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Asian nurse with an eye test chart out of focus in the backgroundThe National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s reference on occupations. It provides job descriptions, occupational statistics and labour market information. Check it out for the full and official description of this occupation. 

Credentials recognition

Finding a job in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews, and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.

To work in optometry, candidates must have an excellent academic record. They must be able to empathize with patients, and be able to communicate and explain things in simple terms. And because they usually run a small business, they must also have management skills.

You should contact the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) at the University of Waterloo, Ontario to arrange for an evaluation of your educational and professional credentials. If you wish to practice in Québec, you need to contact the Ordre des optométristes du Québec.

In order to be registered as an optometrist and be authorized to practice the profession in Canada, you will be required to: have a minimum of three years of undergraduate education, a four-year university program in optometry, and an optional one year residency training. You will also need to successfully pass the national examination administered by the Canadian Examiners in Optometry and complete the provincial board requirements where you intend to settle and work.

Credentials assessment services  

If you plan to attend a college or university program to upgrade your skills, contact the school where you plan to study. Find out what steps to take and what credential assessment agency you should use.

Make sure to highlight your international education and skills. Try to build on your existing knowledge and skills and explore university and college options thoroughly before deciding.

You might be able to get advanced standing, transfer some of your credits and benefit from prior learning assessment options by using your international credentials and experience to gain credit or course exemptions. This way you will complete your program more quickly, without wasting money and repeating the education you already have.

World Education Services (WES)
Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
International Qualifications Assessment Service Alberta (IQAS)
The International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

To find more organizations and agencies providing credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here. You can also visit the Foreign Credentials Referral Office for information, path-finding and referral services on foreign credential recognition to help internationally trained workers like you succeed and put their skills to work in Canada more quickly.

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Best locations

Generally, job prospects in this occupation are positive. Around 4300 optometrists practice in Canada, but their number is expected to increase over the next few years, because as the Canadian population ages, the demand for and number of people seeking optometric services will increase.

Though most Canadian cities offer employment opportunities in the optometric sector, you may find more opportunities in the fast-growing provinces of the Prairies. When looking for jobs, broaden your geographic area to include smaller cities and towns close to your target city. For example, if you intend to work in Toronto, you might find a job opportunity in nearby Hamilton, which is less than an hour’s drive from there.

Before deciding where you want to settle in Canada, research and find out where there is a higher demand for your area of the profession.

Choosing a City.

Major employers

In Canada, optometrists may work in private practices or the public health-care system. New job openings in the sector will come mainly from opportunities that arise when practicing optometrists retire or to a lesser degree, from employment increase.

Approximately 83% of optometrists, according to census data, had a private practice in 2006, while the remaining 17% worked for opticians as salaried or contract employees.

You can visit the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website to check for immigrant-friendly corporations and organizations which you might be interested in. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for recent immigrants. These employers offer interesting programs to assist newcomers to Canada in making the transition to a new workplace — and a new life in Canada.