The Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA) is an autonomous organization officially incorporated to serve as an independent agency for the sole purpose of accrediting opticianry and ophthalmic laboratory technology programs in the United States and its territories.
COA accredits two-year Opticianry degree programs and one-year ophthalmic laboratory technology certificate programs in the United States and Canada that are sponsored by post-secondary institutions accredited by agencies recognized by the Department of Education or CHEA.
COA fosters excellence in education thorough the development of standards for assessing educational effectiveness, encourages improvement thorough continuous evaluation and planning, and assures the educational community, the general public, and other agencies or organizations that an institution has clearly defined and appropriate objectives, maintains conditions under which their achievement can be reasonably expected, appears in fact to be accomplishing and can be expected to continue to do so.
COA continually develops these educational standards by which opticianry programs are evaluated based on the skills and knowledge necessary for the progression, conducts program evaluation, and publishes a list of accredited programs that meet the national accreditation standards.
COA has formed a body of consultants whose members, in order to avoid conflict of interest, and will serve neither as on-site evaluators or commissioners. These consultants, who are selected in accordance with nondiscriminatory practices, represent the fields of ophthalmology, opticianry, optometry, and general education. If an on-site visit is required of these consultants, the expenses will be borne by the program requesting the visit.
COA annual accreditation fees levied on the accredited programs are paid separately from any dues paid to any related, associated, or affiliated association or membership organization.
The COA annual budget is developed and determined by the agency without review by or consultation with any entity or organization.
—From the COA Policies and Procedures manual: PURPOSE, ORGANIZATION AND MEMBERSHIP
COA is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA, http://www.chea.org/)
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