Why Study Pre-Optometry

The Bachelor of Science in Biology/Health Professions Pre‑Optometry concentration prepares you for optometry school. Most pre‑optometry students are biology or chemistry majors; however, a pre-optometry student can major in virtually any discipline. Pre‑optometry advisors work closely with you to:

  • Schedule prerequisite courses required by optometry schools
  • Prepare for the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)
  • Apply to optometry school

Why Study Pre-Optometry at Ship

Shippensburg University has a consistent record of placing qualified students into optometry programs. We make sure our pre‑optometry students receive accurate, current, and comprehensive information. Pre‑optometry advisors maintain close ties with Salus University by visiting their program during the summer months to stay current with admissions procedures and standards. They attend conferences for health professions advisors where they meet colleagues from other universities and share ideas. We give our students “mock interviews” before they apply to optometry schools. This allows you to develop your interview skills and gives the Health Professions Committee information to write a committee letter of reference in support of your application.

Shippensburg University has been affiliated with Salus since 1990. Though most of our students pursue optometry school after completing a 4‑year undergraduate degree, several have entered Salus as “3+4” students. Under this agreement, qualified students can apply to Salus early in their junior year. If accepted, students enter Salus in their senior year and credits are transferred back to Shippensburg. After completing their first year of optometry school, Shippensburg awards these students a Bachelor of Science degree in biology or chemistry.

Faculty-directed undergraduate research is highly encouraged at Shippensburg, and each year several biology students present the results of their research at regional, state or national conferences.

You are encouraged to participate in internship experiences with private and corporate practices, visit Salus University (or other optometry programs) and attend on‑campus presentations by optometry school admissions personnel.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

Qualified Ship students have fared extremely well in the admissions process at various optometry programs throughout the United States. The majority of pre‑optometry students have entered Salus University, but our students have also been accepted to:

  • Illinois College of Optometry
  • Indiana University College of Optometry
  • New York College of Optometry
  • Ohio State University College of Optometry

Successful completion of an optometry program can lead to rewarding careers, including:

  • Optician
  • Optometrist
  • Ophthalmologist

Optometry salaries in PA range from $30,000 - $95,000.

To be a competitive and successful pre‑optometry students you need to:

  • Communicate frequently with your pre‑optometry advisor
  • Maintain a QPA of 3.3 or better
  • Perform above average on the Optometry Admissions Test
  • Complete internships in optometry settings
  • Demonstrate leadership, and community or human service
  • Have a willingness to volunteer
  • Plan a strategy early in their college career: course sequences
  • Prepare for and take the OAT
  • Apply to optometry schools

The basic course prerequisites for the 17 optometry schools in the United States and the one program in Puerto Rico are:

  • 16 credits of biology (including microbiology)
  • 16 credits of chemistry
  • 8 credits of physics
  • 3 credits of statistics

The biology-health professions curriculum enables you to schedule the necessary coursework to apply to optometry school along with required course for your major. Optometry schools expect non‑science majors to perform very well in these science courses. A broad selection of courses is available within the biology and chemistry disciplines. We encourage non-science majors to include some of the following courses among their electives:

  • Biochemistry
  • Human physiology
  • Cell biology
  • Histology
  • Pathogenic microbiology
  • Immunology  

Practicing professionals and optometry school admissions personnel are routinely invited to speak to the Health Sciences Club. Additionally, the diverse health professional interests of Shippensburg University students and the variety of health professionals invited to speak at the university expose pre‑ optometry students to other areas of the health care field.

142 Franklin Science Center, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1401
Department Website