Frequently Asked Questions

My optometry training was not at a University in Australia or New Zealand. Can I work as an optometrist in Australia without further training?

If you trained overseas, you must pass the OCANZ Competency in Optometry Examination or complete an accredited optometry course in Australia or New Zealand in order to seek registration with either the Australian or New Zealand registration board.

See Optometry Board Australia Registration Standard for General Registration for initial applications at :


See Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board New Zealand How to register as an optometrist:


Am I required to provide evidence of English language competency when applying to OCANZ?

No, OCANZ does not require a candidate to provide any evidence of English Language competency in order to sit the COE, but advises that the registration requirements in Australia and New Zealand are indicative of the standard of English Language competency necessary to attempt the COE. For more information, please refer to the document at http://www.ocanz.org/examination/competency-in-optometry-examination/.

Once I have received approval from OCANZ to sit the examination, how long do I have before I need to sit the examinations?

There is no time limit.

If I apply to sit the written or clinical examination, can I postpone it to another time of the year?

Please refer to the examination fees refund policy on website.

Are the practical sessions always at the same venue?

The clinical examinations are always held in Melbourne, Australia.

How soon after sitting the written examinations do I find out the results?

You will be notified by email within 6-8 weeks.

How soon after sitting the clinical examinations do I find out the results?

You will be notified by email within 5 weeks.

If I fail the written examination, how many times can I re-sit it?

You can re-sit the written examination as many times as you wish.  For further specific information refer to the Examination Guide - http://www.ocanz.org/examination/competency-in-optometry-examination/examination-guide/

If I pass one of the two written examination papers, do I only need to re-sit the paper I passed

If it is your first attempt and you pass one of the two papers, you have one (1) further opportunity to repeat only the failed paper at a later sitting.  If at this second sitting you fail that paper again, you will need to re-sit both papers at your next attempt and at ALL subsequent attempts.

If I fail the clinical examination, how many times can I re-sit it?

The only requirement is that you must pass the clinical examination within three years of passing the written examination.

If I fail one of the examinations, do I need to resubmit my Form 2 or Form 3 to resit the examination?

No, you only need to submit Form 2 or 3 (application form) once.

How many people pass the OCANZ examinations?

OCANZ publish examination results every year in its annual report.  See http://www.ocanz.org/about/annual-reports/

I am an overseas trained optometrist and I want to migrate to Australia, can you provide me with information on how I can arrange the migration.

OCANZ does not provide any information about immigration. You need to contact www.immi.gov.au or www.immigration.govt.nz.

What bridging courses are available for people wishing to sit the examination?

There are currently no bridging courses provided by OCANZ. Applicants may make private arrangements for tuition to assist them to prepare for the Competency in Optometry Examination.

I have a degree in optical dispensing or as an optometry assistant. Can I still sit the examination and register as an optometrist in Australia and NZ?

Unfortunately, OCANZ does not assess the qualifications of overseas-trained dispensing opticians. For information about working in Australia as a dispensing optician/optical dispenser please contact:

Australasian Dispensing Opticians Association
Web: www.adoa.com.au 
Email: enquiries@adoa.com.au

I have a degree in optical dispensing or as an optometry assistant but I would like to do a course to become an optometrist

You need to contact one of the Optometry Schools in Australia and New Zealand directly.

I am a doctor from overseas and have a degree in Ophthalmology. Can I sit the examination and register as an optometrist in Australia and NZ?

OCANZ assesses only overseas trained optometrists for recognition of their qualifications in Australia and New Zealand. The Council does not assess medical training as this is responsibility of the Australian Medical Council. The Australian Medical Council can be contacted via their website - www.amc.org.au.

Why is it important that I undertake Cultural Safety Training to be an optometrist in Australia or New Zealand?

Understanding cultural safety as a foundation for learning about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health, and equitable and quality eye health care for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians is essential to support optometrists to play their role in achieving culturally safe practice.

Who needs to complete the online cultural safety program?

From 1 January 2023, all candidates undertaking the Competency in Optometry Examination are required to complete the online Cultural Safety Training program prior to progressing to the clinical examination component