has a graduation rate of 96.83%.

However, it only accepts 64 students per year.

This number states how much the school wants to focus on producing great optometrists.

7. University Of Missouri At St. Louis College Of Optometry 

This college allows students to participate in programs to improve vision care using low-cost optical kits.

The admission rate at the University of Missouri is 31% and the graduation rate of 95.65%.

To secure admission into this college, you need to have a strong letter of recommendation, hours of service, good test scores, and a GPA.

8. Illinois College Of Optometry

Illinois College of Optometry is one of the best optometry schools in the USA.  

Every year, the college graduates 92.54% out of 160 of her students. 

At Illinois Eye Institute, undergraduates can take hands-on courses and residency programs such as visual rehabilitation and ophthalmology. 

This institution has produced some of the best ophthalmologists and opticians in Chicago, USA.

9. UC Berkeley School Of Optometry

The UC Berkeley School of Optometry is the third university that has an optometry department in the USA. 

It’s a place of class and expertise as most of her teachers were the presidents of the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry.

The successful graduation rate of 92.54% shows that the institution prioritizes students. 

Students get to work with patients from their first year. This they do for approximately 2,500 hours till they complete their program.

10. University Of Pikeville Kentucky College Of Optometry.

UPIKE as it is popularly called is the only college for optometry in Kentucky.  

Since its inception in 2016, the school has been promoting the health of its community by training doctors in its state-of-the-art training facility.

The acceptance rate at the college is 38% and the graduation rate is 91.89%.

Below are other top optometry schools in USA, 2023 such as:

11. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

This School of Optometry holds vision science seminars every week.

12. Northeastern State University, Tahlequah

Students in the optometry program experience more than 60,000 patient interactions each year.

13. University Of Houston Houston, TX 

The College of Optometry hosts a summer research program supported by the National Eye Institute.

14. Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

This is one of the best schools of optometry in the USA. 

It allows optometry students to participate in more than 100,000 patient interactions each year.

15. Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale FL

This institution provides students access to five clinics and opportunities to take mission trips to foreign countries.

16. University Of The Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

This institution offers the only faith-based optometry program in the nation. 

It’s one of the schools of Optometry that produces the best opticians and ophthalmologists in the USA.

17. Pacific University

A small private university that is not for profit called Pacific is situated in the Forest Grove neighborhood. 

Pacific is a fantastic university overall, coming up at #230 out of 2,241 institutions countrywide according to Best Colleges.

In the most recent data year, Pacific awarded this degree to approximately 88 optometry students. 

Graduates with an optometry degree typically start their employment with an annual salary of $89,820.

18. Massachusetts College Of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) is a private university in Boston, Massachusetts, with an emphasis on medical and health-related science degrees. 

The institution offers standard and accelerated academic programs with a focus on pharmacy and health science careers. 

So students studying optometry at the college learn about cutting-edge technology. 

Additionally, students receive practical training with actual patients in the school’s on-campus eye clinic as well as other chosen clinical facilities, preparing them to start their careers with confidence.

Students who fulfill the prerequisites can enroll in the four-year doctoral pathway. 

Undergraduates have the option of finishing a seven-year program in one go. 

Some students also have the option of earning a Master of Public Health in addition to their O.D.

19. Michigan College Of Optometry

A doctorate in optometry and a Ph.D. in clinical eye surgery are among the doctorate degrees available to students at the Michigan College of Optometry.

So when you graduate from the Michigan College of Optometry, you’ll be able to practice as a doctor, which entitles you to treat, diagnose, and advise people who require vision correction.

For each year with 10 completed semesters, the total cost of attendance at the Michigan College of Optometry is $34,744.

20. Western University Of Health Sciences

Western University of Health Sciences is a modest private non-profit institution.

In the most recent data year, Western University of Health Sciences awarded this degree to about 75 optometry students. 

The average early career salary reported by students who have completed the optometry program is $71,526.

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.

This is the reason why you should reconsider and venture into this career path.

Read Also: Web Grants For Students: All You Need To Know

Optometrists’ Job Duties?

