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Best Ranked Optometry Schools in Missouri

Best Ranked Optometry Schools in Missouri

In the heart of America, Missouri stands as a beacon of healthcare excellence, renowned for its exceptional optometry education. For aspiring optometrists seeking to embark on a journey of vision and care, Missouri offers a wealth of renowned institutions that cultivate exceptional eye care professionals.

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In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the realm of optometry education in Missouri, exploring the criteria for choosing optometry schools, detailing some of the best optometry schools in Missouri, and addressing frequently asked questions to aid prospective students in making informed decisions.

Whether you’re looking for a research-intensive environment, a commitment to community service, or a focus on clinical training, the optometry schools in Missouri provide an array of pathways to success.

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Related: Top 12 Best Optometry Schools in Kansas

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Optometry School

There are certain factors to take into consideration before picking your best choice for optometry education. These include:

Accreditation:

  • Ensure the school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Optometric Education (COAE). This accreditation ensures that the school meets the highest standards for optometry education and that its graduates are prepared to practice effectively.

Curriculum and Program Focus:

  • Optometry schools in Missouri offer various specializations, such as low vision care, pediatrics, contact lens management, and vision therapy. Consider your career goals and choose a school that offers a program specialization that aligns with your interests. 
  • Evaluate the school’s overall curriculum and ensure it covers the breadth of knowledge and skills required for optometry practice. The curriculum should include courses in anatomy, physiology, optics, pharmacology, and clinical optometry.

Faculty and Research:

  • Assess the expertise and research achievements of the faculty. A strong faculty with a proven track record of research indicates a commitment to academic rigor and innovation.
  • Consider the opportunities for mentorship and collaboration with faculty members. The ability to interact with faculty and engage in research can enhance your learning experience and prepare you for a career in optometry research.

Clinical Training Opportunities:

  • Evaluate the diversity and quality of clinical training opportunities. Hands-on clinical experience is essential for developing the skills and competencies required for optometry practice.
  • Assess the availability of clinical placements in diverse settings. Exposure to a variety of patient populations and practice environments will broaden your understanding of optometry.

Location and Cost:

  • Consider your preferences for urban, suburban, or rural settings. The location of the school may influence your lifestyle and opportunities for extracurricular activities.
  • Evaluate the tuition fees and financial aid options. The cost of attendance can vary significantly between optometry schools. Research financial aid options, such as scholarships and grants, to 

Best Optometry Schools in Missouri

The best-ranked optometry schools in Missouri include the following:

1. University of Missouri-St. Louis

University of Missouri-St. Louis

The first on our list of the best-ranked optometry schools in Missouri is the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) College of Optometry is a highly regarded institution dedicated to educating and training future optometrists. 

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Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Optometric Education (COAE), the college offers a four-year Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree program that equips students to provide comprehensive eye care.

The program emphasizes hands-on clinical experience through rotations in diverse settings, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for real-world practice. 

UMSL’s commitment to research and innovation further distinguishes the college, with faculty actively engaged in groundbreaking studies that advance optometric care.

Key Strengths:

  • Accredited COAE program
  • Comprehensive OD degree program
  • Emphasis on hands-on clinical experience
  • Strong research focus
  • Commitment to innovation and advancements in optometry

Related: Top 12 Best Optometry Schools in Kansas

2. Washington University in St. Louis 

Washington University in St. Louis is a renowned institution that hosts one of the top-ranked optometry schools in Missouri.

The School of Optometry at Washington University is known for its strong research foundation and clinical training opportunities. The program emphasizes evidence-based practice and fosters a culture of innovation, preparing graduates to be leaders in the field of optometry.

Students gain valuable clinical experience through rotations in various settings, including the school’s own eye clinic, a community health center, and a Veterans Affairs hospital. 

This school provides a solid foundation for those looking to not only excel in clinical practice but also contribute to the innovative strides occurring within the broader field of eye care.

Key Strengths:

  • Prestigious research-intensive environment
  • Clinical training in diverse settings
  • Emphasis on evidence-based practice
  • Commitment to innovation and leadership in optometry

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3. Saint Louis University 

Saint Louis University is one of the leading optometry schools in Missouri with a deep-rooted commitment to patient care and community service, making it a distinguished choice for optometry education.

The School of Optometry at Saint Louis University emphasizes compassionate and comprehensive eye care, preparing graduates to serve with excellence and integrity.

The program’s strong clinical focus ensures that students gain practical experience in a variety of settings, including the school’s own eye clinic, community health centers, and international mission trips. 

Saint Louis University’s dedication to community service instills a sense of social responsibility in its graduates, making them valuable contributors to the optometric profession.

