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 June 27, 2020
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.
"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 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 11 members:
- 9 AOA members.
- 3 optometric practitioners nominated by AOA.
- 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 2020-21 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||2021|
|Julie DeKinder, O.D.||Residency Educator||2021|
|Rebecca C. Sparks Dougherty, O.D.||State Board||2023|
|Lauren Kelsey Haverly, O.D.||Practitioner||2023|
|Ann Hayden-Finger, CPOT||Optometric Technician||2021|
|William L. Miller, O.D., Ph.D.||Educator||2023|
|Laura M. Neumann, DDS, MPH||Public Member||2021|
|David N. Yang, O.D.||Practitioner||2021|
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.
The American Optometric Association Health Policy Institute (HPI) is closely monitoring developments regarding COVID-19. Access valuable practice and patient resources, FAQ's, CDC recommendations and the latest HPI information for doctors of optometry.
COVID-19 lockdowns took their toll on optometry practices, but the AOA’s advocacy and guidance in accessing federal relief measures helped the profession recover over a billion dollars.
Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief stands ready to assist doctors on their path to recovery following an historic 2020 wildfire season in the western U.S.
James A. Boucher, O.D., 83, founded his practice in Laramie, Wyoming, and served the community for five decades. Dr. Boucher specialized in cornea and contact lenses practice.