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By law, students on a GOC-approved training course in optometry or dispensing optics must be registered with the GOC.

Registered students have a GOC registration number starting SO- (student optometrist) or SD- (student dispensing optician).

Studying for an optical qualification involves learning the core competencies that are necessary to practise safely and effectively. These competencies include technical, clinical and communication skills. To gain these skills and appropriate clinical experience, students work with patients and the public throughout their course of study. The patients they treat need to be protected in case there is a problem.

You can find out more information by downloading this booklet:

Acrobat Reader icon Registration guidance for students



How to register

What do I have to do?

  • Fill in an application for student registration form.
  • Return the completed form, together with the £20 registration fee, to: Registration Department, General Optical Council, 41 Harley Street, London W1G 8DJ.
  • Renew your registration each year (’retention’).
  • Keep your contact address details up to date. It is your responsibility to let us know if your contact details change. 
  • Comply with the code of conduct.

What do I get?

    • Registration pack containing: Opticians Handbook, certificate with your official GOC student registration number (starting SO- or SD-).
    • GOC newsletter, Bulletin, three times a year.
    • Renewal forms and notices.
    • Access to registrants’ area of the website.

What happens if I don’t register?

    • You will be breaking the law.
    • You will not be able to sit your examinations.
    • We may not recognise your qualifications when you apply to join the full register. 
    • You may be not be covered by any indemnity insurance policy.








Content Panels

Search our registers

Search our registers

Find a registered individual practitioner or business.

MyGOC area

MyGOC area

Registrants can update their contact details, log CET points or complete their annual retention.

About registration

About registration

Read about the importance of checking an optician's registration

Registration forms

Registration forms

Download any of our registration forms, including restoration, specialty and student transfer.