What's Next?
I felt the school did a great job of making sure we had the basic clinical skills mastered...externs prepared me well for private practice and enhanced my business skills. - Class of 2015 graduate

After Graduation

SCO also monitors the success of its students after graduation. Beginning in 2013, SCO instituted a systematic approach to monitoring the career modalities and satisfaction of its graduates. Using this data as benchmarks and based on those graduates and alumni who respond to the surveys, SCO’s goals are that 60% of graduating 4th year students report having a position by graduation and 80% of alumni report having a position within 6 months of graduation.


Career Placement Rates

SCO provides career planning services through the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence to students beginning as early as their first professional year. SCO defines positive placement as a position in optometry through a variety of settings such as the military, private practice, and hospital settings; residencies to expand their clinical skills; and further graduate education. The results below include the graduates who chose residencies (see below for a description) as their first year of employment.


Graduate Survey conducted annually prior to graduation

Class Number/Percent
in negotiations
for position
still seeking
(Response rate: 90%)
61.2% 18.4% 20.3%
(Response rate: 83%)
69.4% 13.9% 16.7%
(Response rate: 90%)
76% 18% 6%
(Response rate: 97%)
71% 23% 6%

Alumni Surveys conducted annually one year after graduation

Class Accepted position
by graduation
Accepted position within
3 months of graduation
Accepted position within
6 months of graduation
Total accepted within
6 months of graduation
Met or
exceeded goal
(Response rate: 46%)
59.6% 25% 7.7% 92.3%
(Response rate: 44%)
58.7% 19.6% 6.5% 84.8%
(Response rate: 54%)
82.9% 12.2% 4.9% 100%
(Response rate: 51%)
75.8% 21.2% 3.0% 100%

Residency Program Rates by Graduation

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) defines an optometric residency program as a planned program of post-O.D. clinical education that is designed to advance significantly the optometric graduate’s preparation as a provider of patient care services beyond entry level practice. Graduates who are interested in clinical faculty positions, Veterans Health Administration employment, or opportunities with ophthalmology, or in multi-disciplinary practice settings will benefit from residency training. Southern College of Optometry’s goal for residencies is that at least 20% of the graduating class applies for residency programs. SCO is proud of the number of its graduates who have chosen to further their optometric education.
Year Number of
Percentage of Graduates
Applied to Residency Programs
Percentage of Graduates
Accepted to Residency Programs
Met or
exceeded goal
2012 121 25% 22%
2013 123 29% 20%
2014 115 30% 26%
2015 130 27% 18%
2016 126 29% 22%
2017 129 25% 22%