Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE)

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) is the only accrediting body for professional optometric degree (O.D.) programs, optometric residency programs, and optometric technician programs in the United States and Canada.


Both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognize the ACOE as a reliable authority concerning the quality of education of the programs the Council accredits. ACOE accreditation means the programs that have attained accredited status:

  • Meet the Council's standards of educational effectiveness; and 
  • Show a demonstrated commitment to quality assessment and improvement.

Calls for comments on proposed changes

ACOE Mission

"The ACOE serves the public and the profession of optometry by establishing, maintaining and applying standards to ensure the academic quality and continuous improvement of optometric education that reflect the contemporary practice of optometry. The scope of the ACOE encompasses professional optometric degree programs, optometric residency programs, and optometric technician programs."

  • Professional Optometric Degree programs are courses of study leading to a doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree.
  • Optometric Residency programs of postdoctoral optometry clinical education are designed to advance the optometric graduate's preparation for patient care services beyond entry-level practice.
  • Optometric Technician programs prepare students to work as optometric technicians with a working knowledge and an understanding of the procedures within the current scope of optometric practice. These programs are a minimum of one academic year.

ACOE's Recognition

ACOE is recognized as an accrediting body by two external agencies-the U.S. Department of Education (USDE)  and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Through periodic reviews by both USDE and CHEA, the ACOE demonstrates compliance with their respective criteria. CHEA's web site includes important information about the harm of accreditation mills and degree mills and useful information for consumers.

Members

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) has 13 members:

  • 11 AOA members.
    • 4 optometric practitioners. 
    • 2 doctors of optometry who are state board members nominated by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO).
    • 2 doctors of optometry affiliated with an optometric education institution nominated by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). 
    • 2 doctors of optometry who are graduates of, or a faculty member or administrator in an accredited residency (ASCO).
    • 1 optometric technician. 
  • 2 public members.

The term of appointment for an ACOE member is three years, and an individual may serve a maximum of three terms.

The following individuals serve as members of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education in the 2024-25 year:

COUNCIL MEMBER TYPE OF ACOE MEMBER CURRENT TERM EXPIRES
G. Timothy Petito, O.D., Chair Practitioner 2025
Julie DeKinder, O.D., Vice Chair Residency Educator 2027
Susan E. Abbe, RN., PhD Public Member 2025
Jacqueline G. Davis, O.D., MPH State Board 2026
Mark T. Evely, JD, Ph.D Public Member 2027
Daniel G. Fuller, O.D. Residency Educator 2025
Geoffrey W. Goodfellow, O.D. Educator 2025
Larry R. Henry, O.D. Practitioner 2025
William L. Miller, O.D., Ph.D. Educator 2026
Janet Millis, AA,CPOT Optometric Technician 2027
Linda Tharp, O.D. State Board 2027
Regan Michelle Welch, O.D. Practitioner 2026
Michael R. White, O.D. Practitioner 2027

Call for comments on proposed changes

The ACOE  invites interested parties to submit comments regarding proposed changes as explained in the attached July 11, 2024 memoNote that topics 2, 3 and 4 are the subject of this call for comments. Topic 1 is notification of adopted changes to the 2025 Professional Optometric Degree Program Standards which were addressed in a previous call for comments. 

  • Topic 2 Proposed changes to 2025 Professional Optometric Degree Program Standard 1.10:
  • Topic 3 Proposed changes to the ACOE Glossary definition of ‘ultimate pass rate’; and
  • Topic 4 A proposal for the ‘ACOE-specified format’ associated with 2025 Professional Optometric Degree Program Standard 1.10 

The ACOE will consider comments received at its Fall meeting scheduled October 25-27, 2024. Please submit any comments by August 23, 2024 and please specify the relevant TOPIC # from the memo when doing so. Submit comments to accredit@theacoe.org.