In this section you will find background information on the European Diploma, its value and what the accreditation process entails.
What is the idea behind the European Diploma in Optometry and the European Qualification in Optics ?
European Diploma in Optometry
The legal scope of practice within the countries of ECOO varies from assembling spectacles to the autonomous management of eye disease. In the spirit of the Bologna declaration ECOO established the European Diploma in Optometry A Global Competency-Based Model of Scope of Practice in Optometry as a stimulus to the harmonization of European optometric education and clinical practice. The European Diploma is set at least at the Bachelor level in European Higher Education or equivalent and provides a qualification appropriate for Optometric practice at Category 3 of the World Council of Optometry’s four categories model. The countries of ECOO have adopted the Diploma as the “Gold Standard” for European Optometry.
As harmonization progresses an increasing number of schools and universities now base their curriculum on the Diploma. To foster this harmonization ECOO has established an internal accreditation agency to invite training institutions to accredit or benchmark their programmes against the European Diploma. The intention is to exempt graduates of accredited programmes from part or all of the European Diploma examinations and the Portfolio of patient clinical experience.
The accreditation is a competency and outcomes-based process:
Just like the European Diploma in Optometry, the European Qualifications in Optics supports ECOO’s mission to harmonise and develop educational standards and the scope of practice for the professions. It is envisaged that the European Qualification in Optics will have particular relevance to and be adopted by training institutions in countries where there is either a lower, or no, established standard for optics. The aim is to establish a basic entry standard for optics at a European level and encourage professional bodies and training institutions to develop beyond this entry standard.
The competency framework has been developed with reference to Part A of the European Diploma in Optometry and should serve as part of the ‘ladder’ of qualification in optics and optometry. It is envisaged that this qualification would allow exemption from Part A of the European Diploma in Optometry. The framework has been designed to be similar to the WCO competency framework at level 1 and has been informed by existing European ophthalmic dispensing competencies.
What are the benefits of being accredited?
- All European Optometry/Optics programmes can be compared against an agreed international standard, the European Diploma in Optometry and the European Qualification in Optics.
- It will form the basis of a system for offering exemptions from parts, or all, of the European Diploma in Optometry or Qualifications in Optics examinations to graduates of accredited programmes.
- Training Institutions will be encouraged to match their programmes to all or part of the competency-based European Diploma in Optometry or European Qualification in Optics – this will help to harmonize Optometry and Optics within Europe.
- It may help training institutions, in the course of their national academic accreditation, if they can demonstrate that all or part of their programme meets the European standard.
- National “competent authorities” will find it easier to evaluate the training of applicants from another EU country – this will help to facilitate free movement of professionals.
How can an institution get accredited?
The first step is to read the Guidelines for Accreditation, if you consider that you would like your institution to be accredited or benchmarked then you should contact the Chairman of the Board of Management, Bob Chappell (email@example.com) who will discuss the process and answer any questions about it.
Applicants for accreditation must complete a self-assessment document which will then be considered by the Accreditation Panel. Once they are satisfied with the information, arrangements are made for a formal visit to the institution.
Documents for the European Diploma in Optometry
- Guidelines for accreditation_Part I ECOO Accreditation Scheme (PDF)
- Guidelines for accreditation_Part II ECOO Accreditation Self-Assessment Document (PDF)
- Guidelines for accreditation_Part III ECOO The Accreditation Visit (PDF)
- Guidelines for accreditation_Part IV ECOO Continuing Accreditation (PDF)
- Guidelines for accreditation_Part V ECOO Financial Aspects of Accreditation (PDF)
- European Diploma in Optometry_Portfolio of clinical experience (PDF)
- Portfolio Guidance for Candidates and Examiners 2014 (PDF)
Document for the European Qualification in Optics
- Guidelines for the Accreditation of European Optical Qualifications to Meet the Standards of the European Qualification in Optics (PDF)
What are the requirements to be eligible for accreditation?
Only institutions teaching optometry or optics are eligible for accreditation. There must be at least one cohort of students who have completed the whole of the course. The visitors may be able to offer advice only on how the structure of new courses meet the requirements of the Diploma or the Qualification, this would assist with a future application for accreditation.
Further information related to the European Diploma in Optometry:
- Report on Pilot scheme (PDF)