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Clinical Education

The New England College of Optometry offers a superior clinical education that introduces the aspiring optometrist to a richly diverse patient base in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community health centers, and private practices. The College’s unique clinical programs put students on the forefront of community-based, collaborative care, emphasizing the important role optometrists play in developing patient-centered health care models.

Our Clinical Program Sets Us Apart

poster showing number of patients seen by the class of 2017 every yearWith access to more than 150 clinics and 200 schools in the greater Boston area and beyond, New England College of Optometry uses the city’s vast medical network to provide you with real-world clinical education starting in your very first weeks here. Rated by US World News and Reports as one of the cities with the best health care and best hospitals in the country, Boston is the perfect location for an optometrist in training. In addition, our fourth year students have the opportunity to travel all over the U.S., Canada, and China for their rotations.
View 2014-2015 Final Year Rotations by State.

Our Unique Approach to Clinical Education

The College is fortunate to be located in a city known for its world-class hospitals and superb medical care. Our wide-reaching New England College of Optometry (NECO) Clinical Network provides the ideal training ground for the student optometrist interested in a thorough and forward-looking education.

Our two comprehensive vision centers are known today as the NECO Center for Eye Care, (formerly known as New England Eye)At our two flagship locations at Commonwealth and Roslindale, we are at the forefront of providing care to our patients by attracting top optometry professionals, obtaining innovative technology, and integrating the support of our skilled optometry students from the College. Placements throughout the NECO Clinical Network also allow students to experience clinical placements in private practices, community health centers, VA medical centers, academic teaching hospitals, group practices, school-based programs, and facilities for individuals with disabilities such as New England Eye SEMA (Southeastern MA), Perkins School for the Blind, and the Cotting School for Multi-handicapped Students.

In addition to Boston area health facilities in the NECO Clinical Network, the college maintains teaching and service affiliations with VA hospitals, US Public Health Service centers, major ophthalmic practices and other health facilities throughout the country and in Canada and China for the final year externship rotations.

An Immersive, Comprehensive Experience Starting in Your First Few Weeks

Students participate in patient care beginning in their first few weeks, conducting clinical observations of optometrists examining patients and participating in vision screenings in a variety of settings. Within the first four weeks of your first year, you will participate in vision screenings at local elementary schools or Head Start programs. Second year students are assigned to clerkships in practices in the Boston area such as private practices, HMOs, hospitals, and corporate and multidisciplinary clinics. During the third year, students experience three different clinical rotations in primary care, among with the first of two contact lens rotations. The final year of the Doctor of Optometry degree program is entirely clinical—spanning 12 months of full-time clinical rotation assignments available at more than 50 clinical practice site throughout New England, the United States, and even worldwide.

Clinical Education: Four-Year OD Program

First Year

Students conduct clinical observations of optometrists and participate in vision screenings at local elementary schools and Head Start programs in the greater Boston area.

Clinic: Year 1

Second Year

Students participate in patient care under the supervision of clinical preceptors at private practices, hospitals, community health centers, corporate settings, and other types of clinics.

Clinic: Year 2

Third Year

Students provide direct patient care under the supervision of a clinical preceptor. They experience three clinical rotations in primary care optometry, including community health.

Clinic: Year 3

Fourth Year

Students take full responsibility for patient care, supervised by clinical preceptors. They cycle through four rotations in a community health center, VA hospital, specialty care and elective.

Clinic: Year 4
For more information about clinical education at the New England College of Optometry, contact the Office of Clinical Education:  

Erik Weissberg, OD,, Director of Clinical Education, 617-587-5750

Tracy Kelley,, Clinical Programs Coordinator, 617-587-5656

Cameron MacMartin, Administrative Assistant, 617-587-5551