Welcome to Canada

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You have trained in another country, and now you want to practice Opticianry in Alberta

First of all, welcome! There are several steps you need to complete to be allowed to practice here. It may seem overwhelming at first, but we will try to make it easy to follow.

We look forward to working with you after you have completed the requirements for becoming an optician in Alberta. Before we get started, consider watching this video about the international experience.

Why You Need to Register

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Before you can be an optician, you must register

The Health Professions Act and the Opticians Regulations govern the practice of opticianry in Alberta.

Everyone practicing in Alberta as an RO, RCLP, and Provisional Optician must be registered with the ACAO. Failure to register is a significant offense and can result in disciplinary action and/or fines.  Practicing unlicensed is illegal; we are here to keep you and the public safe.

Steps to Registration

Canadian and international applicants who have not graduated from a Canadian accredited program may be accepted for registration when they have a combination of knowledge, skills, experience and abilities, which are substantially equivalent to the requirements for new applicants.

These applicants will complete a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition process (PLAR). The PLAR process consists of a document review, Competency Gap Analysis (CGA) and Case-Based Interview. The CGA is a supervised online multiple choice assessment, the Case-Based interview (CBI) is an interview which is conducted either in person or remotely through electronic methods. Both the CGA and CBI are based on the competencies in the National Competencies for Canadian Opticians. The scores on the CGA and CBI are combined in a computer generated score card known as an Integrated Candidate Scorecard (ICS). The results are used to determine if there are any gaps in the candidate’s knowledge and skills. If additional education is required bridging modules will be assigned to upgrade the candidate’s knowledge and skills.

To begin the process, complete the 2021 PLAR Application Form including the required additional information and return it to the NACOR office.

For more information on the PLAR process and the National Competencies for Canadian Opticians click here.

Please contact general@nacor.ca if you have any questions or require assistance.


Fees Total Cost (including GST)
Document Assessment $236.25
Eyeglass: Competency Gap Analysis & Interview $682.50
Contact Lens: Competency Gap Analysis & Interview $682.50

More Information

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How Long Does It Take?

After you submit you application, it will be reviewed by NACOR to determine if you are eligible.

If you are eligible, you will be contacted with available times and dates to complete your CGA and interview.

The Competency Gap Analysis (CGA)

It is important to note that the CGA is not a test; you do not simply pass or fail. The CGA is a way for us to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses according to the NACOR list of National Competencies. Because of this, the CGA is divided into three sections:

  • Core
  • Eyeglasses
  • Contact Lenses

Each section will provide you with a series of multiple choice questions. You will have 5 hours to complete the three sections, and an optional short break after each section. You do not have to complete the contact lens portion of the CGA if you are not interested in becoming a contact lens fitter.

The Interview

The interview is divided into the same three categories as the CGA. The interviewers will ask you about your own personal experience dispensing eyeglasses and fitting contact lenses (if applicable). The interviewers will also provide you with hypothetical scenarios where you will provide proposed courses of action.