Information you need to know if you wish to practice as an Optometrist:

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 Regulated Members of the ACO may call themselves an Optometrist.

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. For a detailed list of steps in the credentialing process, view FORAC's Credential Assessment Services
  2. Successfully complete the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) at the University of Waterloo.
  3. Apply to the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC) to challenge the OEBC Exam.
  4. After successfully completing the OEBC Exam, apply to the Alberta College of Optometrists, provide all the required documents and complete all the required forms (found on the ACO website). View the Application Checklist.
  5. Pass the Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agent (TPA) certification.
  6. Complete the Health Care Practitioner (HCP) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certificate.
  7. Pass the ACO Jurisprudence Exam. This exam can be written after the OEBC exam.
  8. Provide a Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Check.
  9. Register with the Alberta College of Optometrists.

For complete and the most current information on the registration requirements, visit the Graduate from a Non-Accredited School of Optometry web page and the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada.

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:

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 FORAC website. 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 Optometrists to integrate into the Canadian labour force?

Directions for Immigrants offers workplace communication groups to help you integrate into the Canadian work environment. The Clear Communication for Health Professionals (CCHP) workplace communication group is designed to help internationally educated health care professionals fine-tune their communication skills with patients, supervisors, and colleagues. In one week, you will learn through role-play and scenarios the nuances and expectations of Canadian patients, inter-disciplinary teams, and other health care industry participants. Topics include overcoming communication barriers, professional workplace interaction/behaviour, Canadian workplace culture, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Visit Clear Communication for Health Professionals for more information.

What resources are available for Optometrists in Alberta?

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