We know that you are eager to get out into the working world and put all those years of schooling to work!

We have created an easy to follow guideline of the steps you need to take to help you become 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 CACO 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 (800)668-2694.

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

 

Complete and submit the ACO Practice Permit Application (www.collegeofoptometrists.ab.ca/PDF/Practice-Permit.pdf or click the link below) 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!


ACO Practice Permit
(Adobe PDF File)

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 the AAO Membership Application Form (received via email from Tina Arsenault)
  • Submit the Membership Invoice and payment ($50 plus GST when you join in the same year in which you graduated)
  • Submit all forms via email to Tina Arsenault at tarsenault@optometrists.ab.ca or via fax at (780) 452-9918 or via 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 our website such as member discounts, billing information, resource materials and New Grad Matching Services.

Don’t forget to sign up for our Eye See … Eye Learn® Program as well as the eyesafe Program. These exclusive programs are for AAO Members only and provide huge benefits to you and your practice!

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) 451-6824 ext. 233 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 having you as a member!


 

STEP #4 - Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO)








Once you join the AAO you automatically become a member of the CAO. CAO membership offers additional member benefits and services.. Check out their website at www.opto.ca
 



    

STEP #5 - Join The AAO Mentorship Program


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

New Grads must meet the following criteria:

  • Are registered members of the AAO;
  • Optometrists who have graduated from a University or Bridging Program and are a licensed optometrist with the Alberta College of Optometrists; and
  • Doctors of Optometry who are motivated to learn and wish to improve their understanding of practicing within the province

Our Mentors are established Doctors of Optometry from across the province.

The qualities they must have include:
  • A registered member of the AAO;
  • At least eight years of optometric practice experience;
  • Willing to make a commitment for a minimum of one year; and
  • Able to provide guidance, feedback, expertise, knowledge and insights to new graduates

If you are interested in joining the Mentorship program, please contact Tina Arsenault at the AAO office at  tarsenault@optometrists.ab.ca or by phone at (780) 451-6824 (ext 233).


STEP #6 - Attend The New Grad Orientation


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

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

Topics 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.

Those attending will be eligible for Clinical Continuing Education credits.


 

Other Helpful Tips to Getting Started


Practitioner  ID (PRAC ID)

Apply for a “Practitioner ID or Number” from Alberta Health.  Some work places will do this for you and some will not.  In case they don’t, this is how you get a copy of the form:

 

  • Go to: www.health.alberta.ca
  • Click on tab on far left: “Health Care Insurance”
  • Left side of the page, underneath “Health Care Insurance”, click on “Forms and Brochures”
  • Left side of the page, underneath “Forms and Brochures”, click on “Claim Submissions”
  • Middle of page, scroll down and click on “Practitioner Information Form”
  • Print off this PDF form, as it does not allow you to fill it out online
  • Fill out the form in its entirety. If a section does not apply to you, simply write “NOT APPLICIABLE”
  • Once 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”
  • You can submit your forms via email to health.pracforms@gov.ab.ca or fax them to (780) 422-3552

It takes about 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 ODs 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 5 Optometric Societies in Alberta, they are located in Edmonton, Calgary Red Deer, Lethbrifge and Medicine Hat.

Should you have questions about your local Society, please contact:

 Society
Society President 

 
 Email  

Calgary Society of Optometrists 
 Dr. Lana Filipic   filipic.lana@gmail.com
Edmonton Society of Optometrists  Dr. Sam Boucher   samuelboucher@eyehealthcentre.ca
Central Alberta Society of Optometrists  Dr. Grant Johnson      
grant@doctorseyecare.ab.ca
Lethbridge Society of Optometrists  Dr. Jim Asuchak   jimasuchak@gmail.com
Medicine Hat Society of Optometrists  Dr. Kerri Schwandt   drschwandt@memlane.com




 
We hope this guide helps you ease the stress of becoming licensed in Alberta!
We wish you all best as you start this new chapter as a Doctor of Optometry!