Who is the licensing body responsible for Optometrists in Alberta?

In Alberta, you must be registered with the Alberta College of Optometrists (ACO) to practice as an Optometrist. Only registered members may call themselves Optometrists.

What are the registration and licensure requirements for an existing practitioner coming from a jurisdiction outside of Canada and the United States?

An existing practitioner from a jurisdiction outside of Canada and the United States must 

1. Apply to the FORAC Credentialing Committee for assessment of your credentials. Following the assessment, applicants will be separated into those that will be allowed to challenge the Optometry Evaluating Exam and those that will be required to complete the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) at the University of Waterloo. 

2. Following successful completion of the Evaluating Exam or IOBP, apply to the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO) to challenge the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry (CACO) 

3. After successfully completing the CACO, applicants may apply to the Alberta College of Optometrists, provide all the required documents and complete all the required forms (found on the ACO website). 

4. Pass the Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agent (TPA) certification 

5. Complete the Health Care Practitioner (HCP) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certificate 

6. Pass the ACO Jurisprudence Exam. This exam can be written after the CSAO exam. 

9. Register with the Alberta College of Optometrists. 

For complete information on the registration requirements, visit the Graduate from a Non-Accredited School of Optometry web page. 

Note: A List of Accredited Optometry Schools recognized by the Alberta College of Optometrists is available on the ACO website.

What is the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP)?

The University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada, along with the College of Optometrists of Ontario, provides an International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) for optometrists educated outside Canada and the United States. The IOBP program consists of a structured orientation to Canadian standards of optometric practice. It also provides opportunities for language, academic and clinical skills necessary for registration in all provinces of Canada. 

Applicants are encouraged to be aware of the IOBP language fluency requirements and the following assessments: academic qualification assessment, prior learning assessment, and Optometric Credential Assessment. 

This program is designed to prepare the applicants to move forward to the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry, which is the examination necessary for registration to practice optometry in Canada.

What are the educational requirements for Optometrists in Alberta?

Note: Licensing bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards. 

In Canada, two institutions offer four-year Doctor of Optometry degree programs: 

University of Waterloo in Ontario 

University of Montreal in Quebec 

A number of universities and colleges in Alberta offer Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree programs and courses which will satisfy optometry program entrance requirements.

What are the accepted English language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?

Applicants must successfully achieve the required passing score on one of the ACO approved English Language Tests. To learn more about where to take an English language proficiency test in Alberta, visit English Language Proficiency Tests and Locations.

What supports are available to support internationally educated health professionals to integrate into the Canadian labour force?

Directions for Immigrants, Clear Communication for Health Professionals 

Developed for health care professionals, Clear Communication for Health Professionals is a facilitated study group that focuses on the essence of effective communication in a health care setting. Participants will learn more about Canadian workplace culture, developing effective listening skills and other techniques designed to help you succeed in the workplace. Please visit the Job Success Groups tab on the Study Groups page.

What resources are available for Optometrists in Alberta?

Alberta Association of Optometrists 

Additional Occupational Information 

For more information on occupations, duties and wages, visit