Practicing as an optometrist


Important: The information on this page is intended to provide you with the basics of the credentialing process. It is your responsibility to contact your provincial regulatory body to ensure you are familiar with the process to return. While we review this content on an annual basis, it is subject to change at any time. Please ensure you review all information provided by the regulatory bodies for the most up-to-date information. OzTREKK is not responsible for your credentialing process.​

The Doctor of Optometry degree granted by the University of Melbourne is the only graduate optometry program offered in Australia. Graduates of this program aiming to practice optometry in Canada are required to complete an International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) such as the new Advanced Standing Optometry Preparatory Program offered by the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists website, international graduates are those who have obtained their optometric education from a school other than those accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, the only accrediting body for professional optometric degree programs, optometric residency programs and optometric technician programs in the United States and Canada.

Steps to Practice in Canada

Step #1 Graduate with a Doctor of Optometry degree or equivalent

Step #2 Have credentials assessed by the Federation of Optometric Authorities of Canada (FORAC)

The FORAC credential assessment is what determines if an applicant can take the IGOEE (Step 3). Please note, FORAC requires a 4-year optometry program, and also 3 years of either undergraduate university science studies or full-time work experience as a licensed optometrist before applicants are permitted to apply to FORAC.

Step #3 Take the Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination (IGOEE)

Those approved will write the IGOEE, which will determine whether an applicant is able to proceed directly to the OEBC Exam & OSCE (Step 5) or whether a bridging program is required first.

You should anticipate having to take the ASOPP program as part of the certification process as it may be required.

Step#4. Advanced Standing Optometry Preparatory Program (ASOPP)

The University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science (WOVS) offers a new educational pathway each year for up to six qualified internationally trained optometric graduates (IOGs), the Advanced Standing Optometry Preparatory Program (ASOPP).

Eligible IOGs will be required to

  • apply to ASOPP through the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) for a $215 application fee; and
  • complete a Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer).

WOVS will offer one ASOPP program, during the Spring academic term (April–August). Students who successfully complete all ASOPP components will be admitted as Advanced Standing students in the fall term of the third year of the Doctor of Optometry program. Successful completion of the OD program (years 3 and 4) will lead to the granting of a Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national board examination for licensure/registration in Canada.

Spring term (April – August) Fall term (August – December) Winter term (January – April)
ASOPP Year 3 term 1 Year 3 term 2
Year 4 term 1 Year 4 term 2 Year 4 term 3
  • Length: Orientation term, followed by 1.5 years (3rd and 4th years) of OD program.
  • Number of spaces for 2021: 6; demand far exceeds this

Admission for the ASOPP is based on IGOEE scores (above, Step 3) that are placed in rank order. Meeting the minimum eligibility threshold on the IGOEE does not guarantee an offer of admission to the ASOPP.

It is important to understand that the demand for the ASOPP typically exceeds the program capacity.

Step #5 Pass the national exam

Administered by the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC), which consists of Written Exam and OSCE.

Step #6 Register with your provincial optometric regulatory authority

More of a visual person? see the flowchart that describes the process.

Details by Province

Practicing in Australia

Australian Accreditation
The Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ) is the accreditation authority responsible for performing accreditation functions for the optometry profession. These functions include assessment of programs of study in Australia and assessment of overseas qualified optometrists seeking registration in Australia. The University of Melbourne’s Doctor of Optometry is Accredited by OCANZ (approved until 2023).

Graduates of accredited Australian programs must register with the Optometry Board of Australia before practicing in the country. You can check out the OBA’s registration page for more information on the process.

Graduates of Melbourne’s Doctor of Optometry program are eligible to apply for Australian Registration (OCANZ). If successful, you will then be able to apply for general skilled migration to Australia.

Australia’s skilled visa programs are designed to target genuine skill shortages in Australia, one of those being optometrists. This means that there are specific visas available to individuals who are qualified to work or train as an optometrist in Australia and can meet all other requirements. You are strongly advised to contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs either here in Canada or while you are in Australia for full details.


