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.


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:

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
Larry R. Henry, O.D. Practitioner 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

Call for comments on proposed changes

Interested parties are invited to submit comments regarding proposed changes to the ACOE’s Policy and Procedure Manual. The ACOE is undergoing the process of reaffirmation of its recognition status from the U.S. Department of Education and is proposing edits to its Policy and Procedure Manual to align with recognition requirements. These changes are proposed to support four objectives, which are more fully explained in this memo

  1. Provide clarification and utilize consistent terminology with regard to the ACOE’s requirements for the accreditation status of an institution where a school of optometry is located,
  2. Add provision for public members to attest to meeting the ACOE definition for a public member,
  3. Include the Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) for Health Professional Schools and Graduate Schools, funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as a program to which ACOE accreditation serves as a federal link, and
  4. Correct the specific actions that an appeals panel may take to comply with U.S. Department of Education requirements.

 The ACOE will consider comments received at its Winter Meeting to be held February 24-26, 2023.  Comments provided may include discussion of one or more objective listed above, but we request that your comments are limited to those topical areas.  Please submit any comments by February 18, 2023 to

[This call for comments posted January 18, 2023.]

COVID-19 Advisories

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

COVID-19 advisories