Becoming Licensed In Alberta

STEP #1 - Alberta College of Optometrists (ACO) – Preliminary Application

 

 

In order to practice optometry in Alberta, it is mandatory to be a Regulated Member of the Alberta College of Optometrists (ACO). The following list summarizes the registration and licensure requirements for the various categories of applicants. If you are not sure of your application category, please contact the ACO office. All forms can be found on the ACO website at www.collegeofoptometrists.ab.ca, under “Registration” and “New Member Registration”.

  • Complete, Sign and Date the “Preliminary Application Form”
  • Complete, Sign and Date the “Statutory Declaration”
  • Attach Preliminary Application Fee ($400 – Canadian funds only)
  • A Notarized Optometry Degree or Diploma
  • Official Transcripts of all Post-Secondary Pre-Optometry Programs (Please ensure that official copies of all of your post-secondary transcripts are forwarded to the ACO office. You may request that the University send your transcript(s) directly to the ACO office or have them sent to you. If the transcript(s) is sent directly to you, you must forward this documentation to the ACO office in its original sealed envelope. Opened or unsealed envelopes will not be accepted. Official transcripts include courses taken during your B.Sc., M.Sc., O.D., Ph.D. or other equivalent programs.)
  • A Notarized picture of yourself
  • Original Copy (with official CEO seal) of OEBC results
  • Current CPR Certificate – Health Care Professional (HCP) Level
  • Certified copy of additional TPA Certification (if applicable)
  • RCMP or Local Police Detachment Criminal Records Check

Once you have completed all the required documents (as noted above), please mail or courier them to the Alberta College of Optometrists. All required information must be received at the ACO office before proceeding to Step 2. Should you have more questions, please call the ACO office at 780-466-5999 or 1-800-668-2694.

STEP #2 - Alberta College of Optometrists (ACO) - Practice Permit

Complete and submit the ACO Practice Permit Application on the ACO website , and the required ACO Practice Permit fee.

  • Fill out the “Application for a Practice Permit”
  • Submit appropriate payment fee ($550 if you register in the same year in which you graduated; $1100 when you register in any year other than your graduation year)
  • You are required to submit your Liability Insurance coverage on the Practice Permit.
  • BMS Canada Risk Services (BMS Group) is the new and exclusive broker for the Canadian Association of Optometrist (CAO)'s member insurance program. BMS Group replaces Harvard Western Insurance (Western Canada) as the official broker for member professional liability insurance policies.

BMS Group is a Lloyds of London Broker with a Canadian operation (BMS Canada Risk Services) focused exclusively on delivering practice insurance products to association members. With a team of Canadian experts, BMS Group designs and manages insurance programs that are most advantageous for associations and members. CAO joins several other national healthcare associations as a member of the Healthcare Professionals Insurance Alliance (HPIA)-a speciality Alliance under the BMS Group umbrella. CAO members will benefit from increased value and improved services, including an online renewal process, extended coverage, specialized legal protection, practice risk management tools, and significantly enhanced customer service, while maintaining affordable premiums now and into the future.

Members will also benefit from access to new business coverage, including Commercial General Liability insurance and Clinic/Business Package insurance, designed specifically for the optometry profession and exclusive to members of CAO.

To learn more about the CAO Insurance Program or to purchase coverage, please contact a BMS program representative at 1-844-517-1371 or cao.insurance@bmsgroup.com

Once all information is received at the ACO office and all fees are paid, an official notification will be sent to Alberta Health Care Practitioner Registry and the Alberta College of Pharmacists informing them of your status.  You may not practice until all steps have been completed and appropriate notifications sent.

The ACO will process all forms and fees, and send you out your certificates and License … then you are officially a Licensed Doctor of Optometry in Alberta!

View the Practice Permit here .

STEP #3 - Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO) – Membership Application

 


Once you are fully registered and licensed to practice in Alberta, the ACO provides the AAO with your contact information. The AAO will send you an application form and invoice by email to join the Association.

  • Fill out an AAO Membership Application form 
  • Email the membership invoice and payment form, to Tina Arsenault at tarsenault@optometrists.ab.ca or fax at 780-452-9918 or mail to #100, 8407 Argyll Road, Edmonton, AB, T6C 4B2
Once all application forms and fees are received at the AAO office, they will be processed, entered into our membership database and a “Welcome to the AAO” package will be mailed to you.  You will also be sent a welcome email with login credentials to access our “Members Only” section of the website. You will find more than 35 programs and services on the website, such as member discounts, billing information, and resource materials.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Eye See … Eye Learn® program and the Eyesafe® Program. These exclusive programs are for AAO Members only and provide significant benefits to you and your practice!

