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What Is Pre-Optometry?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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Pre-optometry training prepares students for admission into optometry school, where they will receive formal professional education in eye care. Students who plan to go to optometry school usually need to provide evidence that they have successfully completed a recommended set of classes. They may also need to pass an entrance examination which tests basic knowledge in the sciences to make sure they are prepared for training. This ensures that all optometry students share a baseline level of knowledge once at school.

This is not usually offered as a degree for four-year students, but rather as a focus or concentration within a larger major, like a degree in biology. The courses in a pre-optometry program can include a mixture of biology, physics, math, and English to prepare students for their professional training. Education in the sciences is important so people can understand the concepts they will deal with, while English can assist with communication and critical thinking skills.

Some community colleges and technical schools offer an associate’s degree in this subject to prepare people for optometry school. Four-year institutions may have a set of pre-optometry classes people can take in addition to other coursework to obtain a major in a given subject. It’s also important to be aware that individual optometry schools may have their own requirements, in which case students could need to take extra courses to make sure they will be prepared for admission.

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The best option for a student can depend on the optometry school of choice and its requirements. It is advisable to review entry requirements before starting a pre-optometry program, to determine if it will meet the need and plan ahead to ensure that the student takes all the necessary classes. Something to consider is whether the college is accredited, as people with degrees from institutions that are not may have a harder time getting in to a professional school.

Students considering careers as optometrists might want to consider studying some additional subjects while in a pre-optometry program so they can be more successful in professional practice. These can include business classes for people who intend to run their own practices, and language education for those who want to offer multilingual services. Psychology can also be useful, as optometrists may deal with sensitive topics while working with patients who have vision problems. Specific training in some subjects may also be available at an optometry school and in some cases is required for graduation, as is often the case with medical ethics classes.

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