In USA students can choose to study at private or public schools, small colleges or large research universities.
Students may take courses full-time, part-time, on-campus, or on-line.
With all these choices, how can a prospective student decide? How does a prospective student know if the institution or program will deliver on its promises? Accreditation is one way to help narrow the selection process.
The United States does not have a ministry of education to approve curricula or courses of study. The US Department of Education primarily provides oversight at the post-secondary level for the distribution of federal funds in the form of student loans and grants.
In the United States, quality assurance in higher education rests with accreditation organizations, and in the case of public institutions, state boards for higher education which license or “charter” schools within the state borders.
How do I know if an accrediting organization is legitimate?
Most legitimate accrediting organizations in the United States are recognized by either the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (http://www.chea.org/) or
U.S. Department of Education (http://www.ed.gov/offices/ope/accreditat…
ABET is recognized by CHEA.
What is the significance of ABET or “Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology” – accreditation?
The criteria for accreditation are developed by a consortium of engineering societies which reflect current attitudes and expectations of what an engineering student should learn to become a fully functioning member of the engineering profession.
Therefore, the general public and employers of engineers know that graduates of an ABET accredited program have obtained an education in mathematics, basic sciences such as chemistry and physics, the humanities and the social sciences, engineering sciences, and engineering design which will enable them to practice competently.
In addition, professional registration at the state level requires applicants to be graduates of ABET accredited programs.
What is the process for accrediting an educational program?
ABET, in cooperation with its 31 professional and technical societies, has developed criteria, or standards, for the evaluation of educational programs. The criteria require that the program demonstrate that the graduates have mastered the knowledge and skills required and that the institution has in place a process for continuous improvement.
ABET has 4 commissions that administer the criteria, conduct the evaluations and accredit the programs:
Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC)
Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)
Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC)
IN THE LIGHT OF RECENT MOVES BY US GOVERNMENT IMPACTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IT WOULD BE DESIRABLE IF THEY APPLY TO ACCREDITED PROGRAMS ONLY.
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