Optometrist (OD)

  • Optometrist (OD)

Optometrists, known as doctors of optometry (O.D.’s), examine and test eyes to detect vision problems, abnormalities and diseases. They prescribe corrective lenses and/or procedures to fix or improve vision problems.


  • Geriatric optometry
  • Pediatric optometry
  • Primary care optometry
  • Low-vision rehabilitation
  • Vision therapy
  • Contact lenses
  • Hospital-based optometry

Work Activities/Work Locations

Optometrists typically work as a salaried employee in a private practice, health maintenance organization (HMO), retail store, as a consultant, or in public health. They may work for an ophthalmologist, as a college instructor or in research. Optometrists examine eyes to detect vision problems and prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses or other procedures. They also may prescribe medications to treat diseases of the eye. In some cases, optometrists consult with and refer patients to ophthalmologists or other health care practitioner. Optometric assistants or technicians assist in preparing patients for examination, performing vision tests, cleaning instruments, repairing frames and modifying contact lenses.

Quick Facts

Education: 8 years

Patient Interaction: High

Physical Activity: Medium

Salary: $94,209

Job Growth: High

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Getting Started

High school students should study mathematics, chemistry and biology. A bachelor’s degree with 2-3 years of pre-optometric study is recommended at an accredited college or university. It is recommended that students take the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) during their sophomore or junior year to gain admission into a 4-year program at an accredited optometry school*. Courses will include pharmacology, optics, vision science, biochemistry, laboratory and clinical training. Upon completion of the 4-year program, students receive their Doctor of Optometry Degree. They also must pass written and clinical state board examinations to become licensed. Optometrists wishing to specialize (see listing) must complete postgraduate residency programs. *Optometry Schools–There are no Schools of Optometry in Wisconsin.

American Optometric Association
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO, 63141-7881
314/991-4100 or 800/365-2219

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
6110 Executive Blvd., Suite 420
Rockville, MD, 20852

National Board of Examiners in Optometry
200 S. College St., #2010
Charlotte, NC, 28202
704/332-9565 or 800/969-EXAM

Wisconsin Optometric Association
6510 Grand Teton Plaza, Suite 312
Madison, WI, 53719
608/824-2200 or 800/678-5357

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 550
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 40,600
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 51,600
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 27%
Expected Annual Openings: 2,550
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $94,209

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.