Eligibility and Retake
The Eligibility Table describes who is eligible to take the exam and the documentation required.
Candidate Eligibility to Attempt the exam
|Candidate Eligibility||Documentation / Proof Required*||Responsibility|
|Education: Students or graduates of Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) - accredited Doctorate of Optometry (OD) programs~|
|1. OD student currently enrolled in the final year of his/her OD program.||Candidate eligibility verification by authorized signing officer of the school||University submits to OEBC|
|2. OD graduate who has successfully completed his/her OD program in Canada or the U.S. within the past three years and has not yet registered / been licensed to practice as an Optometrist in Canada or the U.S.||Candidate eligibility verification by authorized signing officer of the school||Candidate is responsible for submitting university/school documents to OEBC|
|3. Other OD Graduate who is registered/licensed to practice with a full, independent and unrestricted license/registration to practice as an Optometrist in the U.S.||Candidate eligibility verification by the Registrar, or equivalent presiding officer, of the regulatory body with which the candidate is licensed or registered in good standing and practicing, within the jurisdiction of said regulatory body.||Candidate is responsible for submitting regulatory body/state board documents to OEBC|
|Education: Graduates of non-ACOE-accredited Optometric programs|
|4. Graduate of non-ACOE institution who has completed the Evaluating Exam and received a satisfactory score that determines that he/she is not required to complete bridging education.||Candidate eligibility verification by the Registrar, or equivalent presiding officer, of a Canadian provincial optometric regulatory body.||Candidate is responsible for submitting the documents to OEBC|
|5. Graduate of non-ACOE institution who is enrolled in an acceptable bridging education program.||Candidate eligibility verification by the Director or an authorized representative: a) of the University of Waterloo International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) UWIOBP, verifying that the applicant has completed all of the didactic courses of a bridging program. b) of the Université de Montréal that the candidate has completed all of the didactic courses of a bridging program.||Bridging program submits to OEBC|
|6. Graduate of non-ACOE institution who has completed an acceptable bridging education program.||Candidate eligibility verification by an authorized representative of the UWIOBP or the Université de Montréal that the candidate has completed the entire bridging program.||Bridging program submits to OEBC|
OEBC reserves the right to request additional proof as required to assist in the verification of documentation.
~*For the purpose of this policy, ACOE-accredited OD programs refers to any program that is accredited by the ACOE with or without conditions.
Note: While this policy establishes a time limit for completion of the exam, provincial regulatory bodies may also have individual time limits or requirements related to “currency” (time since graduation or past practice) for registration/licensure. Candidates are encouraged to verify all registration requirements in the jurisdiction where they intend to register and practice. Successful completion of the exam is only one requirement of provincial registration/licensure.
The written examination may be attempted prior to the OSCE examination. However, an applicant is not required to pass the written examination prior to attempting the OSCE examination.
A candidate may attempt the exam at either the fall or a spring administration.
Eligibility – Early Write Opportunity
The following are eligible to attempt the written exam at a fall administration:
- Individuals in their final year of study of a doctor of optometry (OD) program accredited by the ACOE (Category 1).
- These individuals may challenge the OSCE in a subsequent exam administration if they graduate with an OD degree on or before June 30th of that subsequent year.
- Individuals who have completed the classroom/didactic portion of a bridging education program prior to the fall administration (Category 5a)
- These individuals may challenge the OSCE exam in a subsequent exam administration if they complete the bridging program before that administration
The only time a candidate may take the written and OSCE exams at two different administrations is when the written exam has been completed as an early write opportunity.
Confirmation of Eligibility (Categories 1 & 2)
- Candidates registering for a spring administration must graduate with an OD degree on or before June 30th following that administration
- Candidates registering for a fall administration must graduate with an OD degree on or before November 30th following that administration
Passing the exam
All components of the exam must be successfully completed to pass the exam.
Time Limit to Register for the exam
An individual not registered to practice as an optometrist in Canada or the U.S. has three years from the date of program completion to first attempt the exam. This includes individuals in categories 1, 2, 4, 5. There is no time limit for individuals in Category 3 who are registered and current in practice.
Time Limit to Complete the exam
A candidate has a maximum of three years from the date of the first attempt to pass the exam.
The first date that an individual attempts some part or all of the exam is deemed to be the date of the first attempt of the exam. For example, November 2020 is deemed to be the date of the first attempt of the exam for an individual who attempts the written exam in November 2020.
Note that the time limit to complete the exam is not extended if a candidate fails to remain eligible to attempt the exam, for example, due to incompletion of an OD degree.
All other exam policies including the Withdrawals and Refunds policy continue to apply.
Number of Eligible Attempts
Candidates must pass the exam within three attempts for each examination, meaning candidates may take the written exam a maximum of three times and take the OSCE exam a maximum of three times. Once a candidate has failed either the written or the OSCE exam three times, he/she will not be allowed to register for any additional attempts of the remaining exam, as he or she will be deemed to have failed the exam.
Individuals who have failed the exam after three attempts may apply for a fourth (4th) and final attempt. All attempts including a fourth and final attempt must be completed within three years from the date of the first attempt.
An individual who has not passed the written examination and OSCE within all eligible attempts (maximum four) and three years from the first attempt will be ineligible for any more attempts.
After each failed attempt, a fail report is provided. All individuals are encouraged to and may elect to complete education or remediation to address areas of performance deficiencies after any failed attempt. The 3-year timeline will not be extended for this reason.
Exam Reassessment – Fourth & Final Attempt
A candidate who does not pass the exam within three attempts will be considered to have failed the exam.
The following policy and procedure applies only to candidates who have failed the exam as defined above (i.e. registrants who fail to pass the exam in three administrations, are still within the three-year timeframe) and who seek to apply for re-eligibility.
All inquiries with OEBC regarding requests for eligibility must be in writing, i.e. by email, fax or mail. Telephone inquiries will not be accepted.
Candidates who have failed the exam on three attempts, may, upon approval, be granted a final, fourth attempt.
By submitting a request for a final attempt, candidates understand:
- they are responsible for their retraining/remediation;
- they commit to completing their retraining/remediation prior to their fourth exam attempt;
- OEBC will not review, approve or be liable for their training plan;
- in their fourth attempt the candidate must complete both written and OSCE exam ; and
- that if they fail their fourth attempt they will no longer be eligible to attempt the exam.
Attempting the exam while ineligible
Any candidate who attempts the exam while ineligible will have their results nullified but the attempt will count as an attempt for the purposes of “Number of Attempts” and also commences the 3 year cycle under the “time limit to complete the exam.”
All applications for the exam are subject to OEBC approval of eligibility and will be refused if all application and eligibility requirements have not been met.
Approvals of eligibility do not replace the submission of an application for the exam and the deadline for response to the offer of eligibility does not replace any and all OEBC policies including application deadlines for the exam, available on www.oebc.ca