Eyes On Eyecare Releases First Optometry Student Report, Reflecting U.S. Students' Views Toward Clinical Education and Professional Development

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SAN DIEGO—Eyes On Eyecare, a digital site and publication offering clinical and career content, events, and career services for eyecare professionals, has released its 2021 Optometry Student Report. The report is based on data collected from 1,476 optometry students in the U.S. and Canada. This large sample size comprises approximately 20 percent of all optometry school students in the U.S. as well as at least 10 percent of all students in each U.S. optometry school. Noted Matt Geller, OD, CEO of Eyes On Eyecare, “One in five optometry students nationwide responded to our survey last spring, and we were so impressed with the insights they shared. As always, student debt is a huge concern for optometry students preparing to graduate and one of the biggest threats to maintaining the health of the industry. However, the place where students felt their schools most needed to improve was in providing resources for professional development, which many students called out as a key way that schools could enhance their experience."

The report covers a variety of topics related to school satisfaction, study habits, the quality of instruction and professors at their school, hopes for the future, and their expectations for life after graduation. In many instances, findings are reported at the school level and the report also shares the top five schools by student debt, self-reported clinical preparedness, self-reported preparedness for the business aspects of optometry, and more.

Among some of the findings of the survey:

• 93.1 percent of optometry students were satisfied with their choice of optometry school, citing exceptional faculty, opportunities for involvement in the field, clinical experience, and a feeling of engagement with the school and the community as a whole as the reasons for their high ratings. Most interestingly, high student debt did not correlate with low school satisfaction rates, with 3 of the top 5 schools by student debt (below) boasting satisfaction ratings of 90 percent or above.

• The biggest concerns for students beyond academics were preparation for all of the non-clinical aspects of optometry practice. While the average student response for how prepared they felt for clinical practice on a scale of 1 - 10 was 7.18, the average feelings of preparedness for the business aspects of optometry and insurance coding and billing didn’t rise above 5.

“Optometry school applications are a major first step for many in a career in eyecare,” says Brett Kestenbaum, PT, DPT, COO of Eyes On Eyecare. “Our hope with this survey is to give those with the power to enact change in optometry schools some data that will inspire their work, plus give pre-optometry students considering their options more information on which to base their application decisions.”

The full 2021 Optometry Student Report is available for free download here.

Eyes On Eyecare is operated by CovalentCreative, which has launched such brands such as CovalentCareers, CovalentCreators, OptometryStudents.com, and NewGradOptometry.com.