Key Strengths:

  • Emphasis on patient care and community engagement
  • Rigorous academics combined with hands-on clinical training
  • Commitment to social responsibility and community service
  • Fostering compassionate and impactful optometrists

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4. Missouri State University 

Missouri State University 

Missouri State University offers a comprehensive pre-optometry track within the Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Program that prepares aspiring optometrists with a strong foundation in the sciences. 

The program provides a rigorous curriculum in biology, chemistry, and physics, ensuring students are well-equipped for the competitive application process to optometry school. Students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the program’s research laboratories

Missouri State’s commitment to undergraduate research provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in research labs, fostering a passion for scientific inquiry.

This undergraduate program is a great option for students who are interested in pursuing a career in optometry but do not yet have the necessary prerequisites.

Key Strengths:

  • The pre-optometry track designed to prepare students for optometry school
  • Strong foundation in the sciences
  • Hands-on experience in research laboratories
  • Opportunity to gain valuable insights into the field of optometry

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5. University of Missouri – Columbia 

Situated in the vibrant city of Columbia, the University of Missouri (MU) stands as a prominent institution with a commitment to excellence in health professions education.

The University of Missouri provides an excellent undergraduate program in vision science through its Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 

The program offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in vision science, which prepares students for a variety of careers in optometry, vision therapy, and ocular pharmacology. 

The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including anatomy and physiology of the visual system, optics, visual perception, and developmental vision. Students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the department’s research laboratories and clinical settings.

Key Strengths:

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in vision science
  • Comprehensive curriculum covering the basics of vision science
  • Hands-on experience in research laboratories and clinical settings
  • Preparation for careers in optometry, vision therapy, and ocular pharmacology

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6. Lindenwood University

The next school on our list of the top-ranked optometry schools in Missouri is Lindenwood University. Located in Kingshighway, Lindenwood University offers a pre-professional program in optometry designed to prepare students for successful admission to optometry school.

The program emphasizes strong academic performance, particularly in science courses, and provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in the field of optometry.

Students can participate in shadowing experiences with optometrists, volunteer at eye clinics, and attend workshops and seminars related to optometry. 

Lindenwood’s pre-optometry program is a great option for students who are passionate about eye care and want to ensure they have the necessary preparation for optometry school.

Key Strengths:

  • Pre-optometry program tailored for aspiring optometrists
  • Emphasis on foundational sciences relevant to optometry
  • Clinical observation opportunities for hands-on exposure
  • Interaction with practicing optometrists for real-world insights

Related: Top 10 Best Optometry Schools in California

7. Missouri Baptist University 

Missouri Baptist University (MBU) offers an innovative and forward-thinking curriculum that prepares students to become compassionate and competent optometrists.

The Optometry program at MBU emphasizes a holistic approach to eye care, encompassing not only the physical aspects of vision but also the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of patient well-being.

The program’s strong emphasis on community service aligns with MBU’s mission to provide education with a Christ-centered foundation, fostering a sense of social responsibility in its graduates.

Key Strengths:

  • Holistic approach to eye care, addressing physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of patient well-being
  • Strong emphasis on community service and social responsibility
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students for both clinical practice and patient care
  • Emphasis on compassionate and empathetic care for patients

Read also: Top 12 Best Optometry Schools in Kansas

8. Drury University

Drury University 

Drury University’s Pre-Optometry Program makes it one of the best optometry schools in Missouri. The program provides a strong foundation in the sciences and humanities, preparing students for success in optometry school and beyond.

The program’s curriculum includes courses in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, and communication, ensuring that students have a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles underlying optometry.

Drury University provides aspiring optometrists with a comprehensive educational journey, equipping them with both theoretical knowledge and real-world skills crucial for success in the dynamic field of eye care.

Key Strengths:

  • Pre-optometry program designed to prepare students for optometry school
  • Comprehensive curriculum covering the fundamentals of optometry
  • Hands-on clinical observation opportunities for practical experience
  • Interaction with practicing optometrists for real-world insights and guidance
  • Emphasis on developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for optometry practice

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9. Park University

Park University’s Pre-Optometry Program is carefully crafted to equip students with a solid foundation in both the sciences and humanities, laying the groundwork for success in optometry school and future professional endeavors.

The curriculum is comprehensive, spanning biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, and communication to foster a holistic understanding of the scientific principles integral to optometry. 

Emphasizing practical knowledge, the program actively encourages student engagement in research initiatives and clinical observation opportunities, providing valuable hands-on experience in the dynamic field of optometry. 

Park University stands as a launchpad for aspiring optometrists, offering a well-rounded education that seamlessly blends theoretical understanding with real-world application.

