Getting registered and preparing for practise
This information is for optometry students in their final year of university study and outlines the steps required to become a registered optometrist in Australia. As a student enrolled in a health practitioner training program, you are already registered with the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA) via the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Your university automatically completes this student registration on your behalf.
Once you are ready to graduate from university, you must then apply for graduate registration as a registered health practitioner via AHPRA.
As a student enrolled in a health practitioner training program in Australia, your university automatically registers you with AHPRA/OBA. This is designed to protect the public’s safety. You do not pay any fees for student registration.
Read more about student registration on AHPRA’s website.
Ready to graduate? The most important advice we can offer is that you should begin your graduate registration at least six weeks before completing your course.
We suggest that you:
- Begin to apply for registration at least six weeks before completing your course.
- Fill out the application form online or download the form and post it to AHPRA.
- Apply for registration online: If you complete the form online you will be sent a ‘next steps’ email by AHPRA within two days, asking you to post additional information to support your application. Ensure you include the next steps email confirmation with your supporting documentation. This information is to confirm your identity.
- Download the hard copy application form: If you complete the application in hard copy you will not receive the ‘next steps’ email mentioned above as you are already providing this information with your application.
- 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.
- 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 – often this will happen before you receive written confirmation.
- Once your name is on the register, congratulations! You are eligible to begin practising as an optometrist.
Graduate 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. Current fees are listed on the OBA website. As of 2019 the application fee is $200 and the registration fee is $300.
- 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.
Issues that may delay graduate registration
1. English language requirements
- If your secondary schooling was taught and assessed in a language other than English, please check AHPRA’s English language requirements closely. This issue is a major reason for delay with graduate registrations.
- 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, driver’s licence and Medicare card.
- Copies of documents provided to prove your identity must be certified as true copies of original documents.
- Authorised persons who can certify copies for you include optometrists, pharmacists, lawyers and police officers.
- Make sure you check the proof of identity requirements very carefully as providing the wrong information will delay your registration.
- The name on your application must match the student name you have used as your university I.D. Your university communicates with AHPRA using this name. Please contact your university before you graduate, if you have concerns.
- As a student you will be unable 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.
5. 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.
- The OBA will decide whether your criminal history is relevant to your ability to practise optometry.
- 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.
- The OBA will decide whether your impairment is relevant to your ability to practise optometry.
Contact your state office for more information on how to get registered to practise.