Optometry and audiology are somewhat analogous professions in the scope of vision and hearing care. They have similar roles in the hierarchy of ophthalmologist-otolaryngologist and opticians-hearing instrument specialists. Optometrists, however, have recognition as limited license physicians (LLP), limited prescription rights, and some surgical authority. Let’s dig in deeper and learn more about optometry. Comparing the Professions From our quick snapshot in TABLE 1, it is clear that optometry has been around as an independent profession for much longer and is a little over three times larger in labor force. The differential in labor force is intriguing given that hearing loss has a higher prevalence than vision loss with age (i.e., 26 percent of older adults have hearing loss versus 15 percent with vision loss [NCHS, 2010]). Education The years of education are comparable and there is no requirement for post-graduate residency, though options exist within optometry. Unlike audiology, optometry maintains its own entrance and national board examinations. The optometry entrance exam called the Optometry Admissions Test has four parts: natural sciences (including biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry), physics, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. However, most audiology programs use the general record examination (GRE) as part of their admission process. The general GRE test is comprised of analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. There is no science component, unless a program requires a GRE Subject Test in a specific area. Audiology and optometry licensure are contingent upon passing a national exam. Currently, for audiology this is the Praxis examination in audiology facilitated by the educational testing service (ETS). The Praxis test series are generally used to assess knowledge for teaching. Optometry licensure is contingent upon passing the National Board of Examiners in optometry exams. This is a three-part exam generally taken over years three and four of the optometry program. There are also special examinations required depending on state scope of practice. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!