Arizona College of Optometry

Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

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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.

Program
Doctoral

Location
Glendale, AZ

Duration
4 Years

Intake
August

Class Size
60


AZCOPT awards the degree Doctor of Optometry upon successful completion of the requirements. 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.

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

To view the AZCOPT curriculum in greater detail, follow this link to the curriculum table.

The Arizona College of Optometry's vision is to:

  • Deliver the premier optometric educational experience utilizing our unique multi-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 9 goals of the Arizona College of Optometry (AZCOPT) are listed below:

  • Ensure that students have a strong foundation in basic visual and clinical sciences by providing broad and innovative educational opportunities
  • Plan and develop a diversity of clinical experiences to enable students to enter the practice of optometry
  • Support and nurture an environment of intellectual inquiry and research activity by students, residents, and faculty
  • Promote interprofessional educational programming to develop students' appreciation of other health care professions
  • Promote student involvement in community service
  • Maintain and advance high quality residency programs
  • Perpetuate 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

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.

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.

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 one of the following entrance examinations: Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Dental Aptitude Test (DAT), Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A competitive test score (at least at or above the mean score for each exam) is recommended of all applicants. In order to be considered for admittance to the class in the Fall of each academic year, the entrance examination must be taken and results submitted by April 30th of the year of matriculation. Entrance exam scores must be earned no more than five years prior to the planned enrollment year.
  4. Complete the necessary course prerequisites. All 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. Embody interpersonal and communication skills necessary to relate effectively with others.
  9. Pass the Midwestern University criminal background check.
  10. A commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.

Prerequisite Courses

Course Sem Hrs Qtr Hrs
Biology with lab 8 12
Anatomy* 3 4
Physiology* 3 4
General/Inorganic Chemistry with lab 8 12
Organic Chemistry with lab 4 6
Biochemistry 3 4
Physics 6 9
Calculus 3 4
Microbiology 3 4
Statistics 3 4
Psychology 3 4
English 6 9

*The Anatomy and Physiology requirements may also be fulfilled by taking Anatomy and Physiology I (3 Sem/4 Qtr credit hours) and Anatomy and Physiology II (3 Sem/4 Qtr credit hours)

The Doctor of Optometry degree program is rigorous and challenging. The Admissions Committee will therefore assess the quality and rigor of the pre-optometry academic records presented by applicants. When assessing an application, the Admissions Committee will view with concern applicants with:

  1. Cumulative and science grade point averages below 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  2. Academic Average and Total Science OAT scores below 300.
  3. Prerequisite science coursework completed more than 10 years ago. More recent (within five years) math and science coursework is preferred.

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 the application early in the cycle. AZCOPT will consider completed applications on a first-come, first-served basis until all seats are filled.


15%
Above Nat'l Avg NBEO Part I March 2022

98%
Pass Rate on NBEO Part II December 2021

94%
Pass Rate on NBEO Part III July-June 2021-2022

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
  • Submission of the results of one of the following entrance examinations:  Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Dental Aptitude Test (DAT), Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). 
    • A competitive test score (at least at or above the mean score for each exam) is recommended of all applicants. 
    • In order to be considered for the class to be admittted in the fall of each academic year, the entrance examination must be taken and results submitted by April 30th of the year of matriculation. 
    • Entrance exam scores must be earned no more than five years prior to the planned enrollment year.
  • 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

Student Demographics

Year Matriculates Sex Non AZ Residents Canadian URM Entering GPA
Female Male
2022 63 71% 29% 86% 8% 24% 3.59
2021 63 59% 41% 86% 10% 21% 3.52
2020 70 57% 43% 77% 6% 19% 3.53
2019 57 54% 46% 84% 9% 19% 3.41
2018 56 46% 54% 95% 9% 13% 3.44
2017 56 50% 50% 80% 9% 21% 3.39

Annual Pass Rates

NBEO Exam Part I, Applied Basic Science
Year Total number of first time test takers (March and August) Breakdown of total number of first time test takers by test administration date AZCOPT Pass Rate (%) of first time test takers National Pass Rate (%) of first time test takers AZCOPT Advantage
March August
2022 56 55 1 79% 64% 15%
2021 54 54 0 83% 72% 11%
2020* 46 44 2 83% 79% 4%
2019 51 51 0 92% 78% 15%
2018 54 53 1 85% 75% 10%
*test administration dates were July and November due to COVID

NBEO Exam Part II, Patient Assesment and Management
Year Total Number of First time test takers (December and April) Breakdown of total number of first time test takers by test administration date AZCOPT Pass Rate (%) of first time test takers National Pass Rate (%) of first time test takers AZCOPT Advantage
December April
2021-2022 53 52 1 96% 85% 11%
2020*-2021 47 45 2 89% 89% 1%
2019-2020 49 49 0 100% 90% 10%
2018-2019 54 54 0 96% 90% 6%
*traditional test dates were altered due to COVID

NBEO Exam Part III, Clinical Skills Examination
           Year             (July-June) Total number of first time test takers AZCOPT Pass Rate (%) of first time test takers National Pass Rate (%) of first time test takers AZCOPT  Advantage
2021-2022 52 94% 80% 15%
2020-2021 49 93% 81% 12%
2019-2020 48 88% 85% 2%
2018-2019 53 91% 87% 4%

Ultimate Pass Rates

At the time of graduation, students having attempted all three parts of the NBEO or OEBC portion and have passed all three parts or passed the OEBC.

