What Is Involved in Optometrist Training?
Optometrists are medical practitioners who specialize in diagnosing and treating vision defects and eye problems. Typically, optometrist training involves an undergraduate college degree program, a postgraduate program at optometry school and some on-the-job training. Some of the people employed in this field decide to focus on treating certain types of patients or eye problems in which case further academic instruction may be required.
Few universities offer undergraduate degree courses in optometry which means that people who plan to work in this field normally end up studying biology or a related topic while at college. To be admitted to one of these programs, these individuals must typically achieve higher than average scores in mathematics and science while at high school. Some optometry schools have prerequisites that include particular undergraduate classes so people who plan to work in the field must ensure that they enroll in electives that will enable them to be admitted to optometry school.
Optometry schools offer postgraduate courses of study that usually last for at least four years. In many areas, there are insufficient places in these establishments for all of the qualified applicants to be admitted. Therefore, schools tend to admit students who had the highest grade point averages while in undergraduate programs and many colleges also require applicants to have letters of recommendations from university professors or people who work in the field. Some colleges also require applicants to pass a written entrance exam.
Although undergraduate degrees prepare people for work in this field, optometrist training really begins during the postgraduate course. Students learn about the biological structure of eyes and the physics of light refraction. Other topics that are covered in graduate school include chemistry, vision science and ocular prosthetics in optometric practice. Typically, the students also take part in practical laboratory based sessions and in many instances colleges partner with local hospitals and medical centers so that students can shadow licensed professionals as they help their patients.
Upon graduation from optometry school, people who plan to work in this field normally have to pass a licensing or certification examination before seeking employment at a medical facility. Optometrist training then continues as graduates receive on-the-job instruction from experienced professionals. This training may last for months or years and as time goes along the new recruits are given increased levels of responsibility. Some qualified professionals opt to specialize in geriatric care, vision therapy and other areas of expertise. In such instances, these professionals typically have to enroll in graduate courses at medical schools where experts in the field provide practical and theory based optometrist training sessions.
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