Home Polls ODs Come From a Wide Variety of College Majors, Poll Finds

ODs Come From a Wide Variety of College Majors, Poll Finds

There are hundreds of college majors to choose from for today’s students. With the pre-requisites for optometry school, it’s not a surprise that many students are coming from a science background, but a Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll shows that while 67% of respondents majored in biology, chemistry or pre-med or nursing, there’s a diversity in the pathways.

Mykyta Dolmatov, Getty Images

The second most popular college major (16%) was soft sciences, including psychology, sociology, political science and history. Others noted that their path to optometry was a bit less medically heavy and started off as classes including humanities, art, physiology or neuroscience.

While some college minors that were listed included the expected sciences, such as chemistry, psychology and biology, others included sports medicine, Spanish, music, global arts, information technology and more.


Most respondents (90%) say optometry was their first career, while 10% came to optometry from another health-related field. Some respondents chose to note what got them interested in optometry. Here are some of those responses.

  • “I was planning to go to medical school but didn’t want to work the many hours that MDs usually do. I also wanted to be able to make enough money to support myself. Optometry offered that combination.”
  • “I decided to become an optometrist after my first eye exam at age 13. I knew by the time I started high school at 15 that I would pursue it. I went to college at an HBCU, Jackson State University, with the knowledge that I would attend optometry school. I never wavered on my decision. I have been an OD for 31 years in clinical education. It’s important to be a female role model of color who models compassion, competence and fairness to students, especially female students.”
  • “The field of vision therapy in optometry was the perfect career choice of combining health care, psychology, teaching and kids for me. Every day I’m thankful for being able to improve the quality of people’s lives through better vision.”
  • “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since age 6. Chose optometry after working in an optical while a full time student.”
  • “After one semester in pharmacy school and working part time in a drug store, I decided to look for something else. The next semester I was in liberal arts and, one day, when I was reading the Wayne University newspaper I saw an ad labeled ‘be a Dr. In three years.’ I scheduled an interview and discovered the difference between an optician and an optometrist. I was convinced optometry was for me. That was 1954; I am still seeing patients three days a week and loving it.”
  • “I needed a summer job when I had graduated from high school. A family friend with a private practice offered to have me tech at his office. I was impressed with how much of a difference he made in his job on a daily basis. When I went to college, I was a British literature and pre-med major and a French minor. When I got to the point where I had to decide what to do with a career, my college professor advised me to go into optometry. I haven’t regretted it since then!”

The majority of respondents (91%) were female ODs and eight percent were male ODs. One percent were non-OD females.


To view more polls and responses from WO, click here.

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