Overseas Practitioners

Persons holding a qualification in optometry from outside Australia and New Zealand

To practise as an optometrist in Australia, you need to apply for and be registered with the Optometry Board of Australia (the Board). You may also need to apply for a visa issued by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. These two application processes are entirely separate and success in one does not automatically guarantee success in the other.

If you hold a substantially equivalent qualification in optometry obtained from an optometry education provider outside Australia and New Zealand, you must first apply to the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ) to complete the Competency in Optometry Examination (COE).

Once you have passed the written component of the Competency in Optometry Examination (COE), you may optionally apply through AHPRA for limited registration should you want to practise under the supervision of an optometrist in Australia prior to completing the required clinical component of the COE.

If you have trained outside Australia and New Zealand you must demonstrate competencies in ocular therapeutics prior to making an application for general registration. Those without prior ocular therapeutics training are required to complete an ocular therapeutics postgraduate course from a Board-approved program of study. Those with prior ocular therapeutics training, are required to pass the examination conducted by OCANZ, the Assessment of Competence in Ocular Therapeutics (ACOT) or complete an ocular therapeutics postgraduate course from a Board approved program of study.

When no registration is required

  • If you do not want to practise in any form in Australia while completing the COE process (written or clinical), you do not need to be registered with the Board. 

Limited registration for the purposes of supervised practice

  • If you have passed only the written component of the COE and want to practise under supervision before completing the clinical part of the COE process, you may optionally apply for limited registration for the purposes of supervised practice. If granted limited registration, you will require a high level of direct supervision as determined by the Board, until you pass the practical component of the COE. 

  • If you have passed the COE (written and clinical) and apply to sit an ACOT examination, you must apply for limited registration for the purposes of supervised practice. If granted limited registration, you will require a lower level of supervision, as determined by the Board. 

    For more information on supervision, please refer to Optometry supervision guidelines for optometrists found on the Board’s website.

Limited registration for the purposes of postgraduate training is required

  • If you have passed the COE (written and clinical), you want to practise in Australia, and you’ve enrolled in an approved program of study in ocular therapeutics, you must apply for limited registration for the purposes of postgraduate training and provide a postgraduate training plan. If granted limited registration, you will not be required to work under supervision, unless determined otherwise by the Board.

Further information is available in a fact sheet on limited registration for postgraduate training or supervised practice on the Board’s website and on the Overseas practitioners page on the AHPRA website.

Who is AHPRA?

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) supports the 14 National Boards in their role of protecting the public and setting standards and policies that all registered health practitioners must meet.


AHPRA and the National Boards work together to register and renew health practitioners and, where required, investigate complaints or concerns regarding health practitioners.


AHPRA's operations are governed by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law which came into effect on 1 July 2010. This law applies in each Australian state and territory, and is sometimes referred to on our sites as ‘the National Law’.


All health practitioners registered to practise are included on the national register of practitioners which is managed by AHPRA.


Find out more about AHPRA.

 
 
Page reviewed 1/08/2018