Board Certification Opens to Canadian ODs in 2023

November 28, 2022
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The American Board of Optometry will remove restrictions for Canadian ODs to take the board certification exam and attain Diplomate status beginning in 2023.

Since inception in 2010, access to the board certification exam was limited to optometrists licensed within a US state, territory or commonwealth. This restriction was put in place for several reasons.

  1. The exam was to be offered in English only.
  2. Available test centers were limited in Canada.
  3. Accreditation, licensing and scope-of-practice laws were different for Canadian optometrists.
  4. Limited start-up resources kept the focus on US licensed optometrists.

With a growing number of Canadian optometrists showing interest in board certification, ABO formed a committee in 2022 to review current policies, resources and practice environments. Based on the following factors, the ABO board of directors voted to remove restrictions, allowing Canadian optometrists to register and sit for the board certification exam and attain Diplomate status.

  1. In 2021, ABO entered a contract with a new test delivery vendor, Meazure Learning (formerly known as Scantron), with test centers widely available worldwide, including all Canadian provinces.
  2. Both Canadian optometry schools, the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science and the University of Montreal, are accredited by the US Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE).
  3. Multiple Canadian provinces now accept the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) licensing exam.
  4. Canadian scope-of-practice laws have aligned more with US scope-of-practice laws.
  5. An increasing number of Canadian trained optometrists are completing residencies in the US.

Any Canadian optometrist interested in becoming board certified by the ABO may apply to take the exam in January 2023. The next exam window is from February 1, 2023 to March 31, 2023. Requirements to sit for the exam are the same as for US licensed optometrists and the exam will continue to be offered in English only. For questions or assistance with completing an application, please contact our office at info@abopt.org or 314.983.4226.

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