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
56

Graduation Rate
97% (Class of 2017)


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
  • National Boards preparation courses
  • Optometry business management courses
  • Local and national external rotation sites

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

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.

  • 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

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.


$140,913
Average Salary

92.7%
Pass Rate on NBEO Part I

96%
Graduation Rate

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 competitve 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

Class of 2022 Profiles

  • Female: 50%
  • Male: 50%
  • Average age: 25
  • Average overall GPA: 3.40
  • Average OAT scores: 651 (combined)
  • Top home states: California (16%), Colorado (13%), Utah (9%), Nevada (7%), Arizona (5%)

Licensing Exam Scores for the Class of 2019

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:
  • AZCOPT Part I Pass Rates            
  •  National Part I Pass Rates
  • Form A: 71.43 %        
  • Form A: 76.95 %       
  • Form B: 86.67 % 
  • Form B: 80.04 % 
  • Form C: 100.00 %   
  • Form C: 75.50 %    

Part II: Patient Assessment and Management

    • First-time takers: 
  • AZCOPT Part II Pass Rates            
  •  National Part II Pass Rates
  • Form A: 99.55 %        
  • Form A: 90.60 %       
  • Form B: 96.00 % 
  • Form B: 90.01 % 


Part III: Clinical Skills Examination

  • First-time takers: Data not yet available

Licensing Exam Scores of the Class of 2018

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:
  • AZCOPT Part I Pass Rates            
  •  National Part I Pass Rates
  • Form A: 71.43 %        
  • Form A: 76.95 %       
  • Form B: 86.67 % 
  • Form B: 80.04 % 
  • Form C: 100.00 %   
  • Form C: 75.50 %    
  • Form D: 75.00 %
  • Form D: 65.68 %

Part II: Patient Assessment and Management

    • First-time takers: 
  • AZCOPT Part II Pass Rates            
  •  National Part II Pass Rates
  • Form A: 99.55 %        
  • Form A: 90.60 %       
  • Form B: 96.00 % 
  • Form B: 90.01 % 

Part III: Clinical Skills Examination

  • First-time takers: 86.79% [National Pass Rate for first time test takers: 75.94%]

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 test takers: 78.1%]

Part II: Patient Assessment and Management

  • First-time takers: 95.1% [National Pass Rate for first-time test takers:  90.00%]

Part III: Clinical Skills Examination

  • First-time takers: 86.05%

NBEO Report

AZCOPT Graduates from

October 2017 - September 2018

(National Statistics)

AZCOPT Graduates from

October 2016 - September 2017

(National Statistics)

Number of first time test takers

50 (1644)

43 (1622)

Passage rates for Part I

first time test takers

84.00% (72.93%)

90.70% (79.04%)

Passage rates for Part II

first time test takers

94.00% (89.96%)

95.35% (89.33%)

Passage rates for Part III

first time test takers

88.00% (75.97%)

83.72% (81.26%)

Ultimate pass rate

96.00% (92.09%)

95.35% (91.06%)

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.

Attrition Rates for Classes Entering in 2015-2018

Class Entering in

2018

Class Entering in

2017

Class Entering in

2016

Class Entering in

2015

Number of

students enrolled

56

56

54

54

Attrition rate of students

for academic reasons

0.00% (0)

7.14% (4)

1.85% (1)

0.00% (0)

Attrition rate of students

for other reasons

1.78% (1)

3.57% (2)

0.00% (0)

0.00% (0)

Students still enrolled

or on an extended program*

96.43% (55)

89.28% (50)

98.1% (53)

100.00% (54)

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

Graduation and Attrition Rates for Classes Entering in 2011-2015

Class Entering in

2014

Class Entering in

2013

Class Entering in

2012

Class Entering in

2011

Number of students

enrolled

53

54

54

49

% (number) of students

who graduated in 4 years

75.47% (40)

72.22% (39)

83.33% (45)

83.67% (41)

% (number) of students

who graduated in 5 years

N/A

14.81% (8)

7.41% (4)

8.16% (4)

% (number) of  students

who graduated in 6 years

N/A

1.85% (1)

3.70% (2)

0.00% (0)

% (number) of graduates

at any time

75.47% (40)

88.89% (48)

96.30% (52)

95.92% (47)

Attrition rate (number) of

students for academic reasons

7.55% (4)

1.85% (1)

0.00% (0)

4.08% (2)

Attrition rate (number) of

students for other reasons

7.55% (4)

1.85% (1)

1.85% (1)

0.00% (0)

% (number) of students currently

enrolled or on a leave of absence

9.43% (5)

7.41% (4)

1.85% (1)

0.00% (0)

*Incudes students who have completed their requirements within 1 quarter of graduation.

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 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, 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.

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 04/09/2018)

Median Annual Salary: $140,913*

*AOA survey of Optometric Practice, updated January 2018.  http://info.optometriceducation.org

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

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 29-1041, Optometrists, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291041.htm (accessed 04/09/2018)

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