Optometrists are professionals. They are there when you need them. They can prescribe the right eyeglasses for your condition. In Grand Rapids, they are also there to help you with a variety of options including finding the perfect pair of glasses. Yet, what does it take to become one?
Education for Optometrists
If you want to become an optometrist, you will need to go beyond secondary education. In fact, to become what is properly called a Doctor of Optometry (DO) you will require a minimum amount of seven or eight years of post-secondary education. This is a long time to spend at school, but it is what is required if communities want to be served by the best-trained optometrists possible.
Typical Education Requirements for Optometrists
Before entering a college where optometry is the focus, it is highly recommended that the student obtain a bachelor’s degree (BA). A minimum of three years in this program is preferred although the college may give some leeway if other requirements are met. Class size in optometry schools tends to be small so the better credentials and qualifications you can provide, the more likely you are to be accepted.
Colleges that have courses are found across North America. The Michigan College of Optometry – accredited through the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), is located in Grand Rapids. It is one institution that offers individuals the chance to become optometrists. It has a four-year degree program. A total number of only 38 students are admitted annually. The course work covered includes:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Introduction to Optometry
- Microbiology & Immunology
- Ocular Anatomy & Physiology
- Practice management
- Vision Science
The intent is to provide all who want to become optometrists with the knowledge, the schooling and the skills to handle all aspects of their craft.
While many optometrists finish enter into practice following completion of the four-year degree program at Grand Rapids, others decide to specialize. For them, the answer may be a post-doctorate residency program. This allows the newly graduated optometrists to develop their skills and knowledge in an area that interests them. At the Michigan College of Optometry, a student is able to take post-graduate course in any of seven specializations.
Finally Becoming Optometrists
After completing a degree or a post-graduate degree, the newly graduated optometrist must pass examinations. Furthermore, he or she must apply for licenses from the following institutions or associations: the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the Bureau of Professional Licensing and the Board of Optometry. Only if they pass these final hurdles can they call themselves optometrists in Grand Rapids, Michigan.