When I graduate from Optometry, can I go straight into practice?

You must first pass the profession’s registration and jurisprudence exams for the geographic area of interest, then you may go directly into practice.

Registration exams

To complete your professional qualifications, after graduation, candidates must pass a registration exam. For practice in Canada, this Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry (CACO) exam is administered by the Optometry Examining Board of Canada; their site also has links to each of the provincial regulatory bodies. The exam is held at the end of May in Waterloo and Montreal, as well as an October session in Montreal. The University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science (UWOVS) has a history of doing very well on these exams. The latest exam results can be found on the OEBC Summary Reports page. For past results of Canadian-trained students, you can find the historical rankings of the Canadian Standard Assessment in Optometry on their website. 

Jurisprudence exams

Each province has a different jurisprudence exam. Access to each provinces web site can be found at the Canadian Association of Optometrists links page.

Finding a place to practice

You may prefer:

  • Solo, partnership, or group practice
  • Part-time or full-time
  • Specialisation; contact lens, paediatrics, low vision, etc.
  • A mixed OD and non-OD setting like a hospital or large clinic

Various professional optometry associations have their own job lists that are available with membership.


Residencies are programs of at least one year undertaken by recent graduates. The resident doctor practices eye care beyond entry level practice, typically in a specialized area of optometry. The program consists of self-directed learning, seminar participation, instructional experiences, and scholarship.

Further information about residencies is available from the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) Residencies FAQ and American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) Optometric Residency Programs.

Post-graduate studies

Alternatively, some Optometry students continue on with post-graduate studies and work toward an MSc or PhD. Details of the School's post-graduate program in Vision Science can be found at Prospective Graduate Students.

The School offers an accelerated Doctor of Optometry – Master of Science program allowing you to work towards both degrees in an accelerated fashion. Details can be found on the Optometry page of the Undergraduate Calendar.