Offset the High Cost of Optometry School
Optometry is a growing field and practitioners can enjoy a relatively lucrative career in a multitude of settings. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 34,000 optometrists practicing in America in 2004. Most made between $84,000 and $166,000, and the field is expected to grow by 18-26% over the next ten years.
There are currently 19 accredited colleges and schools of optometry in the United States and Canada, and each can prepare budding optometrists to work in a variety of places, including private offices, institutes of higher education, and the military.
However, like most schooling, obtaining a degree in optometry comes with a substantial price tag. Fortunately, you can help mitigate the costs associated with becoming an optometrist by taking advantage of some of the optometry-related scholarships that are available to students.
Financial Needs-Based Optometry Scholarships
The Bureau of Health Professionals has scholarships for disadvantaged students wishing to obtain a degree in optometry. The award covers tuition costs as well as some educational and living expenses. To be eligible, applicants must fit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' description of coming from a "disadvantaged background" and be citizens or lawful residents of the States.
Institute-Specific Optometry Scholarships
University of Houston - College of Optometry
Most colleges of optometry offer some kind of scholarship funding, and the one at the University of Houston is no exception. There, scholarships in the form of financial aid are given to those students who are attending the institute and who have filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Recipients may have their entire tuition costs underwritten in this manner, though other expenses, such as books and cost of living, are not necessarily covered.
- Planning on practicing optometry in the northern region of Texas? You can try for the Mike Hammond, O.D. Memorial Scholarship worth $500 if you're chosen as the annual beneficiary.
- The Patrick Everett Cummings Memorial Scholarship is available to American Optometric Association (AOA) members who are in good standing. One $3,000 award is given annually, and all applicants must submit a resume and University of Houston - College of Optometry Student Data sheet as well as an essay on a proscribed topic.
- Texas residents can try for the $2,000 Vision Quest Scholarship. To be eligible, you must demonstrate academic performance in ocular disease and pharmacology, among other requirements.
- A $1,500 Texas State Optical Scholarship is awarded annually to the student submitting the best essay on a pre-determined topic.
The Ohio State University - College of Optometry
Ohio State College of Optometry handles many University-administered funding streams including several scholarships worth between $1,200 and $5,400, depending upon whether you are a resident of the state.
Military Optometry Scholarships
The U.S. Army offers optometry scholarships, as it has a growing need for Doctors of Optometry to provide services on the Army Health Care Team. Through its Health Profession Scholarships (HPSP) program, the Army offers two-, three-, and four-year funding awards, which cover tuition, fees, books, and a stipend to recipients. In return, those who receive the scholarships agree to incur a three or four year active duty service obligation.