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Best Optometry Schools in California

Best Optometry Schools in California: Here are the lists of optometry colleges in California in case you’re interested in studying optometry there but are unsure which institution would be best for you. To help you choose the right school, try to read it through to the end.


Everyone is aware of the significance of medical schools to the society. Doctors need to be skilled since they frequently deal with situations when life or death is at stake.

Including optometry, there is practically no space for error when discussing human health. Future optometrists should therefore give careful consideration to where they will receive their training.

They’ll want to enroll in a program that offers top-notch instructors, cutting-edge machinery, and reliable instructional institutions.

You might think of New York first when considering such resources. California is a similarly big state, yet there are only three optometry schools there.

According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, these institutions have extraordinarily high “ultimate pass rates.”

These percentages represent how many students in a program pass the certification exams given by the professional association, demonstrating that they have the education required to work in the field.

Naturally, passing the exam isn’t the main concern for the majority of aspiring optometrists. To prepare for a rewarding job as an optometrist, they desire a full educational experience that includes learning a variety of experience.

Who is an Optometrist?

Optometrists, formerly known as opticians, are educated to inspect the eyes to find visual flaws, damage indicators, ocular diseases or abnormalities, and issues with general health, such diabetes or high blood pressure. When necessary, they perform a health examination, provide clinical guidance, prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses, and refer patients for additional care. Ready to study Optometry in California? Let’s find out the best optometry schools in California.

Also Read: 20 optometry schools with the easiest admission requirements

Best Optometry Schools in California

These are the best optometry schools in California although there are just three schools of optometry in the state:

1. University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry

Best Optometry Schools in California
Best Optometry Schools in California

The University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry earns the top rank on this list of the  best optometry schools in California with their most recent cohort passing the NBEO at a rate of 92.54%, significantly above the national average.

Of course, such high figures are not the result of chance. Instead, it is the outcome of an excellent curriculum that includes a committed faculty and cutting-edge equipment.

Since the school’s founding as the third university optometry program in the US in 1923, those qualities have been developed.

The school accumulated a distinguished staff and graduates in the years that followed, including past presidents of the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry.

A thorough curriculum serves as the cornerstone on which Berkeley Optometry builds its reputation.

Despite the fact that students take in-depth seminars in subjects like biology, optics, and pharmacology, coursework is available to support clinical training.

Students start learning about clinical education on the first day, completing initial eye exams and determining refractive error right away. By the end of the first year, students are exposed to advanced clinical examination methods.

Students at Berkeley Optometry have access to a variety of clinical choices, ensuring exposure to a wide range of patients. Students may work in either the Tang Eye Center or the Meredith W. Morgan University Eye Center on campus.

Both alternatives give students the chance to address vision issues brought on by conditions including glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetes.

The school runs 10 satellite clinics throughout the Bay Area, with offices in Rohnert Park, Novato, San Rafael, Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, and Santa Cruz among others.

The local VA-affiliated clinics are run by Berkeley Optometry for those who want to work with veterans. For the purpose of developing their scholarly work and clinical ability, students can apply for one-year positions in these clinics.

Students take part in three or more externships throughout their fourth year while being supervised by adjunct clinical lecturers.

These internships give students extensive training in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of visual diseases while exposing them to a wider range of patient groups.

Also Read: 12 Best Civil Engineering Schools in the World

2. Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum

Best Optometry Schools in California
Best Optometry Schools in California

The Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University is one of the nation’s oldest such institutions, with a history dating back to 1904.

SCCO wants to rethink the future of healthcare education by drawing on these historical foundations. Interprofessional learning, which unites the three primary care disciplines, is a focus of the program.

With this strategy, graduates are ready to join the primary healthcare team that will collaborate and effectively treat patients.

In order to do this, SCCO’s curriculum designs patient-care experiences that expose students to viewpoints and methodologies outside of the field of medicine.

Throughout all four years of the doctor of optometry degree, the school upholds these beliefs.

First-year students are introduced to the fundamental sciences and research methodologies in the classroom.

Students learn the fundamentals of ocular examination in addition to courses in biological sciences, geometrical and physical optics, and visual sciences.

Students undergo advanced visual science classes and start learning clinical procedures during their second year.

Students even start seeing their own patients at Ketchum Health in the second quarter of this year.

This practice continues into the third year, when under the supervision of clinical instructors, students complete patient care responsibilities at Ketchum Health.

This year, courses on subjects such contact lenses, vision therapy, eye disorders, ocular pharmacology, clinical optometry, and public health are offered.

In their fourth year, students take part in SCCO’s Clinical Outreach Program, where they collaborate with other healthcare professionals over the course of four rotations that last between 10 and 12 weeks.

One of these rotations takes place at Ketchum Health’s University Eye Center in Anaheim. The remaining three are held at clinically varied student-selected locations, such as military posts, HMOs, VA medical facilities, and foreign locations.

The school’s dedication to research complements this emphasis on real patient care. Students at SCCO start working on research projects as early as their first year, in collaboration with those from the pharmacy and physician assistant schools.

As evidenced by their NBEO pass rates, these elements give students entering the sector adequate training. With 94% of the class of 2019 passing the test, SCCO students typically meet or surpass national final pass rates.

3. Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry

Building bridges is the overarching goal of everyone at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry, including the staff, faculty, and students.

The school’s academic program, which is rooted on the humanistic heritage, and its biomedical research agenda, which aims to improve and prolong the quality of life in their communities, are both driven by this concentration.

Students are exposed to a variety of treatment modalities as part of the doctor of optometry curriculum at Western College of Optometry, including neuro-optometry, vision therapy, low vision rehabilitation, and care for people with developmental impairments.

Students have access to patient care through the program’s combination of classroom instruction, lab work, pre-clinical experiences, service learning, and hands-on work, which culminates in full-time clinical rotations in the fourth year.

The program places a strong emphasis on neuro-optometry, giving students a deeper comprehension of brain functions and disorders.

Students must complete additional classes devoted to the specialist field of neuro-optometric rehabilitation in addition to being required to enroll in the medical school’s Neuroscience System course.

A fourth-year externship serves as the program’s capstone, during which students practice medicine while being supervised by their mentors and receive practical experience.

Students rotate through four different sites, including private optometry or ophthalmology practices, Veterans Administration clinics, Indian Health Service clinics, armed forces facilities, and specialty clinics within WesternU, to make sure they get the most exposure to the range of clinical settings possible.

Even serving in foreign locations is an option for students. These rotations teach patient management in primary care, vision rehabilitation, pediatrics, ocular illness, and surgical co-management in addition to providing future doctors with a varied patient base.

Also Read: 1 Best Pre Med Colleges in the USA in 2023

Best Optometry Schools in California
Best Optometry Schools in California

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Californian optometry school last?

A four-year academic program called the Doctor of Optometry equips graduates to provide modern eye, vision, and health care as a vital member of the primary care health team.

In California, how many schools of optometry exist?

Only three colleges and schools of optometry in California are among the 23 accredited institutions nationwide.

In California, how much money do optometrists make?

As of February 10, 2023, the average pay for an optometrist in California is $152,214, but the range is normally between $134,757 and $168,609.

What are California’s three optometry schools?

1. Marshal B. Ketchum University, Southern California College of Optometry.
2. University of California Berkeley.
3. Western University of Health Sciences.



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