Education and training requirements (from March 2021)

New 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.

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.

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.

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.