Optometry in UK for Canadian Students

Over recent years there has been increasing interest in our Optometry programme from Canadian applicants. Some of our Canadian graduates now live and work in the UK, whilst some have returned to practice in Canada.

Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC) is responsible for the credential assessment of candidates educated outside North America intending on applying for registration to practice optometry in any province of Canada. Information relating to their credentialing process and requirements can be found at: http://forac-faroc.ca/.
Students will need to contact FORAC via their website here for pre-registration steps prior to registration with the College of Optometrists upon their return to Canada.

Route for the international optometry applicants who want to work in Canada

Step 1              

  • Enrol on an optometry degree programme in the UK. You can apply straight from High School or following your undergraduate studies.
  • Aston offers  a three-year BSc or a four-year MOptom programme, and both of these will prepare you for entry onto the Canadian International Optometric Bridging Programme (IOBP, see step 3)

Step 2             

  • Complete three years of undergraduate optometry education followed be a pre-registration period in UK optometric practice. You will receive a salary of £17,000 - £21,000 during your pre-registration period, which usually lasts for around a year.
  • If you are on the MOptom programme, you will still be enrolled at Aston as a distance learning student while you are working as a pre-registration optometrist in practice. You will complete six online modules. 
  • If you are on the MOptom programme you will not need to apply for a work visa in order to work as a pre-registration optometrist.


Step 3          

  • During your pre-registration period you will sit a range of professional exams and assessments organised by the College of Optometrists. Once you have passed these, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the General Optical Council. When you are registered, you are able to practice within the UK in your own right. 
  • Once you are registered, you can apply for a place on the IOBP at the University of Waterloo.
  • However, please note that Canadian applicants to the IOBP must either:

    • have completed three years of full-time undergraduate university studies in science subjects prior to enrolling on an Aston optometry programme, or, 
    • have completed three years of work experience in the UK after completion of the pre-registration period and registration with the General Optical Council. 
  • The IOBP will prepare you for the Canadian Board exams.

For Ontario residents, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will still provide financial support to students studying at Aston University.  This information can be found by going to the "School Search" on the OSAP website (osap.gov.on.ca).

Student Profile

Student Profile

Natasha Richards
First year MOptom student from Canada
The MOptom offered by Aston University allows me to stay on my student visa while completing the pre-registration year. With most other UK universities the pre-registration year need to apply for a separate 1-year work visa. Aston University has a fantastic reputation in Canada as well as in the UK, and it was easily my top choice.

FAQ's for Canadian Applicants

FAQ's for Canadian Applicants