What Is ABET Accreditation? Photo: knowinsiders.
What Is ABET Accreditation? Photo: knowinsiders.

What is ABET Accreditation?

According to iitms.co.in, just like any other accreditation, ABET is an accreditation that ensures that the educationalists fulfill all the requirements of providing quality education to students and encouraging them to be life-long learners. However, it provides accreditation to various programs, not to degrees, institutions, or any departments.

ABET accreditation focuses on creating graduates with skills & academic knowledge & values. As per the statistics, ABET has accredited various programs approximately 4300+ across 41 countries.

ABET accreditation is an assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students. For example, an accredited engineering program must meet the quality standards set by the engineering profession. An accredited computer science program must meet the quality standards set by the computing profession, as just.edu.jo reported.

What does ABET stand for?

ABET is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. As spie.org reported, ABET is the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in the disciplines of engineering, computing, engineering technology, and applied science degrees at the associates, bachelors, and masters degree levels. It is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Accreditation Commissions

The ABET Accreditation process is carried out by our four accreditation commissions. Each commission sets accreditation standards for specific program areas and degree levels.

1. Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission (ANSAC)

Programs: Applied and Natural Science

Levels: Associate, Bachelor, Master

2. Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)

Programs: Computing

Level: Bachelor

3. Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)

Programs: Engineering

Levels: Bachelor, Master

4. Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC)

Programs: Engineering Technology

Levels: Associate, Bachelor

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What are the Programs Accredited by ABET?

ABET accredits postsecondary, degree-granting programs offered by regionally accredited institutions in the United States and nationally accredited institutions outside the United States. It does not accredit certification, training or doctoral programs, as abet.org reported.

-ANSAC - Applied & Natural Science Programs: ANSAC accredits applied and natural science programs at the following levels: associate (two-year degree), bachelor (four-year degree), and master (post-graduate).

-CAC - Computing Programs: CAC accredits computing programs at the following level: bachelor (four-year degree).

-EAC - Engineering Accreditation Commission: EAC accredits engineering programs at the following levels: bachelor (four-year degree) and master (post-graduate).

-ETAC - Engineering Technology Programs: ETAC accredits engineering technology programs at the following levels: associate (two-year degree) and bachelor (four-year degree).

-Distance Learning & Alternative Programs: The vast majority of ABET-accredited programs are offered primarily on-site; however, a number of ABET-accredited programs are offered in an online format.

Many academic programs in higher education have at least some content offered online, including individual courses, homework assignments, and class research projects. What constitutes an “online” program is not always well-defined. In addition, the percentage of online content for any academic program changes frequently.

The vast majority of ABET-accredited programs are offered mostly on-site. The following ABET-accredited programs are offered in a 100-percent online format. It updates this list annually, in October.

Online Programs Accredited by ABET

Arizona State University: Electrical Engineering (BSE); Engineering Management (BSE); Information Technology (BS); Software Engineering (BS)

Capella University: Information Technology (BS); Daytona State College; Engineering Technology (BS)

Devry University: Engineering Technology-Electronics (BS); Engineering Technology-Computers (BS)

East Carolina University: Occupational Safety (MS)

Eastern Kentucky University: Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology (BS)

Excelsior College: Electrical Engineering Technology (BS); Information Technology (BS); Nuclear Engineering Technology (BS)

Grantham University: Electronics Engineering Technology (BS)

Kennesaw State University: Information Technology (BS); Information Technology (BASIT)

Middle Georgia State University: Information Technology (Macon and Warner Robins) (BS)

National University: Computer Science (BSC)

Oakland University: Safety Management (MSSM): Environmental Health and Safety (BS)

Regis University: Computer Information Systems (BS): Computer Networking (BS); Computer Science (CPS) (BS); Information Technology (BS)

Stony Brook University: Electrical Engineering (BS)

The Johns Hopkins University: Systems Engineering (MSE)

Thomas Edison State University: Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology (BS); Electronics Systems Engineering Technology (BSAST)

Trinidad State Junior College: Occupational Safety and Health Technology (AAS)

University of Central Missouri; Occupational Safety Management (MS)

University of Southern Mississippi: Construction Engineering Technology (BS); Electronic(s) Engineering Technology (BS); Industrial Engineering Technology (BS)

Walden University: Information Technology (BS)

The ABET-accredited program must have

-Long Term Objectives- Educational objectives set for the long term based on the standards set by alumni batch students and the constituency requirements.

