At the Arizona College of Optometry, our dedicated and caring faculty will challenge you to improve your technical skills as they encourage you to focus on your patients. Shared labs, rotations, and practice experiences help you and your classmates benefit from an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork. You will also learn on the job as you provide hands-on patient care at the Midwestern University Eye Institute. We will help you build your career as a member of tomorrow's healthcare team.

Fast Facts

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Degree

Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Completion of course prerequisites with a grade of C or higher
  • Minimum overall cumulative GPA and science GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale
  • OAT must be taken and scores submitted by April 30th, 2017
    • OAT scores older than five years are not acceptable
    • Additional information on the OAT may be found online at www.opted.org
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • One letter must be from a practicing optometrist

Length of Program

4 years, full-time

Class Size

54 (Fall 2015)

Class of 2019 Profiles

  • Female: 39%
  • Male: 61%
  • Average age: 25
  • Average overall GPA: 3.47
  • Average OAT scores: 646 (combined)
  • Top home states: Arizona (37%), Colorado (9%), Idaho (5%), Utah (5%) , and North Dakota (5%)

Curriculum

      • Basic, behavioral, and clinical sciences
      • Pre-clinical simulations
      • Community clinical rotations
      • National Boards preparation courses
      • Optometry business management courses
      • Local and national external rotation sites

Licensing Exam Scores for the Class of 2017

The examination rates for this class are currently incomplete as members of this class are still in process of completing NBEO Part I, II, and III. NBEO Pass rates for this class are:

Part I: Applied Basic Science examination

  • First-time takers: 92.5% [National Pass Rate for first-time takers: 78.12%]

Part II: Patient Assessment and Management

  • First-time takers: N/A

Part III: Clinical Skills Examination

  • First-time takers: N/A

Licensing Exam Scores for the Class of 2016

The examination rates for this class are currently incomplete as members of this class are still in process of completing NBEO Part I, II, and III. NBEO Pass rates for this class are:

Part I: Applied Basic Science examination

  • First-time takers: 76.0% [National Pass Rate for first-time takers: 76.9%]

Part II: Patient Assessment and Management

  • First-time takers: N/A

Part III: Clinical Skills Examination

  • First-time takers: N/A

Licensing Exam Scores for the Class of 2015

The examination rates for this class are currently incomplete as members of this class are still in process of completing NBEO Part I, II, and III. NBEO Pass rates for this class are:
Part I: Applied Basic Science examination

  • First-time takers: 78.7% [National Pass Rate for first-time takers: 77%]
  • Current pass rate: 89.4%

Part II: Patient Assessment and Management

  • First-time takers: 86.05%

Part III: Clinical Skills Examination

  • First-time takers: 90%

Licensing Exam Scores for the Class of 2014

The examination rates for this class are currently incomplete as members of this class are still in process of completing NBEO Part I, II, and III. NBEO Pass rates for this class are:
Part I: Applied Basic Science examination

  • First-time takers: 92.7% [National Pass Rate for first-time takers: 85.7%]
  • Current pass rate: 98%

Part II: Patient Assessment and Management   

  • First-time takers: 95.2%
  • Current pass rate: 100%

Part III: Clinical Skills Examination

  • First-time takers: 100%

Graduation Rates

Class of 2013:  91.5%
Class of 2014:  97.2%
Class of 2015: 91.5%
Class of 2016: 94.1%

Post-Doctoral Residency Program Placement 1
 

Class of 2016

Eleven members of the class of 2016 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.

Class of 2015

Twelve members of the class of 2015 applied for and  matched to post-doctoral residency programs around the country.

Class of 2014

Seventeen members of the class of 2014 applied for and sixteen matched to post-doctoral residency programs around the country. 

Class of 2013

Fourteen members of the class of 2013 applied for and  matched to post-doctoral residency programs around the country. 

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.

  • Private optometry, partnership or group practice
  • Ophthalmology practice
  • Federal government:
    • Veterans Health Administration optometry service
    • Public Health Service
    • Indian Health Service
  • Armed services (military)
  • Hospitals
  • Academia
  • Research
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Ophthalmic industry
  • Franchise/retail office practices
  • Graduate education and residencies:
    • Master's or Ph.D. degree in Visual Science, Physiological Optics, Neurophysiology, Public Health, Health Administration, Health Information and Communication, or Health Education
    • Postgraduate clinical residency programs in Family Practice Optometry, Pediatrics Optometry, Geriatric Optometry, Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation, Low-vision Rehabilitation, Cornea and Contact Lenses, Refractive and Ocular Surgery, Primary Eye Care Optometry, and Ocular Disease. 

US Employment Projections through 2024 3

Employment of optometrists is expected to grow by 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, an aging population will require more optometrists. As people age, they become more susceptible to conditions that impair vision, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

The number of people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, has grown in recent years. Diabetes has been linked to increased rates of several eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects the blood vessels in the eye and may lead to loss of vision. More optometrists will be needed to monitor, treat, and refer individuals with chronic conditions stemming from diabetes.

In addition, nearly all health plans cover medical eye care and many cover preventive eye exams. Furthermore, the number of individuals, particularly children, who have access to vision or eye care insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform. More optometrists will be needed to provide services to more patients.

Mean Annual Salary 4

$107,720

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 2016, https://natmatch.com/ormatch/aboutstats.html (accessed 04/06/2016)

2. College Grad, Career Information- Optometrists, http://www.collegegrad.com/careers/proft78.shtml#con (accessed 04/06/2016)

3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Healthcare, Optometrists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/optometrists.htm#tab-6   (accessed 04/06/2016)

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 04/06/2016)

Admission Requirements

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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

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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.

Mission

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:

  • Deliver the premier optometric educational experience utilizing our unique multidisciplinary health professions setting and cutting edge technology
  • Provide our students with the knowledge and skills to deliver the highest level of professional, ethical and compassionate eye and vision care
  • Promote life-long learning, community outreach and innovative research

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

  • Provide broad and innovative educational opportunities in the basic, visual, and clinical sciences
  • Plan and develop a diversity of clinical experiences to allow students to enter the practice of optometry
  • Support and nurture an environment of intellectual inquiry and activity by students, residents, and faculty
  • Promote interprofessional educational programming to develop students' appreciation of other health care professions
  • Ensure that students have a strong basic and vision science foundation
  • Promote student involvement in community service
  • Develop a high quality residency program
  • Establish an Eye Institute that serves the eye/vision care needs of the community
  • Provide lifelong learning activities and support services to the optometric profession and the public
  • Maintain the financial viability of the College

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.

Accreditation

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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.

A job in a shoe store does not always translate to a career in podiatry, but for Barbara Adams podiatry is the perfect mix of passion and profession.

Danny Wu is a 2011 graduate from the Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences Program in the College of Health Sciences, where he studied the basic medical sciences in preparation for dental career.

Hillary Carnell, D.O., is a 2012 graduate of the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Heather Thoreson, Pharm.D., is a 2012 graduate of the College of Pharmacy-Glendale.

A family friend taught Jared Techau the value of patient-centric care and the allure of helping people through medicine.

Laura Sibrava, D.M.D., is a 2012 graduate of the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona.

Sam Funk studies basic science, optics, and visual science, and is learning to diagnose, treat, and manage dysfunction and disease of the eyes.