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Externship Program

The final year in the four-year and accelerated OD programs is comprised of four externship clinical rotations that complete the clinical education experience. During each clinical rotation assignment, students participate in full-time patient care under the guidance of a clinical preceptor, assuming responsibility for the eye exam from start to finish. This includes helping to coordinate follow-up care, selecting and ordering eyewear, and providing patient education to promote eye health and wellness.

An Education Anchored in Comprehensive Clinical Training

The goal for the externships is to help our optometry students develop into competent, clinically proficient, and caring optometrists who are capable of practicing independently as well as with other providers in multi-disciplinary health care settings.  The selection process allows students to list their preferences for specific sites, locations, and specialties. Throughout the final year, they complete four clinical rotations, conducting full-time patient care under the guidance of clinical faculty at our local or partner sites. The clinical rotations can be fulfilled in local, national, or international locations in the NECO Clinical NetworkView list of Affiliated NECO Faculty in the externship program.

Externship Clinical Rotations

Fourth year externships in the NECO Clinical Network are available in over thirty states in the United States, and around the world in China, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Students typically rotate through four types of clinical assignments:

  • Community Health Center

  • Ocular Disease  

  • Specialty Care

  • Electives 

Current externships opportunities include:

  • Community Health Centers
    Locations: Greater Boston Area and Holyoke, MA
  • VA Hospital Programs:  generally a Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    Locations: California (Fresno), Connecticut (Newington, West Haven), Maine (Togus), Massachusetts (Bedford, Brockton, Jamaica Plain, Lowell, West Roxbury, and Worcester), New Hampshire (Manchester) New York (Hudson Valley), Oregon (Portland), Rhode Island (Providence), Vermont (White River Junction), and Washington (Vancouver)
  • Specialty Care: (vision therapy, pediatrics, specialty contact lens, or low vision)
    • The NECO Special Populations Rotation (multiple locations in the Greater Boston area including: Boston Medical Center, Joslin Diabetes Center, Perkins School for the Blind, Tufts New England Medical Center, and many others)
    • Vision therapy (central and southern CT, western MA)
    • Pediatrics (Miami, Virginia, China)
    • Specialty contact lens (Atlanta, western MA, Miami, St Louis, southern NH, eastern PA, central NJ) or low vision (western NY, southern CA, southern CT)
  • Electives:  these can include private optometry practices, additional opportunities at a VA hospital, military bases, university-affiliated hospital clinics, and optometry/ophthalmology group practices

    • Academic Medical Centers (China, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, United Kingdom)
    • Army Health Clinic (Virginia)
    • Canadian Eye Clinics (Ontario, Canada)
    • Additional Community Health Centers (California, Minnesota)
    • Indian Health Services (Alaska, New Mexico)
    • MD/OD Group Practices involving Cornea, Cataract, Retina, Glaucoma and Refractive Surgeries (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey)
    • Naval Health Clinics (Hawaii, Rhode Island, Virginia)
    • Private Optometry Practices (California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia)
    • Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington)