What is ABET?
ABET stands for “Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology”.
ABET, Inc., is the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. Accreditation ensures the quality of the postsecondary education students receive.
ABET was established in 1932 and is now a federation of 28 professional and technical societies representing the fields of applied science, computing, engineering, and technology.
Through the hard work and dedication of more than 1,500 volunteers, ABET currently accredits some 2,700 programs at over 550 colleges and universities nationwide.
ABET also provides leadership internationally through workshops, consultancies, memoranda of understanding, and mutual recognition agreements, such as the Washington Accord.
ABET is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Why is Accreditation important?
Accreditation Assures Quality
In the United States and Puerto Rico, accreditation is a non-governmental, peer-review process that assures the quality of the postsecondary education students receive. Educational institutions or programs volunteer to undergo this review periodically to determine if certain criteria are being met.
It is important to understand, however, that accreditation is not a ranking system. It is simply assurance that a program or institution meets established quality standards.
There are two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized.
- Institutional accreditation evaluates overall institutional quality. One form of institutional accreditation is regional accreditation of colleges and universities.
- Specialized accreditation examines specific programs of study, rather than an institution as a whole. This type of accreditation is granted to specific programs at specific levels. Architecture, nursing, law, medicine, and engineering programs are often evaluated through specialized accreditation.
ABET, Inc., is responsible for the specialized accreditation of educational programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology.
What is ABET accreditation?
ABET accreditation is 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.
ABET accredits degree-granting programs housed within regionally accredited institutions. ABET accredits programs only; not degrees, departments, colleges, or institutions.
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.
Why Is ABET Accreditation Important?
- Accreditation helps students and their parents choose quality college programs.
- Accreditation enables employers to recruit graduates they know are well-prepared.
- Accreditation is used by registration, licensure, and certification boards to screen applicants.
- Accreditation gives colleges and universities a structured mechanism to assess, evaluate, and improve the quality of their programs.
The ABET Accreditation Process:
Accreditation is a voluntary process on the part of an institution. The first step is that an institution requests an evaluation of its program(s). (Only programs that have produced at least one graduate are eligible for accreditation.) Each program then conducts an internal evaluation and completes a self-study questionnaire. The Self-Study documents whether students, curriculum, faculty, administration, facilities, and institutional support meet the established criteria.
While the program conducts its self-examination, the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) forms an evaluation team to visit the campus. A team chair and one or more program evaluators make up the evaluation team. Team members are volunteers from academe, government, and industry, as well as private practice.
During the on-campus visit, the evaluation team reviews course materials, student projects, and sample assignments and interviews students, faculty, and administrators. The team investigates whether the criteria are met and tackles any questions raised by the self-study.
Following its campus visit, the team provides the school with a written report of the evaluation. This allows the program to correct any misrepresentations or errors of fact, as well as address any shortcomings in a timely manner.
Why should I choose an ABET accredited program?
When you choose an accredited program, you are choosing wisely.
Accreditation assures that a program has met quality standards set by the profession.
To employers, graduate schools, and licensure, certification, and registration boards, graduation from an accredited program signifies adequate preparation for entry into the profession. In fact, many of these groups require graduation from an accredited program as a minimum qualification. Here are some examples:
- NICET Technologist Certification requires a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering technology program.
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office requires applicants in computing to have graduated from an ABET-accredited computing program before they are eligible to sit for the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases.
- Many state boards of professional licensure in engineering and surveying require applicants to have graduated from an ABET-accredited program. In states where non-ABET graduates are permitted to be licensed, an additional four to eight years of work experience may be required.
Be proud to choose an ABET-accredited program.
Whether you study applied science, computing, engineering, or technology, ABET accreditation is an important indicator of your program’s commitment to quality and may be a key to your professional future.