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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.

Continuing education and training (CET) is a statutory requirement for continued registration with the GOC.

The GOC's CET scheme is a points-based system, run over a three-year cycle, which ensures optometrists maintain the up-to-date knowledge and skills needed to practise safely throughout their career. CET points may be gained through a variety of learning activities, including attendance at lectures and workshops and distance learning. See MyGOC for details of recording and managing CET.

It is also possible to undertake further study at postgraduate level. See the websites of the approved undergraduate degree providers for details of courses, many of which can be taken part time and via distance learning, including opportunities for research at PhD level.

The College of Optometrists also accredits a range of professional qualifications at postgraduate level:

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

See their website for a list of courses.

Optometrists can also train to become specialist practitioners following extra study and clinical practice. Once qualified, you must register your specialty, which allows you to perform additional duties, including independent prescribing.

Written by AGCAS editors
June 2014

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