Key Strengths:

  • Rigorous pre-optometry curriculum covering foundational sciences and humanities
  • Emphasis on research and clinical observation opportunities for hands-on experience
  • Preparation for success in optometry school and beyond
  • Strong academic foundation with a focus on critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Supportive and collaborative learning environment

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10. Culver-Stockton College 

Culver-Stockton College’s pre-optometry program qualifies it as one of the top-ranked optometry schools in Missouri, imparting a strong foundation in both the sciences and humanities to ready students for success in optometry school and beyond.

The curriculum encompasses a spectrum of courses in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, and communication, guaranteeing a well-rounded understanding of the scientific principles intrinsic to optometry. 

With a strong emphasis on physical experience, the program actively fosters student involvement in research and clinical observation opportunities, facilitating invaluable hands-on experience in the field. 

Culver-Stockton College is dedicated to shaping competent and knowledgeable individuals, providing a comprehensive educational pathway that seamlessly integrates theoretical knowledge with practical skills essential for a flourishing career in optometry.

Key Strengths:

  • Pre-optometry track designed to prepare students for optometry school
  • Strong foundation in the sciences
  • Hands-on experience in research laboratories and clinical settings
  • Opportunity to gain valuable insights into the field of optometry
  • Small class sizes and personalized attention from faculty

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11. William Woods University

William Woods University offers a comprehensive Optometry Program, shaping students into compassionate and competent optometrists.

The curriculum is thoughtfully designed to impart the knowledge and skills essential for delivering comprehensive eye care, emphasizing both clinical practice and patient well-being.

Through immersive clinical rotations in diverse settings—spanning the university’s eye clinic, community health centers, and Veterans Affairs hospitals—students gain invaluable hands-on experience. 

William Woods University stands at the forefront of optometric education, providing a dynamic learning environment that seamlessly integrates theoretical understanding with practical application, preparing graduates for success in the evolving landscape of eye care.

Key Strengths:

  • Comprehensive optometry curriculum covering foundational sciences and clinical practice
  • Emphasis on both clinical practice and patient care
  • Valuable clinical experience through rotations in various settings
  • Strong emphasis on patient-centered care and compassion
  • Fostering a sense of social responsibility and community service
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion in the field of optometry

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12. Hannibal-LaGrange University

Hannibal-LaGrange University

Hannibal-LaGrange University’s Optometry Program stands as a cornerstone for aspiring optometrists, offering a rigorous academic foundation coupled with comprehensive clinical training. 

The program’s curriculum meticulously delves into the scientific principles underpinning optometry, encompassing vital topics like anatomy, physiology, optics, and pharmacology. 

One of its notable strengths lies in providing students with valuable hands-on experience through clinical rotations. These rotations extend across diverse settings, including the university’s dedicated eye clinic, community health centers, and Veterans Affairs hospitals. 

Hannibal-LaGrange University is committed to cultivating skilled and compassionate optometry professionals, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for successful and impactful careers in the field.

Key Strengths:

  • Personalized attention from experienced faculty members
  • Opportunities for research and innovation in optometry
  • Emphasis on ethical and professional conduct
  • Commitment to community service and outreach

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What are the admission requirements for optometry schools in Missouri?

The admission requirements for optometry schools in Missouri vary slightly from school to school, but they generally include the following:

– A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a strong foundation in science and math
– A minimum GPA of 3.0 (or higher for some schools)
– Competitive scores on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
– Letters of recommendation from professors, optometrists, or other healthcare professionals
– Shadowing experience with optometrists
– A personal statement outlining your motivations for pursuing a career in optometry

What is the average cost of attending an optometry school in Missouri?

The average cost of attending an optometry school in Missouri is approximately $25,000 per year for in-state students and $40,000 per year for international students. However, the actual cost of attendance can vary depending on the school, the student’s financial aid package, and other factors.

What job opportunities are available for optometrists in Missouri?

Optometrists in Missouri are in high demand, and there are many job opportunities available in both urban and rural areas. The most common job opportunities for optometrists in Missouri include:

General optometrists: Provide comprehensive eye care services, including vision exams, contact lens fittings, and the treatment of common eye conditions.
Pediatric optometrists: Provide specialized care for infants, children, and adolescents, addressing their unique vision needs.
– Low vision optometrists: Provide specialized care for individuals with low vision, helping them maximize their remaining sight.
– Vision therapy optometrists: Use vision therapy techniques to treat vision problems that are not correctable with glasses or contact lenses.

Conclusion

Missouri offers a variety of highly regarded optometry schools that provide comprehensive and rigorous education programs to prepare students for successful careers in this field. 

With their strong academic foundations, hands-on clinical training opportunities, and commitment to research and innovation, these schools stand out as exceptional choices for aspiring optometrists. 

Whether you are seeking a large research-intensive institution or a smaller, more personalized learning environment, the top-ranked optometry schools in Missouri listed here will help you achieve your goals.

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