Changes to the qualifying process for optometrists

Following a review in 2016, new requirements have been put in place for students qualifying as optometrists.

What are the new requirements?

In future, students will be qualifying as optometrists at master’s level, and their clinical experience and assessment in the 48-week work-based placement will be part of their degree rather than a stage they complete after graduating. If you are studying for an optometry degree under the new requirements, you will only complete one integrated qualification. All learning and assessment will be based on new learning outcomes rather than the existing competencies. For more detailed information is available on the GOC website

What are the changes to the College's role and the Scheme for Registration?

Students currently complete an optometry degree and then start the College's Scheme for Registration in order to qualify as a practising optometrist. This will no longer be possible under the new requirements, although the College will continue to run the Scheme for some time. This is because universities do not have to change their programmes until 2024 and can continue to admit new students to existing programmes until then.

In future, the College will work in partnership with a number of UK universities to deliver long work-based placement experiences as part of their master’s degrees. The College will still play a key role in organisation and assessment of work-based placements and in supporting students through this crucial stage of their training, will help develop their professional identity.

What will the new placement programme be called?

Our programme for delivering placements on the new degree programmes will be called Clinical Learning in Practice (CLiP).

When will the new placements start?

The introduction of the new placements will happen as each university re-launches its programme in line with the new requirements, and they will not all do this at the same time. Most universities are expected to start the new degree programmes in 2023 or 2024. College-delivered placements will come towards the end of the degree. This means that the earliest a student will start a placement through the College Clinical Learning in Practice programme is early 2026. 

Will you be on the Scheme for Registration or Clinical Learning in Practice?

If you are taking a degree which started up to and including September/October 2022, you will be going on to the Scheme for Registration. If you plan to start in September/October 2023 or later, please contact the university and keep an eye on this page for more information. We will keep you updated with more details in due course.