Residency programs for optometry students and recent grads have been steadily growing for years, and 2018 is no exception. In fact, the number of students who participated in the Association of Schools and Colleges’ (ASCO) optometry residency matching service (ORMatch) increased nearly 8% from last year alone, according a statement from the educational non-profit. The group also noted that residency programs that filled all their positions rose 13.8% from 2017. In addition to an increase in the matches themselves, ASCO announced a 9.1% rise in applicants from last year.

“The match reflects the growing interest and importance residency education provides to the practitioner, the patient and the profession,” said Diane T. Adamczyk, OD, professor and director of Residency Education at State University of New York College of Optometry, in a statement.

Residency programs offer graduates—and sometimes students—of optometry the opportunity to learn on-the-job while practicing medicine in a clinic.

Association of Schools and Colleges. Residency programs Accessed April 3, 2018.