Can my entire application be submitted through OzTREKK?

Absolutely. We will manage and submit your application(s) on your behalf and communicate any updates from the universities. We’re here to be an advocate for you, and to walk you through the entire process from start to finish.

OzTREKK will keep you on track with application deadlines, interview dates, and any applicable events. We’ll supply you with a step-by-step list of what you’ll need to submit, and when.

Should you have any questions along the way, just send us an email or book a chat! That’s why we’re here!

Are there any scholarships for international students?

Scholarship options in Australia are usually limited for international students as they tend to be reserved for those undertaking postgraduate research degrees; however, we can advise you where to look and whether specific programs have a history of offering scholarships.

Occasionally, scholarships are granted to high achievers—those with very high marks. In previous years, we have seen $5000- to $10,000-scholarships given to OzTREKK students.

Check out OzTREKK’s Financing page to learn more about scholarships and paying for your degree.

Do you have course outlines on file? 

Before sending us outlines, check to see if we’ve already got them. We can save you a lot of time and ensure we’re submitting good outlines on your behalf. Outlines must be within 2 years of the time you took the course (as listed on your transcript).

I received a low mark on my prerequisite course. Will this impact my application? 

To meet the prerequisite subjects, you need to have been granted the credit (passed); the grade isn’t considered in the prerequisite assessment.

What does “rolling admissions” mean?

Rolling admissions means the university assesses applications as they are received, or on a “first come, first served” basis. As soon as they’ve met the quota and the program is filled, they close the applications. So, for a program that has rolling admissions, the earlier you apply the better!

How does OzTREKK know if my application will be competitive?

The majority of Canadians applying to full-degree programs in Australia (i.e., not study abroad courses, which usually only last a semester or two) apply through OzTREKK. They’re studying medicine, dentistry, law, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, etc.

Since they’re using OzTREKK’s services, this gives us a good idea of the starting point of a competitive application each year, allowing us to help you determine which universities/programs are most likely to present you with a letter of offer!

You can get started on determining your chances by reviewing the admissions requirements on each program page. Then, visit our GPA Conversions and Eligibility pages for details and suggestions to help you get into the program of your dreams. Of course, OzTREKK is always here to help if you have questions.

What is a 5.0 GPA in Australia?

Unlike in Canada, GPAs in Australia are simple. They are standardized, so they mean the same thing to everyone.

In Australia, a 5.0 / 7.0 would roughly translate to a 2.7 / 4.0 or approximately 70% – 72%, but keep in mind all universities assess slightly differently.

Learn more on our GPA Conversions page where we list the most common Canadian GPA scales to their corresponding Australian GPA grade.

Which prerequisites do I need?

Prerequisite courses vary by university and by program. We’ve listed university- and program-specific requirements on each program’s page under “Admissions Requirements.”

How do universities calculate GPA?

Calculations differ by university, but most use cumulative (all units within a program) or weighted GPA (typically last 2 or 3 years of study). See GPA Calculations for more information.

What are official transcripts, and how do I send them?

Currently, our Australian universities require original transcripts to assess your application—certified by OzTREKK, which means we have to put our stamp on paper. Literally.

Usually, students order transcripts from their high school, college and/or university and have them mailed to our office. Alternatively, you can pick up your transcripts and mail them to OzTREKK, as long as they remain in their original, sealed envelopes.

You will need to submit final transcripts (showing your degree/diploma is completed) from every institution you have attended. We only require one copy of each transcript, even if you apply to multiple universities or programs.

OzTREKK educational services
301-1 Sherbrooke St. E.
Perth, ON K7H 1A1 CANADA

Alternatively, your high school, college and/or university can email them to

P.S. Try sending your documents via FedEx and Purolator, especially when you need your documents to arrive at our office ASAP. If you use Canada Post’s courier Xpresspost, please don’t request a signature, as this can add unexpected delays!

As soon as your transcript arrives, we’ll let you know!