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).  On the ACO website, you will find the registration and licensure requirements for the various categories of applicants. All forms can be found on the ACO website  under the registration information and  New Member Registration. If you are not sure of your application category, please contact the ACO office at admin@collegeofoptometrists.ab.ca.

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

  • Complete and submit the Application for a Practice Permit. The forms and additional information can be found on the ACO website under the registration information and ACO Practice Permit Application.

  • You are required to submit your Liability Insurance coverage on the Practice Permit.  BMS Canada Risk Services (BMS Group) is the exclusive broker for the Canadian Association of Optometrist’s (CAO) member insurance program. 

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!

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.

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 Member Services. We can be reached at (780) 451-6824 or email alberta.association@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.  Those attending will be eligible for Clinical Continuing Education credits.

Registering with Alberta Health

Information on how to register with Alberta Health can be found on the ACO website under Registration.  You will also find the information needed for contacting the Alberta Practitioner Registry, which is your responsibility.

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 Edmonton, Calgary, Central Alberta (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. Jennifer Hugh jchughod@gmail.com
 Edmonton Society of Optometrists Dr. Sam Boucher  samualboucher@eyehealthcentre.ca 
 Central Alberta Society of Optometrists     Dr. Samantha Sperber samantha@doctorseyecare.ab.ca
 Lethbridge Society of Optometrists Dr. Tatiana Cook  tatiana.cook@hotmail.com 
 Medicine Hat Society of Optometrists Dr. Clark Hyde             clark.hyde@gmail.com

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