Accreditation Resources and Directories of Programs

ACOE offers many accreditation resources and guidelines to assist programs and for general information.

ACOE General guidance for all programs

ACOE Policy and Procedure Manual (March 2024). The ACOE’s Policy and Procedure Manual provides important guidance to programs about accreditation. Programs are required to understand and comply with the ACOE’s policies and procedures.

ACOE Glossary (March 2024). The ACOE Glossary defines italicized words and acronyms used in the ACOE Policy and Procedure Manual and in the ACOE's accreditation Standards.

NEW! Guidance for publication of ACOE accreditation status, applicable to all programs. 

Accreditation Standards for each type of program (professional optometric degree, optometric residency, and optometric technician) are stand-alone documents and are available under the program resources below.

Professional optometric degree program resources

Professional Optometric Degree Standards (effective July 1, 2017, updated March 2024) may be downloaded to serve as a framework for programs conducting self-studies. Use of these Standards is mandatory for all programs being evaluated on or after  July 1, 2017. These Standards expire December 31, 2024 and are replaced by the new 2025 Standards linked below. 

NEW! ACOE March 15, 2024 memo regarding revised Standard 2.10.2.1 of the 2017 Professional Optometric Degree Standards, which addresses expectations of professional optometric degree programs with respect to program review and monitoring of externship sites, specifically program visits to externship sites.

View the  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding 2017 OD Standard 1.4.

NEW! Beginning January 1, 2025, all professional optometric degree programs – including those seeking Preliminary Approval status – must demonstrate compliance with the new 2025 Professional Optometric Degree Program Standards  (adopted October 2023). Programs may opt to be evaluated under the new 2025 Standards prior to January 1, 2025. View the Summary of Changes  between the 2017 Standards and the 2025 Standards.

Standards for professional optometric degree programs seeking Preliminary Approval preaccreditation status (effective Jan. 1, 2019, updated March 2023). These Standards are for use by newly developing, professional optometric degree programs seeking Stage Two Applicant designation, as outlined in the ACOE Policy and Procedure Manual.  These Standards expire December 31, 2024 and are replaced by the new 2025 Standards linked above. 

Directory of Accredited Optometric Degree Programs (optometry schools and colleges)

Directory of Preliminary Approval (Preaccredited) Professional Optometric Degree Programs

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry publishes data and additional information regarding the schools and colleges of optometry

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on OD Standard 1.4 (2017)

  • How should we publish graduation and attrition rates, NBEO data and ultimate passage rates on our website? The program is required to publish current and reliable data on its website. While there may be other ways to present the data, the following charts show how this data could be presented:

  • In addition to our standard 4-year program, we have a program in which students are expected to graduate in X number of years. How should we present this data? Data should be presented separately for each program offered by the College. 
  • For various reasons, students may complete graduation requirements in more than four years, but less than five years. How should we categorize these students? Students who complete graduation requirements in the same calendar year as the end of their fourth year may be included in the four-year graduation rate if the program states this when presenting their data. This is done in the sample chart provided above. 
  • How should we categorize a student who is on a leave of absence? Since the student has neither graduated nor left the program, he or she can be categorized as in the sample chart. 

Student achievement data for the schools and colleges of optometry

Optometric residency programs resources

Optometric residency standards effective July 1, 2017, updated May 2021. Use of these standards is mandatory for all programs being evaluated on or after July 1, 2017.  These Standards expire June 30, 2025 and are replaced by the new 2025 Standards linked below.

Clarification of Residency Specialty and Areas of Emphasis

Clarification of 5.1.1 of 2017 Optometric Residency Standards

Modification of Examples of Evidence 2.1 and 2.4 Optometric Residency Standards

Modification of Examples of Evidence of 3.5 of 2017 Optometric Residency Standards

ACOE Residency Self-Study Working DRAFT Template 2017 Standards, has been created as a working document to allow for collaboration of participants involved in preparing the narrative to share comments via "track changes" feature in Microsoft Word and to use spell check and other features that aren't available in protected documents. Use of this document is optional; programs may instead use the ACOE Residency FINAL Version Self-Study 2017 Standards. Coming soon – templates for the 2025 Optometric Residency Program Standards are under development.

ACOE Residency FINAL Version Self-Study 2017 Standards is the document that must be submitted with appendices. This is a Word-protected document. Programs using the self-study working draft template are required to cut and paste the final narrative into this protected Word document and submit it with all appendices. Coming soon – templates for the 2025 Optometric Residency Program Standards are under development.

Guidelines for Electronic Submission of an Optometric Residency Self-Study provides guidelines for residencies to submit self-studies electronically.

Guidelines for Conducting a Residency Annual Review

NEW! Beginning July 1, 2025, all optometric residency programs must demonstrate compliance with the new 2025 Optometric Residency Program Standards (adopted October 2023, updated March 2024). Programs may opt to be evaluated under the new 2025 Standards prior to July 1, 2025. View the Summary of Changes between the 2017 Standards and the 2025 Standards.

New! ACOE March 15, 2024 memo regarding Examples of Evidence for 2025 Optometric Residency Standards 2.2 and 2.3.

Directory of Accredited Optometric Residency Programs

Optometric technician programs resources

Optometric Technician Standards (effective Jan. 1, 2019). Use of these standards is mandatory for all programs being evaluated on or after Jan. 1, 2019. These standards may be downloaded to serve as a framework for programs conducting self-studies. 

Directory of Accredited Optometric Technician Programs