COA & ACCCOS Membership

Frequently Asked Questions from New Members

How do I know if I am a member?
If you are unsure if you are an active member in our society please email our director of membership at

How do I join?
Joining is easy. Click here to start the application (PDF).

What are the different COA membership categories?
For more information on membership categories and dues, click here.  Here are the following categories

  • Active Full — Active member is an optometrist who resides in the state of California and/or who practices or engages in other related optometric activities in California.

  • Educator/Faculty — Optometrists who satisfy the qualifications of Full Members, and who are engaged in the full time teaching of optometry in a school approved by the Board of Trustees of COA and may work up to 16 hours per week in the practice of optometry.

  • Partial Practice — California-licensed optometrist who works sixteen (16) or fewer hours per week in active practice or related optometric activities.

  • Government service — Optometrists licensed to practice optometry who are employed in Civil, Public, Governmental service, or active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States who have elected to apply for active membership and are not in any form of private practice of optometry.

  • Retired — Optometrists who are active COA members who have completely retired from the active practice of optometry and/or any vision care field. To qualify for retired status you must be 55 years of age or older and you can choose to continue to receive benefits for a reduced annual dues amount or remain a member in name only and receive free dues.

  • Student — Those persons enrolled full-time in a recognized school or college of optometry may apply for complimentary student membership.

  • Post-Graduate — Those persons licensed to practice optometry in the State of California undergoing graduate study on a full-time basis, and/or who are engaged full-time as residents or fellows in residency programs or post-doctoral studies approved by this Association may apply for student member status.

  • New Practitioner Ascending Dues Scale — New graduates are eligible for an ascending dues scale effective during their first through sixth years post-graduation. Dues are calculated by the member’s graduation date. New practitioners pay the percentage of full dues indicated below. Please note that dues level 1 is for the remainder of the year of graduation from optometry school

  • Project Keep Program; Become a leader! — Become involved in the leadership of COA or your local society and be eligible for reduced dues if you are licensed between your first and tenth years of licensure. Project Keep members must be continuously active as an officer or committee member in their local society or as a COA committee member in order to maintain their status in this category. Eligible members must be in their first 10 years of licensure (first year of graduation is level 1). Full dues obligation is from the eleventh year forward.

How much does membership cost?
Membership dues are based on years in practice and what membership category you fall under. Please refer to the link above.

What do I get in return for my dues?
Your membership is tripartite, which includes membership to the
American Optometric Association, California Optometric Association and
your local society. Your dues go towards:

  • Advocating for and protecting your rights to practice at the state and national level. Many changes are happening to health care and your dues go making sure optometry will be included in managed care programs.

  • Offering quality continuing education programs at a reduced fee.

  • Members also have access to special member services:

    • COA Sponsored Insurance Programs

    • Vision West, Inc. Buying Group

    • I.C. System Debt Collection Services

    • Market Place Classified Listing

    • Heartland Discount Credit Card & Payroll Processing Services

    • California Optometry magazine: FREE listing (up to 30 words) in per issue for members; then $25/30 word or fraction thereof.

Won't organized optometry continue to do all it's doing whether I contribute or not?
In representation of the profession, numbers count. By being a member and contributing to the local, state, and national organizations that are working for you every day, you’ll be helping to support the very associations that are protecting and advancing your profession. The associations need your support in representing the profession to the legislative bodies.

If I can't attend most of your meetings, is it still worth my money?
The associations represent your profession of optometry to the legislature, protecting your right to practice to the full extent of your licensure. The association also provides updates to help you in all of your practice concerns, clinical and practice management. 

What if I just moved from another part of California?
You will need to fill out a status change form to move from one local society to another: 
COA Status Change Application

What if I work in Alameda or Contra Costa county but live somewhere else?/What if I live here but work somewhere else?
You can still be a member of ACCCOS regardless of where you live or work.  Many doctors choose their society based on convenience of the General Membership Meetings and events that the society offers.

What if my practice status has changed?
If you work 16 hours or less a week you qualify for partial practice status and will have reduced membership dues. You will need to update your status and fill out a status change form and let the Director of Membership know: COA Status Change Application

Important Links and Forms

Membership Application
COA member resources
Important COA Forms

  • Status Change

  • Educator Status Change

  • Request for Dues Adjustment

  • Project Keep

  • Sample Speaker Contract

  • Sample Speaker Disclosure Statement

  • Request for CE Approval Form

  • Attendee Verification Form

  • Society Proof of Attendance Certificate

  • and many more

Still have questions? Please contact our Director of Membership at