The 22nd optometry school in the United States plans a 2016 opening at Kentucky’s University of Pikeville. Gov. Steve Beshear says a $1.5 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will help get the professional school up and running. “As more people access health care through Medicaid and other programs and as our population ages, the need for medical professionals, including quality optometrists, is expected to increase,” the governor told reporters. The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry recently gained approval as a Stage One Applicant by the American Optometric Association's Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.
A recent ODs on Facebook thread found participants lamenting the high cost of college debt many people pile up to earn their degree. But with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting robust job growth for both optometrists (24 percent) and dispensing opticians (23 percent) between 2012 and 2022, qualified eyecare and eyewear professionals should have no trouble landing work in their chosen fields.