Chicago College of Optometry

Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

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With a strong foundation in the basic and visual sciences, the Chicago College of Optometry offers students the skills needed for success. A low student-to-faculty ratio helps ensure that you will receive individualized attention and mentorship from faculty who are experts in their field. Throughout the program, our caring faculty will guide you through the application of scientific principles to diagnose and manage eye disorders. You will also benefit from extensive patient care experiences under the supervision of skilled clinical optometry faculty.

Program
Doctoral

Location
Downers Grove, IL

Duration
4 years, full-time

Intake
August

Class Size
61 (Fall 2019)


The Chicago College of Optometry 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, through introductory courses and clinical experiences. 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 both on campus and off campus externship rotations. Clinical settings for external rotations may include military facilities, veteran administration hospitals, public health service hospitals, and specialty and/or private practices or clinics.

  • Basic, behavioral, and clinical sciences
  • Preclinical simulation labs
  • Licensing board simulation rooms
  • Community clinical rotations
  • National boards preparation courses
  • Optometry business management courses
  • Local and national external rotation sites
  • Contemporary optometry practice curriculum and clinical settings
  • Interprofessional education and clinical experience

The mission of the Chicago College of Optometry is to develop competent individuals who embrace lifelong learning through the pursuit of excellence in education, research, scholarship, and patient care for a diverse society. The College's educational programs emphasize and promote public health, leadership, ethics, professionalism, compassion, commitment, collegiality, and sense of community.

The Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry has been granted the accreditation classification of "Preliminary Approval" as of March 2, 2016 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. "Preliminary Approval" is the classification granted to a professional degree program that has clearly demonstrated it is developing in accordance with Council standards.

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; phone 312/263-0456.

18% projected increase in optometry jobs by 2026*

$140,913 average net income for optometrists in 2016**

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Optometrists
**AOA Survey of Optometric Practice, updated January 2018 (https://info.optometriceducation.org, last accessed 10/2/2018)

Students seeking admission to the Chicago College of Optometry must submit the following documented evidence:

  1. A minimum cumulative GPA and science coursework GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale.
  2. A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. A B.A. degree is acceptable, but a B.S. degree is preferred.
  3. Results of the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). Minimum Academic Average and Total Science scores 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 June 1st of the year of admission. OAT scores must be earned no more than 5 years prior to the planned enrollment year.
  4. Necessary course prerequisites. All prerequisite courses must be completed with grades of C or better prior to matriculation. Only courses designed for science majors or preprofessional students are acceptable for the science prerequisites.
  5. Two letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a practicing optometrist. The other letter must be from a prehealth advisor, a professor, an employer or extracurricular activity advisor. Letters of recommendation from relatives, personal and/or family friends are not acceptable.
  6. A good understanding of optometric medicine. Candidates are strongly encouraged to shadow and observe a number of practicing optometrists in the clinical setting.
  7. Extracurricular and/or community activities that indicate a well-rounded background and demonstrate a commitment to service.
  8. Interpersonal and communication skills necessary to relate effectively with others.
  9. Passage of 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 preoptometry 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.

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INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS
An international student m'ust complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, or from a recognized post-secondary Canadian institution that uses English as its primary language of instructiol, and documentation. Of the 30 semester hours, 15 hours must be in the sciences, 6 hours in non-remedial English composition, and 3 hours in speech/public speaking.
Applicants who wish to receive credit for prerequisite coursework completed outside the
U.S. or at a Canadian institution that does not use English as its primary language of instruction and documentation must submit an official, detailed, course-by-course evaluation obtained from one of the following evaluation services:
• Education Credential Evaluators (ECE): 414/289-3400 (www.ece.org, e-mail: eval@ece.org)
• World Education Service (WES): 212/219-7330 (www.wes.org)
• Josef Silny & Associates International Education Consultants: 305/273-1616 or Fax 305/273-1338 (www.jsilny.com, e-mail: info@jsilny.com)

International applicants who do not provide documentation of acceptable U.S. or Canadian course/degree equivalency will not receive credit, and will be required to complete all prerequisite courses at an accredited college or university in the United States, or at a recognized post-secondary institution in Canada that uses English as its primary language of instruction and documentation.
For clarification about recognized post-secondary institutions in Can1ada that use English as a primary language of instruction and documentation, international applicants should contact the Midwestern University Office of Admissions.

