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What Type of Education and Training do Optometrists Receive?

optometrist testing woman's vision

Ever wonder what it takes to be an eye doctor? When you visit a clinic for a general eye exam, you can rest assured the optometrist you meet is qualified to diagnose any eye disease and committed to your eye health. Getting qualified to practice demands many years of expensive education, clinical experience, and national and provincial examinations. Here’s what it takes to become an optometrist in Canada.


To practice optometry in Canada, you must have a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. This usually takes 8 years. To receive an OD, you must have completed the following:

  • A minimum of three years in undergraduate education, ideally in the sciences.

  • A four year university program in optometry, accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education. There are two schools of optometry in Canada: The University of Waterloo and the Université de Montréal. The cost of studying optometry in Canada is close to $100,000. Many optometrists are trained at optometry schools in the United States, which cost even more!

  • Many optometry students choose an additional year of residency training after completing their degrees.

Accreditation and Licensing

Earning an OD is just the beginning. Graduates must then get licensed by the regulatory board of the province or territory where they want to work. The Alberta College of Optometrists is the regulatory and licensing body in Alberta. Graduates must also pass an exam with the Optometry Examining Board of Canada. Only then are they authorized to practice. nternational graduates with an optometric education may qualify to practice in a Canadian province or territory if they pass the requirements of the regional regulatory boards. The Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC) oversees academic credentials.

Associate Work

New graduates typically work as an associate in an existing practice to gain experience and financial means to buy in as a partner, buy another practice or set up a new practice.

Setting Up a Practice

A new practice demands a significant investment in costs like expensive equipment, support staff and office space. However, most of the overhead cost of a new practice is establishing an inventory of eyeglasses, frames, contact lenses and lens solutions. Established optometrists typically own or co-own their own private practices. A practice can consist of one clinic or several “satellite” clinics.

Book an Eye Exam with an Optometrist in Edmonton

At Optometrists’ Clinic Inc., our team of professional optometrists and opticians is well-known and highly respected in Edmonton. Whatever your optical needs, we have an eye doctor with the education and experience to meet your needs confidently, including prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Contact our optometry clinic today to schedule an eye exam at one of our 5 locations in Edmonton, Westlock and Leduc.


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