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Arizona College of Optometry

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Fast Facts



Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

General Requirements

Length of Program

4 years, full-time

Class Size

54 (Fall 2013)

Class of 2017 Profiles

Class of 2016 Profiles


Graduation Rate

90.38 % (2013)
Class of 2013 graduation statistics based on overall graduation rate for the 52 students admitted in Fall 2009.

Post-Doctoral Residency Program Placement for the Graduating Class of 2013 1

Fourteen members of the class of 2013 have applied for and matched to post-doctoral residency programs around the country. This 100% placement, in a very competitive residency process, is an above average result for any school or college of optometry. Arizona College of Optometry Class of 2013 residency placement data obtained from an internal survey administered March 2013 to 42 graduates with a 100% return rate.

Licensing Exam Scores for the Class of 2014

The students of the class of 2014 scored a "first time takers" passing rate of 93% on the March 2013 administration of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Part I: Applied Basic Sciences examination. The overall NBEO Part I  examination pass rate for the class of 2014 is 98%.

Licensing Exam Scores for the Graduating Class of 2013

The examination rates are currently incomplete as members of the inaugural class are still in the process of completing NBEO Parts I, II, and III. NBEO overall Pass Rates for this inaugural class:  Part I Applied Basic Science is 91.5%, Part II Patient Assessment and Management is 84%, and Part III Clinical Skills Examination is 91.5%.

The initial pass rates for Part I of the National Board Examination did not meet College expectations. In response, the College performed a statistical analysis.  This assessment indicated that the College curriculum is sound.  Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry implemented core curriculum courses to address the examination preparation needs for NBEO Part I and Part II.  A special Board Preparation Program which features test taking strategies, study skills enhancement, and individual mentoring by College faculty was launched, and its results are reflected in the class of 2014 NBEO examination scores.

Career and Educational Opportunities 2

Optometrists practice in a wide variety of settings. Some of the positions included below require advanced education or training beyond the O.D. Degree.

US Employment Projections through 2020 3

Employment of optometrists is expected to grow by 33 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, more optometrists will be needed to meet the health needs of an aging population.  In addition, a large number of currently practicing optometrists is expected to retire over the coming decade, creating opportunities for new optometrists.

Mean Annual Salary 4


The starting salary of a new OD graduate earns is dependent on the professional practice site that he/she enters.

1. National Matching Services, Inc., Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch),  Summary  Results of ORMatch for positions beginning in 2013, https://natmatch.com/ormatch/stats/2013stats.html (accessed 08/12/13)

2. College Grad, Career Information- Optometrists, http://www.collegegrad.com/careers/proft78.shtml#con (accessed 08/12/13)

3. MedicalCareerInfo.com, Optometrist Career, http://www.medicalcareerinfo.com/optometrists.htm (accessed 08/12/13)

4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011, Optometrists,  http://www.bls.gov/oes/2011/may/oes291041.htm (accessed 08/27/13)

Admission Requirements


Students seeking admission to AZCOPT must submit the following documented evidence:

  1. Possess a minimum cumulative GPA and science coursework GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale.
  2. Complete a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. A BA degree is acceptable, but a BS degree is preferred.
  3. Submit the results of the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). A minimum Academic Average and Total Science standard score of 300 are recommended of all applicants. In order to be considered for the class to be admitted in the Fall of each academic year, the OAT must be taken and results submitted by April 30th. OAT scores must be earned no more than five years prior to the planned enrollment year.
  4. Complete the necessary course prerequisites. All required prerequisite courses must be completed with grades of C or better. Only courses designed for science majors or pre-professional students are acceptable for the science prerequisites.
  5. Provide two letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a practicing optometrist. The other letter must be from a prehealth advisor, a science professor, an employer or extracurricular activity advisor.
  6. Have a good understanding of optometric medicine. Candidates are strongly encouraged to shadow and observe a practicing optometrist in the clinical setting.
  7. Participate in extracurricular and/or community activities that indicate a well-rounded background and demonstrate a service orientation.
  8. Have interpersonal and communication skills necessary to relate effectively with others.
  9. Pass the Midwestern University criminal background check.
  10. Have a commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.

Application Deadline

Students must apply for admission via OptomCAS by April 1st. Due to the large number of applicants and the limited number of seats available, students
are strongly encouraged to complete application early in the cycle. AZCOPT will consider completed applications on a first-come, first-served basis until all
seats are filled.

Additional Application Information

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Program Description


AZCOPT awards the degree Doctor of Optometry upon successful completion of the four-year professional curriculum in optometry. The first and second years of the curriculum emphasize basic health sciences, optics and visual science and students are introduced to clinical practice in simulation laboratories and through introductory courses. Visual consequences of disease are introduced in the second year. The third year, divided between a didactic and clinical setting, emphasizes the diagnosis and treatment of ocular dysfunction and disease. The fourth year is intensive clinical training that will include some on campus and off campus externship rotations. Clinical settings for external rotations include military facilities, veteran administration hospitals, public health service hospitals and specialty and/or private practices or clinics.

Optometry Profession

A Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) is an independent primary health care professional who is educated and trained to diagnose, treat, and manage disorders and diseases of the visual system, eye, and associated structures. Doctors of Optometry are also able to identify related systemic conditions that affect the visual system. They examine the eye for refractive conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia, eye movement and focusing abilities, diseases of the eye such as glaucoma and cataracts, and systemic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Doctors of Optometry prescribe eyeglasses and provide services such as contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, and vision therapy. They may also prescribe medications for the management of eye diseases and perform certain surgical procedures.

Doctors of Optometry are integral members of the primary health care team. As such, these professionals also co-manage diseases that affect eye health and may refer to other health care professionals. The degree is also an entry point into the health care system. Although optometrists provide primary eye care services, they may also dedicate themselves to specialized areas such as low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy & pediatrics, electrodiagnosis, sports vision therapy, ocular prosthetics, and advanced contact lens care.

In terms of job satisfaction, length of training, prestige and job outlook optometry is considered to be a career with a very bright future. With a greater prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and glaucoma in the aging population, the demand for optometric services is expected to increase significantly during the next decade, as this population increases.


The mission of Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry is to educate future optometrists and residents in an interprofessional healthcare environment. The College fosters professional attitudes and behaviors that encourage lifelong learning, and scholarship to serve the needs of the public and a commitment to improve the health and well-being of society.

Vision and Goals

The Arizona College of Optometry's vision is to:

The 10 goals of the Arizona College of Optometry (AZCOPT) are listed below:

Program Improvements

Planned improvements include development of additional external rotation sites that allow students to gain experience with medically disadvantaged patients, embedded assessments for program improvement, and development of specialty practices in the MWU Eye Institute.



The Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry has been granted the accreditation classification of ACCREDITED as of April 24, 2013 by  the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), of the American Optometric Association (AOA), 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141-7881; phone 314-991-4100. "Accredited" is the classification granted to a professional degree program that generally meets the standards for accreditation.

Midwestern University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC/NCA), located at 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413; 312/263-0456.

Related Links


Optometry as a Career

American Optometric Association (AOA)

American Optometric Student Association (AOSA)

Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS)

Midwestern University Clinics

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