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Top Optometry Schools in California | Rankings 2022

The eyes are a very important part of our existence; hence, pursuing a career in a medical profession that involves diagnosis, Medicare, and treatment of the eyes, requires a lot of preparations, accuracy, and more importantly, attending the best institution. Attending any of the Optometry schools in California may turn out to be the best career decision you have ever made.

You may have heard this old English proverb “The eyes are the window of the soul.” This simply means you can learn a lot by looking in someone’s eyes. Optometrists certainly know that is true.

Optometrists are taught how to use various types of equipment to assess a patient’s vision. In addition, they learn to diagnose eye diseases and proffer treatment to remedy the health of a person in general by examining their eyes.

In this content, we will enlighten you about all you need to know about the best Optometry schools in California and all you need to know about the optometry profession in California.

About Optometrists

Optometrists are trained to provide eye care to people who have vision problems or develop them as a result of the reduced ability to adjust their eyes to changes in light and distance, a problem that often appears as we age.

Optometrists spend much of their time evaluating the state of vision of each patient to provide individualized lenses, in the form of contact lenses or glasses.

Recently, optometrists have also begun performing laser surgery on the eye and specializing in low vision care.

What does the optometrist do?

Optometrists perform eye exams to determine a person’s vision. They diagnose if a person has 20/20 vision, which is the ability to see without correction, or some degree of myopia or longsightedness.

They prescribe glasses, contact lenses and other visual aids, and may prescribe medications in some states. Some optometrists may perform minor surgeries.

They also look for eye diseases such as glaucoma and look at the eyes for signs of deterioration due to diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Some optometrists specialize in the care of patients with certain types of vision problems or in the care of children or the elderly.

Optometrists sometimes get confused with these other vision care providers:

Ophthalmologists: doctors who have graduated from medical school and are qualified to diagnose and treat all eye conditions, as well as perform eye surgeries and prescribe medications.

Opticians: qualified so that people can wear glasses and contact lenses with prescriptions written by optometrists and ophthalmologists, but are not required to have a bachelor’s degree.

Where do Optometrists work?

Optometrists can work in group offices of doctors or optometrists, or in individual practice. They also work in health and personal care stores, in government and in university research.

They are needed in cities and rural areas, in beach and mountain villages, in hospitals, community clinics, military, and public health settings.

Most optometrists work full time. If they work in stores, they can work evenings and weekends. Optometrist offices sometimes offer evening and weekend appointments to adapt to their patients’ schedules.

What are the education requirements for optometry?

To become an optometrist, you must obtain a doctor of optometry (OD) degree from schools of optometry in the US or their territories. There are specific steps to achieve this:

  • Complete at least three years of university studies, or obtain a bachelor’s degree, with emphasis on preparatory subjects that include biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English.
  • Take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), which assesses understanding in science, physics, quantitative reasoning, and reading comprehension.
  • Apply for and graduate from an accredited school of optometry to obtain a D.O .; This takes about four years.
  • You can complete a one-year clinical residency by working with supervised patients to gain experience in a specialty such as low vision rehabilitation, pediatric or geriatric optometry or eye diseases.
  • Obtain the license in your state by taking and passing the exam given by the National Board of Optometrist Examiners.
  • Take and pass any other exam, such as clinical practice or the rules that your state requires.

Completing your education to become an optometrist takes seven to nine years: three to four years of college plus four years of optometry school. The one-year clinical residency for specialization is an optional additional year.

If you are interested in becoming an optometrist, you must first complete a 4-year degree program, preferably in a relevant or related field, such as biology, chemistry or physiology.

You will need a bachelor’s degree to apply for optometry programs, which are quite competitive.

Minimum prerequisites for admission

The following prerequisites must be met before enrolling in an optometry program:

  • Bachelor of a preferred accredited institution
  • Each program has its own prerequisites: check the details of specific school prerequisites
  • General prerequisites for the course (at least 3 years of pre-optometric study, minimum 135 quarter units before admission)

What GPA is needed for the optometry school?

The average grade point average for most optometry schools is generally around 3.40 or higher; therefore, some enter with 4.0s while others get 3.0s.

University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry

Tuition: $37,231 (resident), $48,778 (non-resident)

The University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry (Berkeley Optometry) is an optometry school in the United States. The optometry program at the University of California, Berkeley, began in 1923, making it the third university optometry program established in the United States (and the second oldest active university optometry program).

Berkeley Optometry offers a four-year professional graduate program that leads to the title of Doctor of Optometry (OD).

The school also offers a one-year ACOE accredited residency program in specialties of clinical optometry (primary care, eye disease, contact lenses, low vision, binocular vision, and pediatrics).

In addition, Berkeley Optometry serves as the home department of the Multidisciplinary Group of Vision Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, whose graduate students earn MS or Ph.D. degrees

The curriculum at Berkeley Optometry is designed to provide clinical training in optometry, as well as instruction in vision science. Students are trained to be primary providers of eye and visual care, which includes comprehensive eye exams and the diagnosis, treatment, and management of most eye conditions and diseases.

Berkeley Optometry applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and complete undergraduate general science courses (biology; general, organic and biochemistry; mathematics, statistics, physics, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, immunology, and psychology).

The University of California-Berkeley offers 2-degree programs in Optometry. It is a large public university in a medium-sized city. In 2015, 78 students graduated in the Optometry study area with students who obtained 61 Doctorates and 17 Certificates.

