International Graduates of Non-ACOE Accredited Schools
NEW! Please read the following information if you are applying for registration in any of the following Canadian Provinces or Territories:
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
For registration in the Province of Quebec, please visit the website of the Ordre des Optométristes du Québec at: http://www.ooq.org/.
Pour de l’information concernant l’inscription dans la province du Québec, veuillez visiter le site internet de l’Ordre des optométristes du Québec au http://www.ooq.org/.
Recent Decision by Canadian Optometric Regulatory Authorities (CORA)
At its January 26, 2013 meeting, the Canadian optometric regulators (CORA) decided that the College of Optometrists of Ontario will be responsible, on an interim basis, for the credential assessment of applicants who are not currently in the process of having their credentials assessed by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) of the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. This interim process is pending the establishment of a national process, in development under the direction of CORA.
Once CORA has established its own process, this website will be amended prior to the implementation of any new process.
The following flow chart outlines the steps in the registration process for international graduates of non-ACOE accredited schools seeking registration to practice in Canada:
Internationally educated optometric graduates must first complete a Pre-Registration Form and send it to the College of Optometrists of Ontario. The completed Form can be sent by fax at (416) 962-4073 or by scanning and e-mail to LKassabian@collegeoptom.on.ca.
NEW! Internationally educated optometric graduates are required to successfully complete an English proficiency test. However, an applicant may be exempted from the English language proficiency test if the international optometry-related degree was completed in English.
Internationally educated optometric graduates must achieve the minimum score indicated for any one of the following tests:
- Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test – no individual score lower than 8.0. Information about this test can be found at Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic – minimum overall average of 7.5 with no individual score lower than 7.0. Information about the IELTS Academic can be found at their website.
- CanTest – minimum overall average of 4.5 with no individual score lower than 4.0. Information about the CanTest standardized English proficiency test can be found at their site at the University of Ottawa.
WES Credential Assessment
All internationally educated optometric graduates who are applicants for registration must have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES) prior to consideration by the College’s Credential Assessment Committee. Applicants are responsible to pay the WES fee to WES directly. Applicants are required to proceed with the College’s credential assessment through WES if their credential assessment was not completed by the IOBP by March 1, 2012. Click here if you are an internationally educated optometric graduate and would like to have your credentials assessed.
Assessment of Credentials by the Credential Assessment Committee
Applicants are required to provide to the College of Optometrists of Ontario, detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions, in electronic format if possible, indicating the course length in hours/days/weeks associated with the international optometry-related program they completed. If course descriptions are not sent directly to the College by the institutions where the applicant studied the program, applicants are required to provide a notarized copy of the original translated course descriptions. Applicants may be required to provide additional information as it relates to their employment history.
The credential assessment committee compares the optometry-related courses that the applicant completed, to courses in the optometry degree program at ACOE accredited programs, in particular the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. The Committee, which meets approximately quarterly, determines if the degree(s) is substantially equivalent to a degree from an ACOE accredited program. Based on information that an applicant provides on the Pre-Registration Form, the Committee may factor in any relevant work experience into the paper review of the applicant’s credentials. The Committee will make a recommendation to the Registration Committee of the relevant province regarding a candidate’s eligibility to proceed to the Prior Learning Assessment examination. Applicants will be notified by the relevant provincial College of the status of their application.
NEW! To defray the costs associated with credential assessment, applicants will now be required to provide a cheque to the College of Optometrists of Ontario in the amount of $475.00 (plus 13% HST) to have their credentials assessed by the credential assessment committee.
Work Experience Requirement
Candidates must have successfully completed either:
1. Three complete academic years of full-time1 undergraduate university study prior to entering an optometry school and a four year optometry degree2
2. Four year optometry degree2 followed by three years of optometric work experience outside Canada
International Optometric Bridging Program
Applicants who have been identified by the Registration Committee of the relevant province to require further education or training, prior to registration, will be permitted to apply to the International Optometric Bridging Program.
To help international graduates meet the academic equivalency requirement for registration, the College of Optometrists with the University of Waterloo School of Optometry developed the International Optometric Bridging Program. This includes Bridging One, a ten-week program, or Bridging Two, a 48-week structured academic and practical program. For information regarding the bridging program: http://uwaterloo.ca/international-optometric-bridging-program/
For more information regarding the Registration process, please contact Ms. Hanan K. Jibry, Assistant Registrar, College of Optometrists of Ontario.
1 Full-time means 5 courses per four-month term or semester with two terms per year.
2 For the purpose of this application, the following is accepted as equivalent to a 4 year optometry degree:
A three year optometry degree followed by a pre-registration year/period and successful completion of the final assessment. This pre-registration year/period must be endorsed by the country in which you obtained your degree.