1. Complete the Application
The application for candidacy for Fellowship is in addition to any previously submitted application for student membership. The questions relating to professional activity and (where applicable) clinical activity are not only for assigning a candidate to the appropriate Admittance Subcommittee, but also for fostering subsequent involvement in various Academy programs.
- Prepare your curriculum vitae for submission.
- Find a current Fellow to serve as your proposer to certify that you would be a good candidate for Fellowship. If needed, please indicate you would like someone assigned to you on the application.
- Create your proposed plan to earn 50 points of written work.
- Submit payment for your annual dues and application fee.
There are three categories of Candidates for Fellowship. Determine in which you best fit before beginning your Proposed Plan for Written Work.
- Clinical Candidates are optometrists who are licensed or accredited to practice at the highest level permitted by law in their jurisdiction and are engaged in active clinical practice. At least one case report is required for all clinical candidates.
- Scientific Candidates are primarily involved in research relating to the vision sciences. They have published articles in scientific journals, and generally have an advanced degree in a vision science area of discipline. At least three scientific publications are required for all scientific candidates before applying.
- Special Category Candidates may include administrators, executive directors, clinical consultants, librarians, editors, educators or others who have distinguished themselves and optometry by their contributions to optometry or vision science. This category is reserved for those candidates who are not in active clinical practice or participating in publishable scientific research. At least one original paper (either 1,200 word paper for 10 points or 6,000 word paper for 50 points) is required for all special category candidates.
2. Communicate with Your Subcommittee Chair
After the Academy receives a completed application, the applicant will receive an acknowledgement letter by e-mail welcoming him/her as a candidate for Fellowship and informing him/her of the Admittance Subcommittee to which the application has been assigned. Please note, it may take 1-2 business days to be assigned to your Subcommittee. Once assigned to a specific Admittance Subcommittee, it is the candidate's responsibility to update the appropriate Chair with any new contact information. For a list of the Admittance Committee Subcommittees and their respective Chairs/Vice Chairs, visit the Admittance Committee page
3. Compile 50 Points and Submit Written Work
All candidates submit a Proposed Plan for Written Work during the application process. To get started, first assess into which category you will submit your work.
Candidates have a maximum of three years from the date of application to complete the Fellowship process. Visit the Important Dates and Deadlines page for more information on when specific items need to be submitted.
NOTE: You MUST be the first author listed on Papers and Posters for the work to count towards points. All written work MUST be uploaded and submitted into the portal for your Subcommittee Chair to review in order for points to be awarded.
*At least one case report is required.
**At least three scientific publications (10 points per publication) are required.
***At least one original paper (either 1,200 word paper for 10 points or 6,000 word paper for 50 points) is required.
Written work for any of the three primary candidate categories is submitted in the online candidacy application.
Each item of written work should be unique. For example, two posters that describe essentially the same set of circumstances but were submitted to different meetings will count as 10 points.
Acceptance of written work is at the discretion of the Admittance Subcommittee Chair. The candidate is responsible for providing any and all documentation of papers, posters, case report information, etc. as needed by the Admittance Subcommittee Chair to grant points.
All written work is expected to be the candidate’s own original writing. Information taken from references or other source documents must be properly attributed. Plagiarism may cause the candidate’s application for Fellowship to be terminated.
All candidates will be notified when they have successfully completed the written section of the examination. The candidate must then notify the Vice Chair of Admittance that s/he would like to schedule the exam for the upcoming meeting.
4. Complete the Oral Examination
Oral exams are held only during the Academy's annual meeting. Candidates MUST register for the annual meeting when completing an in-person oral exam. Those completing a virtual exam are required to attend an Academy meeting within three years of earning Fellowship, as outlined in the Maintenance of Fellowship guidelines.
All Candidates for Fellowship who are taking oral examinations at the annual meeting are required to stay in a contracted Academy hotel if they are planning to book a hotel (it is fine to stay with friends/family).
The objective of the oral examination is to evaluate candidates on their professional competence in solving their patients' problems at a level commensurate with the standards set by the Academy. In the case of candidates who are not in clinical practice, standards relevant to the candidate's professional activity will be used. Candidates will be examined before the same committee that evaluated the written work. To prepare for the oral exam, see the following:
5. Admittance and Induction
Upon successful completion of the oral examination, new Fellows are welcomed into the fellowship of the Academy by the Academy President during the annual gala held on Saturday evening of the annual meeting.
6. Responsibilities of Fellowship
As a new Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry you are expected to know and maintain the Responsibilities of Fellowship.