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 To Become An Optometrist

An optometrist is a medical professional who diagnoses and treats diseases of the eyes. 

To become an eye doctor, you must:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree, preferably with an emphasis on pre-med or biological sciences.
  • Pass the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) so you can apply to an optometry program.
  • Get accepted into an optometry school and complete your Doctor of Optometry (OD) program.
  • Gain experience in clinical practice under supervision by an experienced eye care provider.
  • Pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam. You should also pass any additional tests required to practice optometry in your region.
  • Consider getting additional certifications, such as the American Board of Optometry board certification.

Study Duration 

The length of time it takes optometrists to complete their education varies depending on a variety of circumstances though, it takes seven to nine years to complete your education to become an optometrist which is three to four years of college plus four years of optometry school. 

An optional one-year clinical residency for specialization is available.

Factors To Consider When Choosing An Optometry School

Choosing an optometry school can be difficult, but knowing which factors to consider when will best prepare you for a career in optometry. 

Some factors to consider include:

  • Location

When attending an optometry school, it’s recommended to find an accessible one that is close to school incase of any emergencies.

  • Tuition

This is one of the most important factors to consider since it deals with funds.

The tuition costs may be higher than in other health professions because optometry requires extensive training. 

The average tuition per semester can range between $15,000 and $40,500. 

However, some programs offer scholarships and grants.

  • Facilities

The facilities in a school are important to consider. Schools with modern equipment have better resources for students. 

So look for schools with state-of-the-art technology and laboratories for better learning. 

  • Student Body

When choosing an optometry school, the student body size can affect your learning opportunity. 

For instance, a small class size means more personal attention while a large class means less individualized attention.

  • Faculty

Optometry faculty members play a vital role in teaching students since they provide guidance on coursework and help students succeed. 

Faculty members can vary in expertise and knowledge.

So it is good that you choose a faculty that matches your interests and goals.

Optometry School Applicant Statistics 

The number of applicants has stayed in a similar range for the past five years.

In 2017, there were over 2,527 OptomCAS-verified applicants for the 23 schools and colleges of optometry.

This number rose to 2,684 individuals for the 2020-2021 application cycle.

Employment Outlook

According to a recent survey, there are 162,791 people employed in the Optometrists industry in the U.S. as of 2022 and it has been estimated that optometrist employment is expected to grow 10% from 2018 to 2028.

Salary Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding optometry:

The median annual wage for optometrists was $124,300 in May 2021.

2.47% of industry employees are employed in the offices of other health practitioners. Though, outpatient care centers are the highest-paid industry for optometrists, with a mean hourly wage of $84.13


1. Is Optometry School As Hard As Med School?

Medical school is generally very challenging but that’s the same story we tell for all courses if you want to get the best.

Both medical schools and optometry schools have similar subjects as biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and pharmacology. 

The only difference optometry school has from med school is that the clinical rotations of medical students take place during medical school while that of the Optometrists have a peculiar training program.

2. Is An Optometrist A Real Doctor?

An optometrist is a real doctor because those of them who have earned a PhD in optometry have the same authority as other medical practitioners such as surgeons or physicians.

They are not real doctors because they do not perform surgery on any other human part besides the eye.

3. What Year Of Optometry School Is The Hardest?

The hardest year in optometry school is usually the first year due to the adjustments, classes and exams.

However, as time progresses, the student finds balance.

4. What Are The Best Optometry Schools In The World?

Below is a list of all the best Optometry schools in the world.

They are:

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

5. How Many Optometry Schools Are In The USA?

Records show that there are many optometry schools in the United States but most of them have not been accredited.

These schools, though not yet accredited, make it to the list of best schools of optometry in the world.

In the USA, the School of Optometry at UC Berkeley tops the ranking of the best optometry schools in the US with an acceptance rate of 15%.

This is followed by Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and then Western University of Health Sciences.


You can become an optometrist from any school and anywhere in the world but if you did love to study in the USA, it’s ideal that you go to the best Optometry Schools.

So make your choice from the school which we have provided in this article.

Don’t forget to give this article a thumbs up if it was helpful.

Leave a Comment