California Optometric Student Association (COSA)

Take advantage of student membership in the California Optometric Association, especially if you plan on practicing in this state.

What is organized optometry?

Organized optometry through your state, national, and local association is the one venue that captures the collective voice of optometry. It protects your license to practice, and expands your scope of practice. The association helps to maintain the standards of the profession and further offers quality education for you to continue developing your professional career. Support the future course of optometry through the advocacy of your profession as an independent primary health care provider. Meet other members and network with your future peers as you establish professional contacts in your local community.

Student membership affords you an opportunity to find out what is happening at the state level now. Your student years may offer the best opportunity to first become involved with organized optometry so that you can take advantage of its full benefits once you are licensed and become a full member.

How do I become a student member of the California Optometric Association?

It’s easy! Download a copy of the student member application.  After it is processed it, a confirmation will be sent to you.

I‘m attending a school of optometry in another state. Can I still be a member of COA?

Yes! The California Optometric Association welcomes optometry students from out-of-state. All out of state students should submit a letter on the school’s letterhead with their application. The letter should verify the program you are enrolled in, the expected completion/graduation date, and should be signed by an administrator or program official.

What are the dues for student members?

During your student years in optometry school, membership is FREE!

What kind of benefits do I get as a student member?

  • Free membership
  • Bimonthly issues of the award-winning California Optometry magazine available at your school.
  • COA Member News e-mail blasts.
  • Student delegate representation of the two California schools of optometry at the House of Delegates.
  • Members’ Only access to COA online.
  • Complimentary registration at COA’s annual conferences: Fall Symposium in Monterey, and Optowest in Anaheim.
  • Attend local society meetings.
  • You are eligible for association-sponsored programs in California Optometric Insurance Services.
  • You may not need professional liability insurance as a student, but take a look at the medical, dental, term life and automobile insurance coverages available to you as a member!

MARSH California Optometric Association

How do I access the Members Only section of COA online?

  • Visit our web site at! In your student welcome letter, you will receive a unique username/password code to access the Members Only section.
  • Updates, fact sheets, event calendars, classifieds, member-to-member web board, and more, are available to you at COA online.

What happens to my student membership in COA after graduation?

Your student membership in the California Optometric Association is in effect until the end of the calendar year in which you graduate. After that time, it will expire. For example, if you graduated in May 2001, your student membership will be in effect until December 31, 2001.

Don’t let your membership expire! As soon as you receive your license, make a transition to full membership by completing a member application.

I just received my license. Am I automatically a COA member?

No. Because student members are a special member type, you will still need to transition to active membership as a practicing optometrist. Once you become licensed in California, apply for membership in the California Optometric Association and forward it to our office for processing. As a full member, you will have tripartite membership in the California Optometric Association, American Optometric Association, and the local society where you practice. Furthermore, as a newly licensed optometrist, you will be eligible for the ascending dues scale.

I’ve received my license but I will be dedicating an additional year towards residency training. Can I still maintain my student membership?

Yes! Contact COA and apply for postgraduate student status if you are undergoing graduate study on a full-time basis, and/or engaged full-time as a resident or fellow in a residency or post-doctoral program. Your application will need to include certification of your full-time status by an appropriate official of the residency program on their official letterhead. Once confirmed, your complimentary student membership will continue until the end of the calendar year in which you complete the program.


Peter Lin ‘10  President

Special Events

  • Guest Lecturers
  • Annual Ski/Snowboard Trip