To receive an application form and invoice, or if you have any questions about membership with the AAO, please contact Tina Arsenault, Member Services/ Events Coordinator. She can be reached at phone 780-784-5823 or email tarsenault@optometrists.ab.ca.

The AAO has many great member benefits and services to help you in your career. We look forward to working with you!

STEP #4 - Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO)

                                                                                                                       

Once you join the AAO you automatically become a member of the CAO, which includes additional member benefits and services. Check out its website at www.opto.ca.

STEP #5 - Join The AAO Mentorship Program

The Mentorship Program brings together newly graduated optometrists or those new to our province with established mentor optometrists. The Mentorship Program provides an opportunity for you to develop an understanding of practicing optometry in Alberta, building skills in practice and patient management, and establishing professional networks.

You must meet the following criteria:

  • A registered members of the AAO;
  • Be an optometrists who has graduated from a University or Bridging Program and are a licensed optometrist with the Alberta College of Optometrists; and
  • a doctors of optometry motivated to learn and improve your understanding of practicing in Alberta.
Our mentors are established doctors of optometry from across the province.

They must:

  • Be a registered member of the AAO;
  • Have at least eight years of optometric practice experience;
  • Be willing to make a commitment for a minimum of one year; and
  • Be able to provide guidance, feedback, expertise, knowledge and insights to new graduates
If you are interested in joining the Mentorship program, please complete the registration form found here.

STEP #6 - Attend A New Grad Orientation

This session is designed for those who have graduated within the last three years.

This session will provide you with a better understanding of the optometric profession in Alberta and to provide practical tools, information, and advice to ensure you are getting the most out of your profession for years to come.

 

Topics can include:

  • The role of the AAO / ACO / CAO and local societies
  • What the AAO does for you
  • AAO programs and benefits
  • Working with physicians, Alberta Health and other professionals
  • Patient and practice management … tips and practice pearls
  • Patient billing Q&A
  • Pros and cons of incorporation, and the professionals you need to retain
  • Associate, partner, or buy a practice… practical considerations

Registration is free for AAO members and the sessions are held in Edmonton and Calgary in September. More information will be included in your member package.

Those attending will be eligible for Clinical Continuing Education credits.

Other Helpful Tips to Getting Started

Practitioner ID (PRAC ID)

Apply for a "Practtioner ID or Number" from Alberta Health. Some work places may do this for you.  If they don't, this is how you get a copy of the form:
  • Go to www.health.alberta.ca 
  • Click the tab on the far left: Health Care Insurance"
  • Left side of the page, underneath "Health Care Insurance", click on "HCIP forms"
  • Left side of the page, underneath "HCIP Forms", click on "Claim Submissions"
  • At the bottom of the page, click on "Health Professional business User Forms"
  • On the right side panel, click on "Practitioner Information Form"
  • Print off this PDF form, as it does not allow you to fill it on online
  • Fill out the form in its entirety.  If a section dos not apply to you, simply write "NOT APPLICABLE"
  • Once the forms are complete, they are ready to submit
  • You must also include a copy of your license certificate from the Alberta College of Optometrists with your "Practitioner information Form"
  • Details on submitting the forms are included on the form

It takes 7-10 business days to receive your Prac ID number.
If you have any questions or problems, please call Alberta health at 780-422-1522.

Local Societies (optional)
Across Alberta, a number of dedicated OD's are working on your behalf to develop and run CE sessions within your respective communities.  As information is provided to the AAO we post those sessions for your information and benefit on our website.

Currently there are five optometric societies in Alberta, they are located in Edmotnon, Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat.

Should you have any questions about your local society, please contact:


Society Society President  Email 
 Calgary Society of Optometrists Dr. Palki Arora drarora@urbaneyecare.ca 
 Edmonton Society of Optometrists Dr. Sam Boucher  samualboucher@eyehealthcentre.ca 
 Central Alberta Society of Optometrists             Dr. Grant Johnson  grant@doctorseyecare.ab.ca
 Lethbridge Society of Optometrists Dr. Tatiana Cook  tatiana.cook@hotmail.com 
 Medicine Hat Society of Optometrists Dr. Kerrie Schwandt             drschwandt@memlane.com

We wish you all the best as you start this new chapter as a doctor of optometry in Alberta.