Those who hope to serve the needs of the vision-impaired or pursue a future in general vision care can find a more direct academic path to a career in optometry through our pre-optometry degree program. This undergraduate focus also prepares students for advanced study and careers across the natural sciences.
- What is Pre-Optometry?
- What Can I Do with a Pre-Optometry Degree?
- Is Majoring in Pre-Optometry Worth It?
- Curriculum and Degree Requirements
- Admission Requirements
Our pre-optometry degree program prepares students for the rigors of more advanced study in optometry school programs. Following a biology or chemistry track, the pre-optometry program gives students the well-rounded undergraduate background preferred by most professional schools of optometry. Besides a focus on sciences, including physics, chemistry and biology, students explore English, mathematics, social sciences and the humanities.
With a pre-optometry credential, students can continue on to a professional school of optometry or advanced studies in a natural science discipline. Program graduates have the opportunity to ultimately take on roles in the optometry field or branch into a variety of natural science careers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, optometrists earn a median wage of $124,300 annually. Natural science managers earn a median wage of $137,900 annually, with chemists and material scientists reportedly earning an average of $79,760. Both of these areas are projected to grow at a faster-than-average growth rate of 6 percent through 2029. Career opportunities across optometry and natural science fields can include:
- Doctor of Optometry
- Optometrist/Practice Owner
- Natural Sciences Manager
- Laboratory Director
- Clinical Researcher
In addition to financial benefits, improving vision quality and the overall vision health of patients makes an optometry career personally fulfilling, as well. Students pursuing natural science careers can contribute to medical and pharmaceutical discovery and innovation that can lead to disease cures or improved healthcare for individual patients as well as at the organizational level.
Earning a pre-optometry degree can bridge your undergraduate education to your graduate education with a specialized focus in advanced studies in your areas of interest, ultimately building momentum toward a rewarding career. Benefits of pursuing your pre-optometry degree at University of the Cumberlands can include:
- Expanded career opportunities. A well-rounded undergraduate degree can expand your opportunities, whether you hope to join the field immediately or continue on with your studies and take aim at a career down the road.
- Dedicated advisors. Our advisors offer expertise in guiding your biology or chemistry track learning goals, from understanding the courses required for degree completion to understanding the procedures and requirements necessary for a postbaccalaureate education in your field of interest.
- Meet your requirements. A pre-optometry degree could help you meet certain academic requirements for entry to a professional school of optometry. Your pre-optometry courses can also better prepare you for success in advanced classes in your area of interest at the graduate level.
While you have the option to choose to major in just about any subject, as long as required courses are completed, most professional schools in optometry prefer students who have completed courses in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and have a strong background in English, humanities and social sciences. The ability to solve scientific problems and a broad undergraduate education are considered essential for the pre-professional student.
Costs for programs of study at University of the Cumberlands are competitive and affordable. Click here to view tuition rates and fees.
In order to be considered for admission to this program, click here to view the undergraduate, on-campus admissions information.
Click here to view University of the Cumberlands' accreditation information.