Out of 10 people, at least 8 need vision correction, i.e. they have power in their eyes. This problem seems to be increasing day by day as more people are getting increasingly engaged in doing desk-bound jobs, on their laptops or PC. Given, the problems eye-power can create, it is always best to consult an optometrist before matters get difficult for you to handle.
Who is an optometrist?
Optometrists are trained and qualified individuals who test your eye power and recommend glasses, corrective lens and other measures to make sure that you can see better. If you ever visit a clinic for buying prescription sunglasses, the person who first examines your vision is likely to be an optometrist.
Optometry is different from ophthalmology because an ophthalmologist is a doctor who deals with various eye diseases and problems. In this blog, we will learn about what degree you must get to practice optometry.
There are several colleges worldwide that offer courses on optometry that are accredited to well-known institutions in the world such as the American Optometric Association. Optometrists are responsible for providing preliminary eye care to almost two-thirds of the population in any country approximately.
The career of an optometrist is pretty rewarding. So, if you are interested in getting into this field then here are some things that you need to know about studying to become an optometrist.
You do not have to go to a medical school – it is not mandatory
You will specialize in providing specialized vision care. To do so, you have to first get your Bachelor's degree. You have to do a Bachelor's in either Physiology or Biology or General Chemistry or Physics. In any case, your subject matter must be well-connected to optometry. There are some other institutions such as the Association of schools and colleges of optometry that organize admission tests. These tests are conducted to understand your concept of natural science such as Biology, Physics, and Chemistry and so on. They also want you to take reading comprehension, reasoning, and Physics test because these are all relevant to optometry.
Suppose you qualify the Optometry Admission Test, you will get one year of college education where you will be taught several areas of biochemistry, physics, physiology, biology and so on. There is a catch as far as OAT is considered, the maximum number of students who apply for this test, complete 2 or more years of their college degree and then they sit for this test. OAT is entirely computerized and if you want to sit for this test you can do it any number of times there is no limit as such. However, you cannot take the second OAT within 90 days of taking the first OAT.
Do not take your bachelor’s lightly if you want a career as an optometrist
After you are done with your bachelor’s you will be eligible to apply for a specialized program in the field of optometry. Applying in these programs means you have to get pretty great grades in your bachelor’s degree because while selecting candidates for these programs, the authorities always try to find out the candidate with an exemplary track record as far as scores are considered. Candidates with average grades are often rejected straightaway so, getting good grades is a must.
Is there any specific degree that you can pursue?
There is a degree known as ‘Doctor of Optometry’ which will enable you to become an optometrist. This is a four-year course and this is a doctoral-degree course. In this course, you are supposed to pay attention to human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and will get training related to how overall care (mental and physical) of a patient must be taken.
In different countries, there are different graduate degree courses in the field of optometry. There are Masters or even Ph.D. degrees for candidates who want to continue their studies in this discipline.
After you are done with the special program you have to seek a proper license to practice. Each state has different licensing requirements so, paying attention to all the required points, depending on which state you are willing to practice, is mandatory. Generally, in different states of a country, a candidate has to appear for an examination which is divided into three parts precisely. Now, if you want license then you have to qualify in all the parts of this one comprehensive examination. The marking in each state varies, so you have to know the cut off and other requirements.
You have to also undergo oral as well as legal examinations but these also vary state-wise and are part of additional requirements. Some states again add practical examinations along with seminars. Getting a license is not as easy as it seems because you will responsible for a very important job. The procedure is quite extensive and is time taking so you have to be patient and pay attention to the details.
After all the hardship, let’s say, you get the license, but is it the final step? Not yet because license renewal is also required. The time frame is different for different states; you must be well-aware of the procedures and the time frames. If you fail to meet the expectations of a State as an optometric doctor then your license might be revoked which is very unfortunate. So, you are required to abide by all the norms no matter what.
What does the career prospects look like for an optometrist?
If we look at the US, optometric doctors make at least $115,750 per annum. The job growth is quite impressive as the demand for optometric doctors is increasing worldwide. If we look at the national increase in job growth then the figure is 2.5% and it is steadily increasing every year and if this continues, in the coming 10 years the figure will be 25% increase in job growth. So, study hard and try to get a steady job as an optometry doctor because a successful career is calling you.