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 2027
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 2027
Janet Millis, AA,CPOT Optometric Technician 2024
Regan Michelle Welch, O.D. Practitioner 2027
David N. Yang, O.D. Practitioner 2024

Call for comments on proposed changes

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) invites interested parties to submit comments related to the following calls for comments. Comments should be submitted to by the deadline of September 3, 2023, and should include the topic number(s) being addressed. The ACOE will consider comments received at its Fall Meeting scheduled on October 27-29, 2023.


Interested parties are invited to submit comments regarding proposed changes to Accreditation Standards and Glossary Definitions for

  1. Professional Optometric Degree Programs, including those for programs seeking the ACOE’s Preliminary Approval status [Please note “ Topic 1a” when submitting comments]
  2. Optometric Residency Programs [Please note “ Topic 1b” when submitting comments]

The ACOE is notifying the public and the communities of interest of its decision to defer its phase-out of ACOE accreditation of Optometric Technician Programs. In addition, the Council is proposing changes to the timeframe within which it must begin the comprehensive Standards review process for Accreditation Standards applicable to Optometric Technician Programs. Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments regarding the proposed changes to the Policy and Procedure.

  • TOPIC 2 Memorandum from Dr. G. Timothy Petito, ACOE Chair, that is informational with respect to the ACOE’s decision on its continued accreditation of optometric technician programs and a call for comments [Please note “ Topic 2" when submitting comments] regarding proposed changes to is Revisions of Accreditation Standards Policy and Procedure.

COVID-19 Advisories

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

COVID-19 advisories