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 2022-23 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 2024
Susan E. Abbe, RN., PhD Public Member 2025
Luanne K. Chubb, O.D. State Board 2024
Jacqueline G. Davis, O.D., MPH State Board 2023
Mark T. Evely, JD, Ph.D Public Member 2024
Daniel G. Fuller, O.D. Residency Educator 2025
Geoffrey W. Goodfellow, O.D. Educator 2025
William L. Miller, O.D., Ph.D. Educator 2023
Janet Millis, AA,CPOT Optometric Technician 2024
Regan Michelle Welch, O.D. Practitioner 2023
David N. Yang, O.D. Practitioner 2024
Vacant Practitioner 2025

Call for comments on proposed changes

The ACOE invites interested parties to submit comments regarding proposed changes relating to two related topical areas, as described in the memo sent to the communities of interest:

  1. Modifications to the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) Policy and Procedure
    Professional Optometric Degree Programs Seeking Accreditation
  2. Modifications to Standard 4.3 of the ACOE’s Standards for professional optometric degree programs
    seeking preliminary approval pre‐accreditation status

The ACOE will consider comments received at its Winter Meeting to be held February 24‐26, 2023. Comments
provided may include discussion of more than one topic, but we request that your comments indicate the
number of the topical area being discussed. Please submit any comments by December 05, 2022 to
accredit@theacoe.org. [This call for comment posted November 4, 2022.]

COVID-19 Advisories

As of fall 2021 the ACOE has resumed conducting in-person evaluation visits.

COVID-19 advisories