After five years, the Kentucky College of Optometry received news last week that they were accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, a crucial step for the college going forward.

KYCO Dean Michael Bacigalupi said that once KYCO opened, it underwent a five-year process to meet the ACOE’s eight standards of accreditation, relating to curriculum, research, students, faculty and the KYCO optometry clinic and other areas. Every year, KYCO officials submitted a “self-study,” or a document outlining how they continued to meet the eight standards of accreditation.

Bacigalupi said that receiving accreditation was crucial because students must graduate from an accredited optometry college in order to practice optometry in many states.

“It’s absolutely critical because in most every state in the country, their optometry laws state that people who want to be licensed in their state to practice optometry have to have graduated from an accredited college of optometry,” Bacigalupi said.

He said that receiving accreditation was also important for them because it allows the college to grow.

“Accreditation from the ACOE was one of our top priorities because it impacts everything,” Bacigalupi said. “It provides us sort of an equal footing and standing amongst all the other optometry schools. It will help us with recruiting high quality faculty. It will help us with recruiting student applicants in the future because we are now at a leveled playing field with all the other optometry schools in the country.”

Bacigalupi said, though, that the process was a team effort, and he gave credit to the others who helped the college receive accreditation.

“This was a great team effort between all the KYCO faculty, the joint faculty we share with the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine, our staff and our students,” he said. “It was really a team effort to reach this milestone. They worked really hard to get us to this point, and it’s nice to get that reward at the end.”