Fellowship (FCOptom) is the College’s highest award. It is an acknowledgement of commitment to the profession, experience and accomplishments.

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Life and Honorary Fellowship

Each year, the College recognises exceptional individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to advancement of their profession through the awarding of Life or Honorary Fellowship of the College. Life Fellowship is awarded to members of the College of Optometrists and Honorary Fellowship is awarded to those who are not members of the College. Candidates are nominated by their peers or others working with the eye health care profession and the awards are presented at the College’s annual Diploma Ceremony.

Calls for nominations are made in March and April each year through the member enews, and the nomination form will be available here on the College website. For more information email catherine.moloney@college-optometrists.org.


Fellowship by portfolio

Fellowship by portfolio is a flexible way of achieving Fellowship based on achievements in the workplace as well as success in examinations. Fellows of the College are entitled to use the affix FCOptom in recognition of their commitment to their own professional development or their support of others' CPD, as well as their commitment to high quality eye care.

If you have been a member of the College for more than five years you can apply for a Fellowship by Portfolio. You can nominate yourself in one or more of six categories:

  • clinical practice
  • the provision of visual or wider healthcare
  • optometric research
  • optometric education
  • the management of visual healthcare
  • higher qualifications in vision science.

Then submit a portfolio of evidence covering a wide range of practice demonstrating how your accomplishments, including any examination success, in the chosen categories have benefited the practice of optometry, as well as your practice. You will also need a referee to support your nomination and provide your own supporting statement for each category chosen. A panel of assesors will meet to discuss your portfolio and, if they approve it, you will receive your Certificate during the following annual Diploma Ceremony - one of the highlights of the College year.

Please read through the guidance and the other key documents below, before you complete the necessary application forms. The process is straightforward and can be completed within three months. However, you can progress at a pace that suits you.  

For more information, or to submit your registration form, email educationhelp@college-optometrists.org.

Key documents






A Fellow of the College is recognised as an optometrist of higher standing and, being a long standing member of the College, I have always wanted to upgrade my status. Now I am proud to say I am an FCOptom.

David Berkow FCOptom