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Best Optometry Schools in California

If studying Optometry in California is your desire, but you don’t know the best optometry school in the state that will be suitable for you, here are the lists of optometry schools in California. Try to read it to the end to assist you in making the right choice of school.


Everybody knows that medical schools serve an important role in society. Because doctors deal with life or death scenarios, they must know what they’re doing.

There’s absolutely no room for error when we’re talking about human health, including optometry. For that reason, future optometrists must think seriously about where they’ll learn their trade.

They’ll want to work through a program that features first-rate faculty members, state-of-the-art equipment, and strong teaching schools.

For those resources, you might immediately think of New York. And while California is an equally large state, one finds only three optometry schools there.

These schools boast incredibly high “ultimate pass rates,” as reported by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.

These rates indicate how many people in a program pass the professional organization’s exams, showing that students have the training they need to enter the profession.

Of course, most future optometrists aren’t interested in just passing the exam. They want a rich educational experience, gaining a wide range of experience to prepare for a fulfilling career as an optometrist.

Here are the three Optometry schools in California

1. UC Berkeley School of Optometry

With their most recent class passing the NBEO at a rate of 92.54%, well above the national average, the University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry takes the top spot on this list.

Of course, such high numbers don’t happen by accident. Rather, it’s the result of a first-rate program, complete with a dedicated faculty and state-of-the-art resources.

Those attributes have been in development since 1923 when the school was just the third university optometry program in the United States.

In the years that followed, the school garnered an impressive list of faculty and alumni, including former presidents of the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry.

Berkeley Optometry continues to develop its reputation on the foundation of a comprehensive curriculum. See Optometry Schools Requirements.

Although students take comprehensive classes in topics such as biology, optics, and pharmacology, coursework exists to supplement clinical training.

From the very first day, students begin learning about clinical education, immediately performing preliminary examinations of the eye, and measuring refractive error. Students gain exposure to advanced clinical examination techniques by the end of their first year.

Berkeley Optometry offers students a wide range of clinical options, ensuring exposure to a diverse body of patients. On campus, students can work in either the Meredith W. Morgan University Eye Center or the Tang Eye Center.

Both options allow students to treat vision problems caused by diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetes.

Around the Bay Area, the school operates ten satellite clinics, including locations in Rohnert Park, Novato, San Rafael, Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, and Santa Cruz.

For those who wish to work with veterans, Berkeley Optometry operates VA-affiliated clinics in the area. Students can obtain year-long posts in these clinics to gain competency in clinical skills and scholarly development.

In their fourth year, students participate in three or more externships under the mentorship of adjunct clinical professors.

These externships expose students to a greater diversity of patient populations and provide intensive training in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of visual disorders.

2. Marshall B Ketchum University Southern California College of Optometry

With a history that stretches back to 1904, the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University is one of the oldest such schools in the United States.

From those historic roots, SCCO seeks to reimagine the future of healthcare education. The program emphasizes interprofessional learning, which brings together the three primary care disciplines.

This approach prepares graduates to be part of a patient’s primary healthcare team, who must work together to provide collaborative and effective patient care.

To that end, SCCO’s curriculum engineers patient-care experiences that expose students to perspectives and approaches beyond the profession.

The school holds to these values throughout each of the four years in the doctor of optometry program.

In the first year, classroom instruction exposes students to the basic sciences and research techniques.

In addition to courses such as geometrical and physical optics, biomedical sciences, visual sciences, students develop their basic ocular examination skills.

During their second year, students take not only advanced visual science courses but also begin learning clinical techniques.

In the second quarter of this year, students even begin treating their own patients at Ketchum Health.

That practice continues through the third year, during which students take patient care assignments at Ketchum Health under the supervision of clinical faculty.

Courses during this year cover topics such as contact lenses, vision therapy, diseases of the eye, ocular pharmacology, clinical optometry, and public health. See Best Veterinary Schools in Texas

In their fourth year, students participate in SCCO’s Clinical Outreach Program, in which they work alongside other healthcare professionals in four 10–12-week rotations.

One of these rotations occurs in the University Eye Center at Ketchum Health in Anaheim. The remaining three take place in clinically diverse student choice settings, including VA medical centers, HMOs, military bases, and sites overseas.

This focus on practical patient care works in tandem with the school’s commitment to research. Working in conjunction with those in the Physician Assistants and Pharmacy schools, SCCO students begin research projects as early as year one.

These features provide ample preparation for students moving into the field, as demonstrated by their NBEO pass rates. SCCO students consistently meet or exceed national ultimate pass rates, with 94% of the class of 2019 passing the exam.

3. Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry

At the Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry, everyone from the students to the faculty to the staff adheres to one theme: building bridges.

This focus drives everything the school does, including an academic program that follows the humanistic tradition and a biomedical research agenda based on enhancing and extending the quality of life in their communities.

The Doctor of optometry program at Western College of Optometry exposes students to a range of treatment methods, including neuro-optometry, vision therapy, low vision rehabilitation, and care for those with developmental disabilities.

The program combines classroom instruction, laboratories, pre-clinical experiences, and service learning with hands-on work, giving students access to patient care, an experience that culminates in full-time clinical rotations in the fourth year.

The program emphasizes neuro-optometry, providing students with a fuller understanding of neurological processes and pathology.

In addition to requiring that students enroll in the medical school’s Neuroscience System course, students must take additional classes dedicated to the specialized discipline of neuro-optometric rehabilitation.

The program culminates in a fourth-year externship, during which students practice medicine under the supervision of their mentors, gaining hands-on experience.

To ensure that they receive the most possible exposure to the variety of clinical settings, students rotate through four different sites, including private optometry or ophthalmology practices, Veterans Administration clinics, Indian Health Service clinics, armed forces facilities, and specialty clinics within WesternU.

Students even have the opportunity to serve in international sites. In addition to presenting future physicians with a diverse patient base, these rotations teach patient management in primary care, vision rehabilitation, pediatrics, ocular disease, and surgical co-management.


That was all about the best optometry schools in California. Was the article helpful to you in picking the best school that will be suitable for you?

Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Admin

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