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 website. 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). Your international qualification is assessed by OCANZ before you apply for registration.
Once you have passed the written component of the Competency in Optometry Examination (COE), you may optionally apply through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) for limited registration should you want to practise under the supervision of an optometrist in Australia before completing the required clinical component of the COE.
If you have trained outside Australia and New Zealand you must demonstrate competencies in ocular therapeutics before making an application for general registration. Those without prior ocular therapeutics training must complete an ocular therapeutics postgraduate course from a Board-approved program of study. Those with previous 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
Limited registration for the purposes of supervised practice
Limited registration for the purposes of postgraduate training is required
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 Information for international practitioners page on the Ahpra website.
Limited registration for the purposes of teaching or research
Further information is available in a fact sheet on limited registration for teaching or research on the Board’s website and on the Information for international practitioners page on the Ahpra website.
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.