By Jaclyn Chang, OD
One of the mandatory requirements of maintaining your membership with the College of Optometrists of Ontario is completing a specific number of continuing education (CE) hours every three-year period.
The new three-year cycle begins on January 1, 2021.
There is an auditing process following each three-year cycle, so it is important to make sure you complete your hours and receive credit for them. Keep reading for a quick summary and visit the College website for more information (Members -> Quality Assurance -> Continuing Education).
For New Registrants (New Graduates)
If you just graduated, you first need to register with the College as you can only claim continuing education hours completed after registration.
Then, you can set up your online account with the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), using this link: https://www.arbo.org/. ARBO will assign you an OE Tracker number; OE Tracker is the system the College uses to store CE data for optometrists.
The subscription for ARBO was paid for by the College for the previous cycle (To clarify, once you have paid your College fees, you do NOT need to pay anything additional).
When you get your OE Tracker number, you are ready to start uploading your CE certificates to ensure you receive credit for the hours you have completed.
Some CE providers will upload the certificate for you and will ask for your OE Tracker number (sometimes this can take a while to show up in your account!).
Certificates can be uploaded using one of the following methods (~5 business days to show up in your account):
-Mobile App: https://www.arbo.org/oet_app.php
-Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – ARBO is usually pretty responsive and it is easy to email in your certificate!
For more information, visit:
For new registrants, the number of CE hours required are prorated based on the number of complete years left in the cycle following the year registered.
Here are the number of CE hours required based on your graduation year/year of registration:
-1st year of the cycle (2021) – 47 total hours, 34 COPE (14 disease), 13 other
-2nd year of the cycle (2022) – 24 total hours, 17 COPE (7 disease), 7 other
-3rd year of the cycle (2023) – 0 hours
After Initial Registration – 70 Credit Hours/Cycle
Members of the College are required to complete at least 70 credit hours of continuing education every three-year cycle. *There have been changes since the last three-year cycle in which CE hours were previously classified as Category A and B. Please see the new information below.
Of the 70 hours, 50 hours must be Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) accredited.
Of the 50 required COPE accredited hours, a minimum of 20 hours must be lecture-based in ocular disease and management or related systemic disease. Fellowship or Diplomate in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) or Fellowship in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD) counts as 30 COPE accredited hours.
Members need a participation verification certificate for COPE accredited CE. This is to be submitted to OE Tracker by the member or CE provider.
The other 20 hours can be COPE accredited or other learning activities.
Other learning activities can include organized events and distance learning activities that are not COPE accredited, graduate studies, residency, publication in a refereed journal, clinical supervision, CPR certification, and others.
Members are required to complete the ‘Continuing Education: Other Learning Opportunities’ form to claim credit for other learning activities. This is to be submitted to OE Tracker.
Members are required to report their CE hours in their Annual Report to the College. This is then verified through OE Tracker.
For more information, visit:
Click here to view the new 2021-2023 COO Policy on Continuing Education.
CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) Journal (www.CROJournal.com) will provide one free COPE credit for any new OD signing up to the NewOptometrist.ca e-newsletter before Feb 5th, 2021. The free credit can be applied to any course in the CRO Catalogue.
JACLYN CHANG, OD
Dr. Jaclyn Chang graduated from the University of Waterloo (UW) with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences before continuing at Waterloo to complete her Doctor of Optometry degree. She is currently a practicing optometrist in Toronto.
Dr. Chang is committed to sharing information and bringing new resources to her colleagues. As a student, she sat on the Board of Trustees for the American Optometric Student Association, organizing events to connect students with industry. She was the Co-Founder/Co-President of the award-winning UW Advancement of Independent Optometry Club, the first club at UW dedicated to private practice optometry. Dr. Chang is also a passionate writer, who aims to make information accessible and easily digestible to her colleagues. She has published in Optometry & Vision Science and Foresight magazine and contributed to Optik magazine. She is excited to bring valuable resources to Canada’s next generation of optometrists with NewOptometrist.ca.