Unlocking International Practice: A Guide to Optometry Exam Options Overseas

Feb 07, 2024 4 min read
COE Optometry Exam

Key Takeaways

  • Gain insights to advance your profession and take your optometry career abroad.
  • Understand the licensing specifications for optometrists who wish to practice abroad in places including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Dubai.
  • Be aware of the particular educational requirements, professional tests, and registration processes for the nation of your choice.

Have you ever considered using your optometry expertise to help others worldwide with their eyesight? 

The field of international optometry beckons, presenting stimulating chances for career advancement, cross-cultural learning, and meaningful impact. However, navigating the complicated world of international licensure and tests can be intimidating.

This thorough guide is your ticket to comprehending the various exam possibilities and meeting the eligibility criteria to register as an Optometrist across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Dubai, leading to a rewarding overseas practice.

Table of Contents:

  • Understanding the Licensing Requirements
    • Educational Qualifications
    • Professional Examinations
    • Licensure Applications and Registrations
  • Various Exams Post Optometry to Unlock Registration Internationally
    • Australia and New Zealand: OCANZ COE
    • UK: GOC
    • UAE: DHA
    • India
  • Tips for Conquering International Optometry Exam
  • FAQs

Understanding the International Licensing Requirements

Before diving into specific exams, let's navigate the licensure process. Every country sets its license standards for the practice of optometry. These typically entail

  • Educational Requirements: Most countries demand a Bachelor of Optometry (B.Optom) or an equivalent degree in optometry of 4 or 3 years as the eligibility criteria for registration.
  • Professional examinations: You can verify your knowledge and clinical competency by passing one or more relevant examinations in your country.
  • Applications for Licensure and Registrations: Fill out the required forms and register with the appropriate licensing authority. The specifics differ significantly as,

US requires a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from an accredited optometry school, followed by passing the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Part I, II, and III exams. 

Canada requires obtaining an OD degree and passing the Canadian Optometry Examining Board (COEBC) exams.

Germany requires a Master's degree in optometry followed by the Staatsexamen, a state licensing exam.

France has a specialised postgraduate qualification following a degree in medicine or pharmacy. Graduates must then pass the Diplôme d'Etat d'Optométrie (DEO) to practice.

South Africa requires a four-year Bachelor's degree in optometry and registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

Nigeria requires a Bachelor's degree in optometry followed by registration with the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Council of Nigeria (ODORCN).

Various Exams Post Optometry to Unlock Registration Internationally

Depending on the nation you want to practice in, there are a lot of differences in the process of becoming an optometrist and working abroad. Below is a summary of some of the exams that optometrists can take to practice in different parts of the world:

OCANZ COE

Optometry in Australia is a four-year postgraduate degree program following a Bachelor's degree in a relevant science field. The Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ) is an independent regulatory authority responsible for ensuring the competency and quality of optometry education and practice in Australia and New Zealand. OCANZ conducts the Competency in Optometry Examinations (COE) to assess the knowledge, skills, and competence of optometrists seeking registration to practice in Australia. These exams are recognised by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

GOC EXAM

Optometry in the UK is an undergraduate degree program, and graduates must register with the General Optical Council (GOC) to practice. The GOC also administers the compulsory Registration Assessment, which assesses clinical competence.

DHA EXAM

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) exam for optometrists is a computer-based test (CBT) assessing knowledge in various areas. Understanding the specific syllabus and practising MCQs are crucial for success.

 OCIET

Optometry in India is a four-year Bachelor's degree program. Graduates must then register with the Optometry Council of India (OCI) and pass the Optometry Council of India Entrance Test (OCIET).

Tips for Conquering International Optometry Exams

As with any exam, passing an international exam is no rocket science. It requires preparation and the right piece of advice to help you succeed faster:

  • Recognise your adversaries: Study the exam's structure, subject matter, and grading scheme.
  • Make a plan and a strategy: Make a study plan, evaluate your advantages and disadvantages, and concentrate on your areas of weakness.
  • Perfectionism is attained via practice: Use study guides, practice exams, and mock exams to improve your abilities and boost your self-assurance.
  • Seek assistance: Join online study groups or forums, connect with other optometrists who have passed the test, and consider hiring a tutor or getting ready for the test. 

These are just a few examples, and the specific requirements for practising optometry internationally can vary greatly. It's crucial to research the particular requirements of the country you wish to work in and ensure you meet all the qualifications and pass the required exams before pursuing your international optometry career.

If you are an optometrist looking to widen your practice horizon, get in touch to onboard your elevator to success.

FAQs

Q. Is an Indian optometry degree valid for practising in the USA?

Ans. To qualify for a state license in the US, you need to graduate from an ACOE-accredited optometry school in the US or Canada. 

Q. In Australia, are optometrists referred to as doctors?

Ans. In Australia, an optometrist is not a medical professional.

Q. What are the competencies of optometry?

Ans. Three core competencies of optometry are:

1. The capacity to assess a patient's visual function using the proper tests and methods, regardless of age. 

2. Capacity to evaluate visual function in individuals who have visual impairment. 

3. Capacity to detect and measure ametropia using both subjective and objective methods 

Q. What can I do with an optometry degree?

Ans. With an optometry degree, you could open up your practice, get into research, qualify for therapeutics and master's degree or apply overseas to widen your horizon of job opportunities.

Dr. Madhushree Agarwal
Dr. Madhushree Agarwal
about the author

Dr. Madhushree Agarwal is a seasoned dentist with over 12 years of clinical expertise. She is dedicated to transforming the landscape of healthcare through her passion for content creation. For the past seven years, she has been actively medico marketing by becoming a niche healthcare content writer, editor, and marcomms consultant. Her commitment to bridging the gap between technology and healthcare has set her apart as a forward-thinking professional in the health industry.