-Measurable Goals - The student outcomes must be mapped throughout the graduation & need to be determined in advance. In simple words, the goals must be measurable.

-Sustainable Process - The evaluation & assessment process must be sustainable.

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Why Is ABET Accreditation Important?

For students

When you earn your degree, you spend years of your life and a large chunk of money. According to valuecolleges.com, if you are investing your time and money in a degree in engineering or technology, the university you choose needs to be accredited by a recognized engineering accreditation organization. Accreditation verifies that the degree you earn meets the standard of professionalism of your chosen industry. Accreditation also helps to verify your worthiness in terms of receiving national licensure and certification. In order to register and become licensed or certified, graduation from an ABET-accredited university or college is a must. Accreditation also has a way of enhancing employment opportunities at a global level.

For institutions

ABET accreditation is voluntary in the United States. Schools choose to go through the strict accreditation process for several reasons. Not only does the intense accreditation process offer insights and a massive amount of data, it also ensures that your engineering program will provide the best possible education for students who enroll in it. Having ABET accreditation proves to industry professionals that you are held to the highest standards when it comes to academic programs. It proves that your graduates earn their degree after proving that they are capable of meeting and exceeding the expectations of potential employers.

What Is ABET Accreditation?
ABET Accreditation finished the assessment process of the accreditation of the Computer Systems Engineering program that lasted for four days through Zoom. Photo:aaup.edu.

ABET accreditation shows that the school has offered the best possible academic practices and that it is recognized on a global level for its achievements and the standards it has set for itself. It shows that the faculty of the staff are constantly assessing their own standards of quality and make the necessary effort to improve their standards of education. The quality of education offered by the school is proven by the outcomes and not by the input of the teachers.

For global standards

ABET accreditation ensures the highest quality standards are used around the world. This results in a workforce that is educated to a higher standard, extremely diverse in terms of technological advancement, globally mobile, and innovative. Students are held to a standard of professionalism in industries that require a high level of accuracy and organization. Students are also given the tools and resources they need to maintain mobility on a national and global level.

By using a third-party peer review systems, programs are evaluated to determine the value and quality of the content as well as the relevancy of the programs expected outcomes. It has taken over 80 years to establish the process that is now relied upon by professionals from almost every industry. Accreditation offers students opportunities in industrial situations that allow for continued advancement based on the outstanding education they have received.

Who Sets the ABET Quality Standards?​

The quality standards programs must meet to be ABET-accredited are set by the ABET professions themselves. This is made possible by the collaborative efforts of many different professional and technical societies. These societies and their members work together through ABET to develop the standards, and they provide the professionals who evaluate the programs to make sure they meet those standards.

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Program Eligibility Requirements

1. Meet ABET’S Definition of a Program:

it accredits programs only—not degrees, departments, colleges, institutions, or individuals. It defines a program as an integrated, organized experience that culminates in the awarding of a degree. The program will have program educational objectives, student outcomes, a curriculum, faculty, and facilities, as described in the accreditation criteria. It does not accredit certification, training, or doctoral programs.

2. Be Housed in a Degree-Granting Institution:

It accepts Requests for Evaluation (RFE) from post-secondary programs offered by degree-granting institutions with verifiable and recognized governmental, national, or regional authority to confer degrees. In some cases, an institution that does not meet this requirement may request an evaluation for a program if that program’s accreditation furthers ABET’s Mission.

3. Have at Least One Graduate:

Programs requesting an initial accreditation review must have at least one graduate prior to the academic year when the on-site review occurs.

4. Name Must Meet ABET Requirements:

The name of a program seeking accreditation must be descriptive of the program’s content and be stated exactly the same way on the graduate’s transcript and in the institution’s literature.

Programs outside the U.S. where English is not the native language, must provide the program’s name both in English and in the native language(s). An institution may not use the same program name to identify both an ABET-accredited program and a program that is not ABET-accredited.

5. Be Accreditable Under at Least One ABET Accreditation Commission:

Each program seeking accreditation will be assigned to a specific commission or commissions based upon the literal name of the program:

Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission (ANSAC)

Programs accredited by ANSAC are those leading to professional practice utilizing science, mathematics, and engineering concepts as a foundation for discipline-specific practice. ANSAC accredits programs at the following degree levels: associate, bachelor, and master.

Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)

Programs accredited by CAC are those leading to professional practice across the broad spectrum of computing, computational, information, and informatics disciplines. CAC accredits programs at the following degree level: bachelor.

Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)

Programs accredited by EAC are those leading to the professional practice of engineering. All engineering programs requesting ABET review must include the word “engineering” in the program name. EAC accredits programs at the following degree levels: bachelor and master.

Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC)

Programs accredited by ETAC prepare baccalaureate degree graduates for careers in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, product design, testing, or technical services and sales. Graduates of two-year engineering technology programs likely assume engineering technician positions in maintenance, production, or product development. The name of every ETAC-accredited program that includes the word “engineering” in the name of the program must also include the word “technology” directly after the word “engineering.” ETAC accredits programs at the following degree levels: associate and bachelor.

6. Some Programs Must Undergo a Readiness Review:

It requires a preliminary Self-Study Report from all programs seeking initial accreditation, if the institution has no currently ABET-accredited programs in that same commission. After a review of this preliminary Self-Study Report, which is called the Readiness Review, we will determine whether or not an institution is ready to submit a formal Request for Evaluation (RFE) for that program.

What Is ABET Accreditation?
Photo: iitms.co.in.

The 18 months of ABET is divided into the following steps

Stage 1: Readiness Review - October 1

To complete the readiness review, institutions need to collect samples of assignments, syllabus, curriculum and get ready by October 1.

Stage 2: Evaluation Request By January 31

RFE needs to be submitted by January 31. A review team is assigned by the month of April and May depending on the review.

Stage 3: Submit SSR Report By July 1

The review of SSR begins by the month of July.

Stage 4: Onsite Visit By September-December

An onsite visit can be arranged between September-December. Institutions need to be well prepared with documents & faculty will need to face interviews of the panel.

Stage 5: Decision-Making Process

Any corrections in the documents are asked within 1 week

Formal communication about findings is done in 2-3 months after the onsite visit

Institutions need to clarify within 30 days regarding the shortcomings

ABET commission takes a decision in the month of July

The final statement regarding the decision is notified to institute by August 31

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Availability & Fees For Programs Outside The U.S

The accreditation of programs mentioned above occurs mainly in the United States but also internationally. As of October 2020, 4,307 programs are accredited, distributed over 846 institutions in 41 countries.

ABET is the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. ABET also provides leadership internationally through workshops, memoranda of understanding and mutual recognition agreements, such as the Washington Accord. ABET also evaluates programs offered in a 100-percent online format.

It offers accreditation at the lowest possible cost. These are the fees in place for the 2022-2023 cycle.

Be aware that all invoices are billed per commission and due net 30 days. After that, a monthly interest charge of 1.5% will be added. Non-payment of any fee may result in cancellation of visits and/or removal of a program from ABET’s List of Accredited Programs.

Readiness Reviews

Fee for each program reviewed: $1,030

Accreditation Program Reviews

Base fee for a program review $8,235

Fee for each program evaluator (PEV) $8,235

ADDITIONAL FEES

One evaluator reviewing two programs $360

Extra day, per program evaluator $360

Visit to off-campus location, per location $360

Travel Expense Reimbursement Expenses incurred

Cancellation Fees for Program Reviews

Cancellation fees will be charged when an institution cancels a program review. The cancellation fee is a percentage of the base fee. Individual programs may be cancelled without penalty if the review itself is not cancelled.

Prior to June 1 10% of Total Invoice

June 1- June 30 15% of Total Invoice

July 1 – August 15 25% of Total Invoice

After August 15 50% of Total Invoice

After travel has commenced No Refund

Non-refundable travel costs Actual cost incurred

Interim Reports

In some cases, the results of a program review may call for an interim report. This does not require an additional review.

Fee for each program reviewed $4,430

Program Termination Fees

Fee for program termination visit only

(if no other programs are being evaluated) $8,235

Program termination visit additional fee

(if other programs are being evaluated) $4,430

Fee for program termination report evaluation

(no visit required) $4,430

Annual Maintenance

This fee covers the upkeep of accreditation data files, review of institutional materials, and the publication and distribution of annual lists of accredited programs.

Base fee per campus per commission $1,530

Fee for accredited program at each campus $1,530

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