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Getting registered to practise with the Optometry Board of Australia

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Luke Arundel
National Professional Services Manager

Key points

  • This information is for optometry students in their final year of study and outlines the steps required to become registered as an optometrist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA).
  • All optometrists must be registered with the OBA to practise. It is illegal to practise optometry without being registered.
  • All students enrolled in an optometry program are provided free student registration with the Optometry Board of Australia for the duration of their study. In your final year of study you should begin preparing your graduate registration at least three months prior to graduating.
  • Contact the Optometry Australia office in your state for more information on how to get registered to practise.

Student Registration

The Australian Health Practitioner National Law Act (National Law) states that students must be registered in the interests of protecting the public’s safety in much the same way that health practitioners must be registered. There are no fees for student registration.

Under the National Law, all students enrolled in a health practitioner training program must be registered as a student with their respective National Board. Students must be registered prior to the commencement of their approved program of study or clinical training and will remain registered for the duration of study, or until they are no longer enrolled.

Students do not need to apply for registration. Your university will forward information to AHPRA on all the students enrolled in your optometry course.

The National Law requires that the Student Register be kept private. It cannot be accessed like the Registers of Practitioners and this means that AHPRA does not issue students with a student registration number.

More information: student registration FAQ for Students

About to graduate

There are five easy steps to graduate registration but the most important thing is to apply early. Late applications may mean that your registration is delayed and you will not be able to commence practising as soon as possible.

  1. You should apply for registration no later than six weeks prior to completing your course in your final year of study.
  2. Fill out the application form online or download the form and post it in to AHPRA. If you complete the form online you will be sent a ‘next steps’ email by AHPRA within two days, requesting you to post additional information to support your application. This information is to confirm your identity. If you complete this application in hard copy you will not receive this email as you are providing this information with your application.
  3. When you officially graduate, your university will advise AHPRA that you are eligible. This usually occurs either in the middle of June or December, depending on when your course finishes.
  4. AHPRA will process your application and confirm your registration in writing and send you a registration certificate. It will publish your name on the register of practitioners and often this happens before your receive written confirmation.
  5. Once your name is on the register, you are eligible to begin practising as an optometrist.

Registration fees

Payment of an application fee and a registration fee is required when completing your graduate registration application online. The fees may change each year and you can find the current fees on the Optometry Board of Australia website. You will need a VISA card or MasterCard when applying online. When you renew your registration every year from then on, you will have to pay a registration fee but you will not have to pay an application fee.

Applying online

If you applied online, you will receive a Next Steps Check-list email within two working days from AHPRA. You should print this email and use it as the front page when you mail back all the information to support your graduate registration application.

Identity

When you register you must provide evidence of your identity. AHPRA has special proof of identity requirements that can include documents such as your passport, birth certificate, drivers licence and Medicare card. Copies of documents provided to prove your identity must be certified as true copies of original documents. Authorised persons whom you can get to certify copies include optometrists, pharmacists, lawyers and police officers. See here for a full list of those who can certify documents. Make sure you check the proof of identity requirements very carefully as if you do not provide the right information it will delay your registration.

Name

The name on your application for registration must match the student name you are using for your optometry course at university. If your name has changed after enrolling in an approved program of study, you must contact the education provider to update these details.

Qualifications

As a student you will not be able to provide a copy of your qualification or degree with your application. You are NOT required to submit this when applying and the final stages of your application will be processed when AHPRA receives this information from your university. AHPRA will process your application within days of receiving this information from your university.

Criminal History

If you disclosed a criminal history in Australia and/or overseas in your application, you must provide details of this in a signed and dated written statement with your supporting documentation. Your profession’s National Board will decide whether your criminal history is relevant to your ability to practise your profession.

Impairments

You may be required to disclose any impairment when completing your graduate registration. If so, you will need to attach with your supporting documentation a signed and dated written statement with details of that impairment and how it is managed. Your profession’s National Board will decide whether your impairment is relevant to your ability to practise your profession.

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