Education and training requirements (from March 2021)

Updated education and training requirements

As part of our Education Strategic Review, we have updated our education and training requirements for GOC-approved qualifications for: 

They replace the current Education Quality Assurance Handbooks for optometry (2015) and ophthalmic dispensing (2011), Independent Prescribing Handbook (2008), and Contact Lens Handbook (2007). The new requirements ensure that all optical professionals are equipped to deliver eye-care services in a rapidly changing landscape and meet the needs of patients in the future.

Watch our short video below for more information.

Background information

We have also produced a timeline graphic which illustrates the journey to the introduction and implementation of the new ETR, including key milestones such as the Education Strategic Review (ESR) and various consultations on our proposals. View the timeline graphic.

To learn more about the new requirements and the changes introduced, see our Key Changes infographic

Applying for, or adapting, to the new requirements

If you are seeking to gain approval or to adapt an existing qualification, please first contact the Education Team via to discuss the process and for further information.

All the documents, associated forms and templates required to gain approval for or adapt an existing qualification can be found using the relevant qualification links above.

Once we are satisfied that an existing qualification is able to meet the updated education and training requirements, we will ‘note’ it. This means that we have reviewed the detailed plans of how the provider’s adapted qualification will meet the new requirements and have noted these changes. We don’t use the terminology ‘approve’ in this process as the qualification already holds GOC approval.

Adaptation documentation 

Up to December 2023, existing providers were required to complete either form 2A, 2B or 2C (dependant on profession or specialty) to notify the GOC of their proposed adaptation plans. However, we have chosen to merge these into one ‘Adaptation Form’ which is now available for use (from December 2023). This was developed to streamline our approach and to allow providers to include more than one profession/specialty together into their new, adapted qualification should they wish to. The merged form has been developed to cover the same areas of focus as the existing form 2A, 2B or 2C and can now be used by all providers looking to submit their qualification adaptation, regardless of profession or specialty.  

A guidance document was created alongside the form to provide support and explanation of what we are expecting in each section of the adaptation form; it is recommended that the guidance document is consulted whilst completing the form. Please find the merged adaptation form and the accompanying guidance below: 

Whilst we encourage providers to use the new merged adaptation form, we will still accept submissions using the previous Form 2A, 2B, or 2C versions.  

Declaration of Closure form

To ensure the Education department have a clear understanding and oversight of provider plans for all existing handbook qualifications, we have developed the Declaration of Closure form with the expectation that providers will complete the form to evidence their plans for teaching out any iterations of a qualification(s) that will not be adapted to the ETRs. This form will also be available to complete for the closure, suspension or teaching out of any qualifications and not just for those adapting. Please find the Declaration of Closure form and accompanying guidance below:

Qualifications being delivered under the new requirements


Dispensing Optics 

Additional Supply, Supplementary Prescribing and/or Independent Prescribing 

  • Aston University - Independent Prescribing for Optometrists - from October 2023

Frequently Asked Questions 

See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about the new requirements.