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Optometrist: Training

All optometrists practising in the UK must be registered with the General Optical Council (GOC) , the profession's regulatory body, and be listed on the Opticians Register. They must renew their registration annually in order to practise.

The College of Optometrists  has developed a voluntary continuing professional development (CPD) scheme to help optometrists maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge and skills beyond the level required for re-registration. CPD Online is free to members and allows optometrists to manage their ongoing CPD.

Continuing education and training (CET) is a mandatory requirement for continued registration with the GOC. The GOC's CET scheme ensures that optometrists maintain the up-to-date knowledge and skills needed to practise safely throughout their career. The CETOPTICS  website enables optometrists to manage and maintain a record of their CET. CET points may be gained through a variety of learning activities, including attendance at lectures and workshops and distance learning.

The Directorate of Optometric Continuing Education and Training (DOCET)  provides a range of audio-visual distance learning materials free to all optometrists registered with the GOC in the UK. CPD activities include postgraduate training, discussing case studies with colleagues, reading learned articles and reflecting upon them.

It is possible to undertake further study at postgraduate level. See the websites of the approved undergraduate degree providers for details of postgraduate courses leading to the degrees of MPhil and PhD.

The College of Optometrists is introducing a new modular approach to gaining their professional qualifications. Successful completion of an accredited course will lead to one of the following qualifications:

  • Professional Certificate;
  • Professional Higher Certificate;
  • Professional Diploma.

Optometrists may also train as prescribing optometrists. This allows them to use an additional range of drugs in their professional practice and/or write prescriptions for medicines for ocular conditions. The College of Optometrists awards diplomas in therapeutics to those optometrists who have undertaken this additional training and passed the College's Common Final Examination. The optometrist can then register with the GOC as a specialist prescribing optometrist.


Further information

Written by AGCAS editors
June 2012

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