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.


Advisory information from ACOE regarding COVID-19 as of December 16, 2020

COVID-19 Updates


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 11 members:

  • 9 AOA members.
    • 3 optometric practitioners. 
    • 2 doctors of optometry who are state board members nominated by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO).
    • 3 doctors of optometry affiliated with an optometric education institution nominated by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) (1 of these members must be residency trained or be a faculty member or administrator in an accredited residency).
    • 1 optometric technician representative. 
  • 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 2021-22 year:

COUNCIL MEMBER TYPE OF ACOE MEMBER CURRENT TERM EXPIRES
Stephanie S. Messner, O.D., Chair Educator 2022
G. Timothy Petito, O.D., Vice Chair Practitioner 2022
Patricia M. Capone, B.S. COTA/L Public Member 2022
Luanne K. Chubb, O.D. State Board 2024
Jacqueline G. Davis, O.D., MPH State Board 2023
Julie DeKinder, O.D. Residency Educator 2024
Mark T. Evely, JD, Ph.D Public Member 2024
Lauren Kelsey Haverly, O.D. Practitioner 2023
William L. Miller, O.D., Ph.D. Educator 2023
Janet Millis, AA,CPOT Optometric Technician 2024
David N. Yang, O.D. Practitioner 2024

Contact ACOE

The Council publishes lists of accredited professional optometric degree programs, optometric residency programs and optometric technician programs. To request lists of programs, manuals or to ask questions about the ACOE, contact the ACOE.

Stephanie A. Puljak, MS MBA, ACOE Director, is the principal staff member supporting the ACOE.

Calls for comments on proposed changes

There currently are no calls for comment, please check again soon.

Advisory information from ACOE regarding COVID-19

Related News

Medicare expansion momentum grows in Congress as AOA mobilizes doctors, students

The AOA is hosting a profession-wide videoconference, Thursday, July 29, to discuss rapidly developing legislation to expand Medicare benefits and is seeking members’ input to inform advocacy.

Carrying the torch: AOA campaign message reaches billions

With the competitions officially underway July 23, the AOA is capitalizing on its partnership with surfer Caroline Marks and USA Surfing to raise awareness about the essentialness of regular, comprehensive eye care and vision health. Doctors of optometry can get involved with the See and Be Seen campaign.

Congress urges administration to fully implement provider nondiscrimination law

Regulators have taken a “hands-off” approach to this key ACA provision for a decade, but now members of Congress encourage full implementation of the law as originally intended.