Acceptance Rate: 15%

School Location: 380 Minor Ln, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States

Southern California College of Optometry, Marshall B Ketchum University Fullerton, CA

Tuition: $42,885

Marshall B. Ketchum University is a private university focused on graduate programs in medical care and is located in Fullerton, California. MBKU expanded from the Southern California College of Optometry which was founded in 1904.

Southern California College of Optometry is one of the oldest optometry schools in the US. The Southern California College of Optometry is a 4-year graduate program that leads to the degree, Doctor of Optometry (OD), accredited by the Accreditation Council in Optometric Education (ACOE) of the American Optometric Association.

During the first year, students spend most of their time in conferences and laboratories learning basic sciences (including optics, biomedical sciences, and visual sciences) and introductory clinical procedures.

Throughout the year, freshmen will have hours of observation in the clinic as an introduction to patient care. During the second year, students will have more advanced lectures in visual sciences and will spend time learning and perfecting clinical procedures.

Slowly, students will be provided to see patients at Ketchum Health to prepare them for the third and fourth-year clinic.

Third-year students spend half of their time in class and the other half in hospital care under the supervision of clinical faculty. The topics of the conferences are more advanced, including courses in contact lenses, vision therapy, eye diseases, eye pharmacology, clinical optometry, and public health.

The last year (fourth year) consists of four 3-month rotations as part of the Clinical Outreach Program. A clinical rotation is in specialized services at Ketchum Health and the other three rotations are in several off-site clinics. Students can choose from more than 80 clinics in the US. and abroad.

The Doctor of Optometry degree will be awarded to students who successfully complete the four-year academic and professional curriculum in optometry.

Upon successful completion of the SCCO program and NBEO exams, graduates can apply for a license in the US. or Canada

The clinical and teaching facility of the university is known as Ketchum Health. The center provides patient care for optometry at the University Eye Center in Anaheim and Los Angeles. It also provides patient care and internal medicine in family medicine in Anaheim.

Marshall B Ketchum University offers a 1-degree program in Optometry. It is a private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 96 students graduated in the area of ​​Optometry study with students who obtained 96 Doctorates.

Acceptance Rate: 60%

School Location: 2575 Yorba Linda Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831, United States

Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA

Tuition: $38,510

Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) is a private nonprofit graduate school of the United States for health professions, with the main campus located in downtown Pomona, California, and an additional campus of the school of Medicine on 50 acres in Lebanon, Oregon.

The College of Optometry will build on its solid foundation like a rock, establishing its own clear identity, outlining a central focus for its educational, clinical and research programs, and creating a distinguished reputation.

The vision of the School of Optometry covers four main perspectives and serves four different stakeholders: the public, the profession, the students and the faculty.

WesternU is one of the largest graduate schools for health professions in California, offering 21 academic programs at nine universities.

Under the banner of WesternU Health, the university operates a variety of patient care centers in California and Oregon. The Pomona and Portland (Oregon) campuses include a medical center, a dental center, an eye care institute, a pharmacy, and a travel health center, all of which are open to the public.

Western University of Health Sciences offers a 1-degree program in Optometry. It is a private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 73 students graduated in the area of ​​Optometry study with students who obtained 73 doctorates.

Acceptance Rate: 30%

School Location: 309 E 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766, United States

How long does it take to become an optometrist?

The time that optometrists go to school depends on several factors, but it usually takes between seven and nine years. Imagine knowing, upon graduation, that your skills could save patients’ eyesight.

Completing your education to become an optometrist takes seven to nine years: three to four years of college plus four years of optometry school. The one-year clinical residency for specialization is an optional additional year.

How much money does an optometrist earn?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of an optometrist in May 2019 was $106,040, and most earn between $52,810 and $192,050 per year.

The offices of other health professionals employed the majority of optometrists, and these employers paid the optometrists an average salary of $114,260.

Ascending on the professional scale, mid-level junior optometrists can expect to earn at least $83,460 per year, while the senior optometrist’s payment can exceed $136,270.

The most successful and experienced optometrists in the US UU. They earned an average salary of $190,000.

In Europe, the starting salaries for newly qualified optometrists are generally around £15,000, depending on your employer and location.

With experience, you can earn from around £28,000 to more than £65,000. Profits for company directors, partners, and independent professionals depend on the performance of the business.

Do optometrists have a great demand?

The employment of optometrists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average of all occupations. Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, the aging of the population will generate a demand for optometrists.

Optometry Schools in California | FAQs

Optometry school tuition and fees at private universities run $15,000-$29,100 per year or $60,000-$116,400 for the four-year program for residents and $20,000-$29,100 per year or $80,000- $116,400 for a degree for non residents.

Completing your education to become an optometrist takes seven-to-nine years: three-to-four years of college plus four years of optometry school. The one-year clinical residency for specialization is an optional, additional year.

Yes, math is part of optometry, and the math we do is the physics of optics on steroids—the dreaded physiological optics.

Optometry schools are highly competitive; most applicants earn a bachelor’s degree before applying.


In conclusion, studying to become an optometrist is a challenge you can take on if you are in the right school and have access to the right learning equipment that helps you get more practical during learning.

That’s why considering any of the optometry schools in California, will be the best choice to make in your pursuit of a career in optometry.


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