Higher qualifications

A College-accredited higher qualification will equip you for new challenges and responsibilities, and support your continuing professional development and career progression.

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They are the ideal way to boost your confidence, enhance your clinical knowledge and professional skills and formally recognise your expertise. 

If you’re thinking about the future and where you career could take you, why not consider a College-accredited higher qualification? Higher qualifications are suitable for optometrists at all stages of their careers and in all settings. They are available at three levels so you can choose to progress to the highest levels of competence in one specific condition, or to develop your skills in five key topic areas. The courses are developed and delivered by universities and hospitals and accredited by the College of Optometrists so you can be sure that they reflect the latest research and thinking on key topics and conditions. They are delivered via a flexible combination of distance learning, coursework, assessments and practical sessions and, at higher levels, a portfolio of clinical experience.

A higher qualification:

  • formally acknowledges your expertise and commitment to your patients, profession and personal development through the relevant affix
  • provides an in-depth understanding of the conditions you deal with every day in practice  
  • develops new skills and knowledge so you can provide new patient services or take up new career opportunities 
  • enables you to manage your patients’ diagnosis, treatment and aftercare in your practice 
  • contributes to a reputation for high-quality care and service within your practice.

Choose your level

Higher qualifications are suitable for optometrists at all stages of their careers and in all settings.

Five essential subject areas

Higher qualifications reflect the latest research and thinking on key topics and conditions, enabling you to provide the highest standards of patient care.

Flexible learning

Higher qualification courses are developed by universities and hospitals, accredited by the College and delivered through flexible learning to fit around your work and professional commitments.

Courses and providers

Find out more about the courses currently available, and choose the one that’s right for you.

Higher qualification affixes and certificates

Successful candidates can use the appropriate affix to show they have enhanced skills and knowledge.


My new employers were impressed by my qualification and quickly realised that I would not need any training to get up to speed with the work in the department. I finished the course with a whole new set of techniques and much more confidence. The skills and techniques I learned are totally transferable and would be really useful for those working with patients with other special needs in community and domiciliary practice.

Mitul Mistry MCOptom Prof Cert Paed Eye Care


Thinking of becoming a course provider?

If you would like to find out more about offering College-accredited higher qualifications, please email education.help@college-optometrists.org, to arrange to talk to a member of the education team.