Click here for more information on International Student Financial Services.

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TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR ADMISSION
The Technical Standards set forth the nonacademic abilities considered essential for students to achieve the level of competence required by the faculty to obtain the academic degree awarded by the College. The health care provider must be able to perform tasks in an efficient and timely manner to diagnose, treat, and manage patients.
Therefore, the following abilities and expectations must be met by all studen s admitted to the College with reasonable accommodation. Candidates must have a ilitie and skills in five
areas: 1) observation; 2) communication; 3) motor; 4) intellectual, co􀀿c􀁀tual, integrative, quantitative; 5) behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some limitation in certain of these areas but the candidates must be able to perform in a reasonably independent, timely manner.

1. Observation: The candidate must be able to accurately make observations at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision, hearing and sense of touch and is enhanced by the functional use of all of the other senses.
2. Communication: The candidate must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently and sensitively in both oral and written form and be able to perceive nonverbal communication.
3. Motor: Candidates must be able to coordinate both gross and fine muscular movements, maintain equilibrium and have functional use of the senses of hearing, touch and vision. The transfer students must have the minimum qualifications for admissions as all other applicants to the CCO program. Typically, students will transfer at the beginning of the second year of the curriculum.
Students requesting transfers must meet the College's general requirements for admission. They must also submit the following: 
1. A letter to the Director of Admissions outlining the reasons for requesting transfer and explaining any difficulties encountered at the previous institutions
2. Course syllabi for all optometry coursework for which advanced standing credit is requested
3. Official scores from the Optometric Admissions Test (OAT)
4. Official transcripts from all schools attended - undergraduate, graduate, and professional
5. A letter from the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled that describo/urrent academic status and terms of withdrawal or dismissal
6. Additional documents or letters of recommendation as determined necessarv.i5y the Director of Admissions or Dean

Following receipt of these materials, a decision by the Dean is m&G􀀄arding whether or
not the student merits an on-campus interview. If the student receives an invitation, he/she
interviews with an appropriate interview team. The interview team then makes an
admissions recommendation to the Dean, who is responsible for approving both the student's admissions status and class standing.
The transfer application must be received sufficiently early to allow for processing of the
application, interview, and moving of the student prior to the start of the next academic term.

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18%
Projected Increase in Jobs by 2026

$140,913
Average Net Income

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 scores must be submitted by May 1st.
    • 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

Class of 2023 Profile

  • Female: 67%
  • Male: 33%
  • Average age: 24
  • Average overall GPA: 3.21
  • Average OAT scores: 581 (combined)
  • Top home states: Illinois (38%), Florida (18%), Michigan (7%), Indiana (5%), Texas (5%)

Attrition Rates

 

Class of 2021

Class of 2022

  Number enrolled

66

60

  Attrition for academic reasons

1

1

  Attrition for other reasons

0

0

  Scheduled to graduate in 5 or more years

2

3

  On-schedule to graduate in 4 years

63

59

  Students from another year added to cohort

0

3

First Time Pass Rates

Coming Soon

NBEO Exam Results

Coming Soon

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.1

US Employment Projections and Median Salary

Employment of optometrists is expected to grow by 17%-18% over the next ten years, 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.2 

The number of people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, has grown in recent years. Diabetes is 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.

CAREER OUTLOOK

18% projected increase in optometry jobs by 2026*

$140,913 average net income for optometrists in 2016**

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Optometrists
**AOA Survey of Optometric Practice, updated January 2018 (https://info.optometriceducation.org, last accessed 10/2/2018) 

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