Graduating Cohort Year
(year of graduation Oct. 1-Sept. 30, as defined by NBEO)

AZCOPT Graduates passing all Parts % of AZCOPT graduates % of National graduates
2021-2022 51 98.00% Awaiting Publication
2020-2021 50 96.00% 92.46%
2019-2020 50 98.00% 92.20%
2018-2019 54 98.15% 92.68%
2017-2018 50 96.00% 92.09%

National Board of Examiners in Optometry Report

NBEO report:  Comprised of students who met the graduation requirements of the program (completed courses, passed part I and took part II of NBEO) from October 1st - September 30th of the graduation year, regardless of initial matriculation date.

https://optometriceducation.org/news/national-board-of-examiners-in-optometry-yearly-performance-report/

4 year Average Pass Rates for first time test takers:

AZCOPT Graduates from October 2017 - September 2021
AZCOPT Pass Rate National Pass Rate AZCOPT Advantage
Part I 86.38% 77.26% 9.12%
Part II 95.56% 89.83% 5.73%
Part III 88.46% 81.38% 7.08%

Pass Rates by Graduating Class year for first time test takers:

AZCOPT Graduates from October 2020 - September 2021
AZCOPT Pass Rate National Pass Rate 
Part I 76.00% 77.67%
Part II 94.00% 89.65%
Part III 90.00% 79.87%
Ultimate Pass Rate 96.00% 92.46%

AZCOPT Graduates from October 2019 - September 2020
AZCOPT Pass Rate National Pass Rate
Part I 96.00% 81.77%
Part II 100.00% 93.21%
Part III 88.00% 85.75%
Ultimate Pass Rate 98.00% 92.11%

AZCOPT Graduates from October 2018 - September 2019
AZCOPT Pass Rate National Pass Rate
Part I 85.19% 74.66%
Part II 94.44% 87.63%
Part III 92.59% 83.88%
Ultimate Pass Rate 98.15% 92.68%

AZCOPT Graduates from October 2017 - September 2018
AZCOPT Pass Rate National Pass Rate
Part I 84.00% 72.93%
Part II 94.00% 89.96%
Part III 88.00% 75.97%
Ultimate Pass Rate 96.00% 92.09%

Attrition Rates for Classes Entering in 2018-2021

Class Entering in
2021

Class Entering in
2020

Class Entering in
2019

Class Entering in
2018

Number of students enrolled

63

70

57

56

Attrition rate of students for academic reasons

0.00% (0)

2.86% (2)

1.75% (1)

0.00% (0)

Attrition rate of students for other reasons

0.00% (0)

1.43% (1)

1.75% (1)

5.36% (3)

Students still enrolled or on an extended program*

100.00% (63)

95.71% (67)

96.49% (55)

94.64% (53)

*Extended program students scheduled to graduate in 5 or more years from initial matriculation

Graduation and Attrition Rates

Year of Matriculation 2015 2016 2017 2018
Number of Students Matriculated 54 54 56 56
Graduated in 4 years* 48 88.89% 46 85.19% 41 73.21% 47 83.93%
Graduated in 5 years 4 7.41% 3 5.56% 3 5.36% TBD
Graduated at any time 54 100.00% 49 90.74% 44 78.57% 47 83.93%
Still enrolled or on a leave of absence 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 4 7.10%
Completed all curricular requirements but not met other graduation requirements^ 0 0.00% 1 1.85% 3 5.36% 1 1.70%
Attrition for Academic Reasons 0 0.00% 1 1.85% 2 3.57% 0 0.00%
Attrition for Other Reasons 0 0.00% 3 5.56% 7 12.50% 4 7.14%

*A student who graduates within the same calendar year as the end of their fourth academic year is included in the 4 year graduation rate
^Students are required to pass NBEO Part I and take NBEO Part II or the Written Exam of the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OBEC) to satisfy the college graduation requirements.
Statistics As of 9/14/2022.

Percentage of graduates that pursued residency post graduation

Graduating Class

Percentage of Graduates Matched to Postdoctoral Residency Programs

Class of 2013 34.10%
Class of 2014 36.40%
Class of 2015 28.90%
Class of 2016 21.60%
Class of 2017 28.90%
Class of 2018 19.60%
Class of 2019 26.40%
Class of 2020 41.50%
Class of 2021 32.00%
Class of 2022 19.00%

Career and Educational Opportunities

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 and Median Salary

Employment of optometrists is expected to grow by 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, an aging population will lead to demand for 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 patients.

Source: 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 01/27/2022)

Median Annual Salary: $141,400*

*Source:  Eyes on Eyecare, updated January 7, 2022 -  eyesoneyecare.com

The starting salary new OD graduates earn is dependent on the professional practice site they enter.

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