Don’t know where to start? This guide is to give you a general overview to getting started in BC
Disclaimer: the information presented may change without notice. Always consult with the latest updates from the college, ministry of health and the association and use at your own risk.
Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming an OD in Canada.
Only graduates from an ACOE-accredited school* are recognized for registration. If you studied in Canada and USA, chances are your school is accredited.
For international applicants (including UK, Australia), please consult FORAC for the latest requirements. International applicants may require further education.
Make sure you have university transcripts available and ready to submit.
* As of 2020, the only schools that have not received full accreditation are Chicago College of Optometry and Kentucky College of Optometry (Preliminary Approval). Their status may change in the future.
The OEBC Written Exam and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is recognized by all 10 provinces for registration.
The OSCE is an objective assessment that has been widely adopted by health profession examining boards across the country and its aim is to provide a fair and standardized experience for all candidates. It includes 12 stations, where the candidate has two minutes to read a case and eight minutes to interact with a standardized patient (SP).
- Total cost is $5100 for both written and OSCE.
- Spring 2020 examination has been delayed due to the pandemic. Registration opens June 25 2020 for Fall 2020 exam. Please check the OEBC website for the latest updates
- Option 1: Complete the OEBC Written Exam in the Fall Session of 4th year and challenge the OSCE practicals in Spring Session after 4th year
- Option 2: Complete the OEBC Written Exam AND OSCE practicals both in the Spring Session after 4th year
The NBEO Exam
The successful passing of NBEO (I,II,III) is accepted as an entry-to-practice exam in BC.
The College of Optometrists of British Columbia (CDOBC) is the regulatory board responsible for registration. There are four classes of memberships in BC:
As a new grad, you will likely be applying for a therapeutic qualified class of membership.
(Important Link: CDOBC Guide for New Graduates)
Submit the CDOBC Application and the $475.00 Application Fee with notarized documents (application, copy of government photo ID), copy of proof of CDN citizenship
Criminal Record Check
Submit Official University Transcript
(if still in school, have school submit a letter, then submit final transcript when obtained)
Submit CACO or NBEO Results (part I, II, III, TMOD)
Confirm attendance at the CDOBC Jurisprudence Exam and Orientation
(submit $200 examination fee; open book, administered
twice a year in Vancouver, June and November)
Payment of Registration Fee $1390 + $50 certificate fee
Proof of Professional Liability Insurance *
Issuance of College Registration Certificate
*Tip: the BCDO/CAO offers professional liability insurance at $58 flat rate for first year grads!
Once you have been issued your registration certificate, you may begin to work as an optometrist in British Columbia.
You will need to apply for an OE Tracker # from ARBO or call: 866-869-6852 (needed to keep track of CE hours)
If you had successfully completed your May session of boards, jurisprudence exam AND have completed all application requirements, normal estimated start date to begin work would be mid-late July.
Once you have an active registration, you will need to apply for MSP Billing Number in order to bill for services covered by the provincial health plan:
- You can expect to receive your billing number in approx 1 week. Don’t worry! MSP claims can be backdated up to 90 days.
- Some clinicians may consider a “soft-opt out” of MSP to allow for top-up of exam fees.
Your provincial association is your voice in the profession! The BCDO meets with the provincial government on its members’ behalf concerning health coverage, optometric billing codes and procedures, and other services.
The BCDO monitors provincial legislation and works to ensure that the government considers the needs and concerns of Doctors of Optometry and the communities they represent. As well, you will automatically be a member of the national optometry body, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO). The CAO offers discounted professional liability insurance for $58 to new grads in first year!
The BCDO perks include free online CE courses, corporate discounts to gym, phone plans, entertainment, access to programs such as EyeSeeEyeLearn, a-b-See, TPA Drug App, Billing Guide and much more!
- New Graduate Year 1: waived (plus $50% off BCDO Conference)
- New Graduate Year 2: $803.75
- New Graduate Year 3: $1,407.50
- New Graduate Year 4: $2,815.00 (full membership)
BCDO New Grad Bootcamp
Every September, the BCDO organizes a full-day event to welcome new grads in first three years, offer CEs, billing Q+A, and networking opportunities with other ODs!
Last Updated: May 20, 2020