Study Optometry in Australia

Job prospects in Optometry are positive. Around 4300 optometrists practice in Canada and the number is expected to increase over the next  years, because as the Canadian population ages, the demand for and number of people seeking optometric services will increase.

A Doctor of Optometry is required in order to go through the licensing process to practice in Canada.  n order to be registered as an optometrist and be authorized to practice the profession in Canada, you will be required to: have a minimum of three years of undergraduate education, a four-year university program in optometry, and an optional one year residency training. You will also need to successfully pass the national examination administered by the Canadian Examiners in Optometry and complete the provincial board requirements where you intend to settle and work.


Step 1: Credential Assessment

Credential assessment services are provided through the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC). For details please visit Please note that applicants who have previously had their credentials assessed by the College of Optometrists of Ontario will not be eligible to apply again to the national credentialing process.

The fee for credential assessment is approximately $1,000 plus taxes. FORAC requires an evaluation of the applicant’s education credentials from World Education Services (WES-ICAP, $245). If the applicant’s optometry degree program was not conducted in English, FORAC will require successful completion of an English proficiency test.

FORAC’s assessment will determine if the applicant is eligible to challenge the IGOE Exam.

Step 2: Apply for referral to the IGOE Exam

If FORAC’s credential assessment determines that the applicant is eligible to challenge the IGOE Exam, the applicant must complete the appropriate referral form, which can be found on FORAC’s website and submit it to to receive a referral number.

Step 3: Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination (IGOEE)

The IGOE Exam is a written and clinical exam that assesses the applicant’s current knowledge, skill and judgment as it relates to the practise of optometry in Canada. It is administered in Toronto by the Touchstone Institute and the cost of the IGOE Exam is $5,000 per attempt.

The results of the IGOE Exam will determine if the applicant is eligible to proceed directly to the OEBC Exam & OSCE OR if the applicant is eligible to apply to bridging training at the University of Waterloo.

Step 4 (if required): Bridge Training/Advanced Standing Program

For the past 14 years, the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science (WOVS) has provided the International Optometric Bridging Progam (IOBP). The final IOBP program will be offered in 2020 after which it will transition to an advanced standing program. The IOBP program is a one year program beginning in January (one year, $50,998). Tuition fees do not include the cost of textbooks, living expenses, travel, accommodation, etc. The program includes classroom lectures, clinical instruction, and externship rotations. Among those admitted to the bridging program, approximately 80% succssfully complete the IOBP and national optometry exam. Offers of admission are made based on rank order. Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee acceptance into a bridging program.

WOVS will transition to an advanced standing program for internationally-trained optometric graduates, which will begin in 2022. The program will consist of an orientation term (term length and cost to be determined) followed by integration into the 3rd year of the WOVS Doctor of Optometry degree program. Those who successfully complete the orientation term, 3rd and 4th years of the program will be granted a Doctorate of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo.

For more information, visit the University of Waterloo IOBP web pageCanadian citizenship, permanent resident status or convention refugee status must be established prior to participating in a bridging program.

Step 5: OEBC Exam & OSCE

In order to qualify to register as an optometrist in Manitoba, applicants must pass the OEBC Exam & OSCE (national optometry exam) administered by the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC). To apply to write the exam, applicants complete an application form, pay a $5,900 fee (2017) and provide the required application documents.

The OEBC Exam & OSCE is new in 2017 and replaces the CACO national optometry exam. The new exam consists of a one day Written Examination, using 62 cases to test competencies; and a 3 hour and 10 minute Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), using 16 stations to test practical competencies. It is offered in April/May and October/November of each year and is held in Hamilton, ON (English) and at the University of Montreal (French).

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